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Defining Career Paths in Tech

Mar 19, 2020 | 11m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Creating a career path that grows with the company
  • Understanding the software engineer’s mindset
  • How to approach career promotion, whether as a leader or employee


Tech Career Progression

Technology undeniably dominates the world today. It is the driving force behind today’s start-ups and is deeply involved at all stages of the business, from process to product. In order to survive and thrive in this rapidly shifting landscape, tech departments must be aware of changing demands. They’d need to adapt organisational structure to clearly mapping out career paths for software engineers. In turn, software engineers who possess insights into their career paths and options will be better able to master their respective domains and build new skill sets.

A possible start-up career path for tech people eyeing such opportunities could be: in a founding team of five or so members, your role and position might be that of a software engineer, responsible for building your new company’s technology capabilities from the ground up. In a larger team of 10, you might then become a team leader, responsible for leading other engineers towards the company’s tech needs and targets. Suppose your company continues to grow – at 30 employees, you might find yourself overseeing more people as head of software engineering, or processes; at 50 employees and beyond, you would then become a CTO (chief technology officer), mapping out the company’s strategic tech direction according to your vision.

However, that’s just one example - tech-centric career paths in a company are often influenced by the organisation’s growth and business needs on a case-by-case basis. At the beginning, you would likely not have an idea on how much your tech team will grow. Start-ups may not even survive long enough for the long-term tech planning to become reality.

Throughout every growth stage of your start-up, its organisational structure will look very different – between a small team of founders and an established company numbering some hundred employees, tech roles will be redefined, created, splintered off and delegated. In the founding stage, when the start-up pioneers don’t have defined career paths to follow, the most technically inclined team member or initial hire can by definition be considered the CTO. However, what does the position actually mean at this level? In your start-up, is CTO just a glorified title, or does it come with the roles and responsibilities expected of a c-suite executive?

For start-ups, many aspects surrounding current and future growth and organisational structures can be unclear and uncertain. Whether you’re engineering or managing software engineers, this piece will help throw some light on the paths ahead.

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