An year ago, my next career goal was to become a Tech Lead. I wondered whether it is something I can achieve with dedication and aiming high or is it a simple case of being born with leadership gene, if such thing actually exist. When I consulted with Ben Liquete, my team’s Tech Lead at Barnardos Australia, we brainstormed about the qualities that makes up a Tech Lead and it came down to the following: A Tech Lead is an experienced programmer and a valuable team member. Is that all? No, there is more to it. Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

An experienced programmer:

  • has solid knowledge of principals and architectures
  • has experience that can be shared
  • is not afraid to explore uncharted territories
  • owns business concepts quickly
  • is a quick learner when it comes to team’s methodologies, procedures & technologies
  • can find balance between what’s best for the team and what’s best for the business

valuable team member:

  • is aware of a colleagues sensitivities
  • will do as they say they will and follow through when they give their word
  • uses the language of “We”
  • seeks feedback from team member and can use the feedback to better themselves
  • provides constructive, truthful, helpful feedback to team members
  • is a good listener
  • is not afraid to speak up when it matters
  • be flexible when an opinion differs from theirs
  • teaches the team a particular skill they owns
  • helps the team to handle their tasks
  • shares knowledge about technologies and new findings
  • reviews the work of a team member to help them better themselves
  • is capable of not letting negativity hinder the team’s productivity
  • completes work and tasks in a way that will allow smooth and almost effortless transition to the follow up tasks

That sounds great but where is the ‘lead’ side of things of Tech Lead?

If you help your fellow developer to become a valuable team member, you will be creating a self organising team that does not require much overhead to lead. So as a tech lead you will be doing tasks that an experienced developer will be doing, but with more focus on administrative duties with regards to project’s technical direction.

One thought on “Are you a Tech Lead?

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