Things to Know to Transition from Programmer to Software Development Manager

Are you a computer programmer aspiring to transition to a software development manager? Do you know the role responsibilities of a software development manager? How long have you been in the programming industry? Do you have the necessary qualifications to lead your team of developers? If you know the answers to all of these is yes, then you likely have all it takes to transition to a software development manager and you can leave this article now.

As a manager, your onus to ensure everything is done correctly without necessarily micromanaging your team and causing excess stress for them by setting impossible deadlines. You should also ensure individual team members are aware of their roles and what is expected of them. This will improve team efficiency, thereby enhancing productivity.

It’s essential to differentiate your previous role from the current one, as this will help you forge a good relationship with your team. A computer programmer is responsible for writing codes, testing, debugging, and reviewing code made by other members. It’s worth noting that coders write computer instructions based on the developer specifications. This means they can’t write anything that comes into their mind. This ensures the programmers don’t deviate from the required project. Otherwise, the final project would be different from the desired one. As a team manager, get an update of what programmers are doing at each step’s end. Also, conduct tests to ensure the system is faultless, and if there are faults, highlight them and inform your team to set it right.

What do you need to transition to a software development manager?


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A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for managerial posts in software development. Software development leaders should be proficient in computer programming concepts such as programming languages, platforms, and software development methodologies. You can become adept at these principles by pursuing bachelor’s degrees in management information systems, computer science, information technology, or any other related field. You can also pursue a master’s degree in any of those courses to broaden your software knowledge or get an MBA in general technical management. It can be terrific to dream of becoming a software development manager if you’re unfamiliar with most programming concepts, and that’s why it is recommended to further your software knowledge before stepping up your pursuit for your dream career.


The role of a software development manager requires both technical and managerial skills. A software development manager is obliged to split the process of finding a software solution into precise plans, assigning tasks to individual team members depending on their distinct skills and expertise in various fields. To transition from a computer programmer to a software development manager, you must know various programming languages and applications. You should also be informed of using a development environment, project management software, and exceptional organizational skills. Without these skills, you will find this job more challenging to manage and underperform in your role.


Certifications are not necessary, but it’s still recommendable to have one or two. For instance, having a certification for solving complex projects can be an added advantage in your pursuit of transitioning from a coder to a software development manager. This should include the approach and strategies to find solutions to an intricate project, including a framework for debugging and analyzing every project stage. As a programmer, you can consider enrolling in several certification courses related to your field to broaden your knowledge. These certifications can propel your quest to become a software development manager at some point in your career. It’s worth noting that a managerial position comes with a pay rise, among other privileges. However, this leadership post comes with its challenges.


Employers prefer to promote a computer programmer with several years of working experience into a managerial post. Besides experience, employers favor a programmer with a solid background of programming principles and a few years of work experience in leadership posts. If you aspire to become a software development manager in your organization, seek membership in an acknowledged software development team at the entry-stage to acquire the

required skills and knowledge. This will help boost your chances of bagging this post in your organization whenever there is a vacancy.

Working Conditions

A software development manager should have a favorable environment to execute his or her duties. A manager should have a flexible working schedule to create room for other activities. For instance, for a manager to collaborate with clients from various parts of the world, they should have an adjustable working schedule due to different time zones if they need to take meetings with other global teams or customers. Besides occasional traveling, managers will get to leave behind their cubicles or open desks to a designated office space. This makes them more efficient in their work and thereby delivering the desired results for their increasing responsibilities.


A software development manager typically makes a similar base salary to what you would as a software developer but when transitioning you can likely expect a bit of a pay raise as well as additional stocks granted to you as equity makes up more of a managers salary on average.

What will be your new roles?

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Unlike a programmer whose roles are limited to the scope of their teams software and improving the quality of the code bases, a software development manager is tasked with a handful of functions. Software development managers act as team leaders in various fields, such as medical research, finance, etc. Some of their roles include designing web applications, software, web services, recruiting, training, managing staff, draft and supervise budgets and deliver progress reports to senior managers. They can co-work with various department leaders to establish the software needs, sit with the management to find out how software applications can meet business objectives once the software has been finalized.

Also, they may test and debug computer programs, redressing performance problems, and making changes where necessary on behalf of their team to give a new perspective of how the teams software performs. There are plenty of similarities between computer applications software engineering and software development management. They are fast evolving, thereby compelling the programmers and managers to keep up to date with the ever-changing technologies. As a software development manager, there is a need to keep up with emerging trends to help support your teams decisions and inform them of alternate solutions.

Development Strategy

Software managers work closely with other professionals, such as marketers and business managers, to establish the requirements for desired software projects the team will need to deliver. If the software is for internal use, then the manager should work with the department heads to determine the functional requirements. If the software being developed is for a client, you must identify the market demands and evaluate the prevailing competitive programs’ performance. The functional requirements form a starting point for a software development methodology that gives the developers an insight into what they are about to build.

Team Resources

Managers are tasked with ensuring that developers can access the resources they require, like the development tools, means of communication, and even computing systems. The volume of resources required tends to vary from one stage to the next, so it is the manager’s responsibility to ensure there is no scarcity of resources among the team members. Programmers can use cloud computing to minimize the usage of computing resources in compliance with project requirements. Instead of investing in permanent infrastructure, developers can opt to lease extra computing capacity from an external service provider.


A software development manager ensures the development team complies with the set deadlines. The manager has to inform the developers about the project timelines. The manager works closely with the marketing team to coordinate development schedules and set timelines. Software managers endeavor to finalize product developments within the shortest time possible to get enough time for marketing the product.


Transitioning from a computer programmer to a software development manager is not a walk in the park, as seen from the above. There are a handful of requirements that you have to meet before you transition to a development manager. Since this is a managerial role, you will have more responsibilities than you had when you were a programmer since not only do you need to manage the projects you were working on but you will also be taking on the mentoring and career progress for your team members, communicating the status of these projects to customers and other managers, and doing whatever you can to enable your developers to stay productive. This is something that you have to be prepared for before seeking this transition and you should have demonstrated these skills consistently before expressing interest in changing roles.

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