Career Trends for Tech Titans
McKinsey & Company features some amazing 2023 insights for CEOs to take their performance to a high impact level. This is a "must file blue print guide" for any Leader wanting to take a upward career trajectory.
According to a Product Founder Mark Baselga of Surpa he believes there has been a trend due to the economy where Tech Leaders are transitioning back to their IC roots. Below see the excert below to his Linkedin post.
"Some transitioned out of personal choice.
But most moved into IC roles out of necessity.
Their org was flattened, and they were asked to take on an IC role. Or they were part of the layoffs, couldn’t find a manager position, and had to settle for an IC role.
While going from manager to IC may feel like a demotion, it can be an incredible opportunity to develop deep product expertise, boosting your leadership potential.
But first, let’s explore why we’re seeing managers move to IC roles.
For the last eight years, many tech companies experienced hypergrowth. Part of their growth strategy was throwing more headcount to different problem areas. To do this, they had to create management layers to direct new hires toward the right problems and help teams work together more effectively. There were not enough PM managers in the market, so companies had no choice but to promote their rising star ICs into management.
Enter 2023 and the economic downturn - companies are now flattening their org structure (i.e., getting rid of middle managers), cutting headcount, and keeping the folks that can do more with less. Earlier-stage startups are delaying hiring middle managers as long as they can.
The outcome: Many middle managers looking for a new role, but very few companies are hiring them. And the only few GPM/Director open roles are highly competitive.
Managers looking for their next role have two options: Try to fight for one of the management spots or become a senior IC.
Why could moving to an IC be a positive career opportunity?
I recently listened to an episode of The Skip with Nikhyl Singhal, and here’s why he thought returning to an IC role is a blessing in disguise.
According to Nikhyl, a well-rounded product leader needs to master multiple of the 5 product ambiguities, which are:
1/ Team ambiguity: the ability to shepherd your team toward the right opportunities and to set up your reports for success.
2/ Growth ambiguity: the ability to grow and scale a new product/feature.
3/ Market ambiguity: the ability to spot a new opportunity, enter a new space, and deliver impact.
4/ Org ambiguity: executing a hard problem that sits across multiple teams and requires complex x-functional alignment.
5/ Domain ambiguity - having expertise in specific domains like AI, hardware, infra, etc.
Many people managers weren’t ICs for long. They were “rising star” ICs who got promoted into management fast. So while they might be experts at “team ambiguity,” they tend to lack depth in the other four ambiguities.
Going back to an IC role is an excellent opportunity to gain mastery in a couple of the areas above, which will position you as a stronger candidate when you interview for leadership roles.
In the future, companies will prioritize hiring product experts who can get things done over skilled managers that lack depth in product expertise."
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Two new surveys indicate that more than half of IT decision makers and leaders are job hunting because they lack of voice in the C-suite, see few training and advancement opportunities and feel pressures from a lack of IT staffers to meet growing tech needs.