Have you thought about your next step in your career? Finding it a difficult choice or not knowing the right arguments? Hopefully you will find answers in this article in this difficult choice. I state what determined my choice and how I feel about it now.

I am actually writing this article with only one purpose, to save software developers from making the wrong choice. In recent years, I have regularly seen very good software developers switch to manager. Why do they make this choice?

The last thing I want to do is advise against a role as an architect or manager; they are both very fun roles. It very much depends on what things you think are important in a role. The purpose of this article is to make it a conscious choice with hopefully some additional guidance.

my career choice


I myself studied computer science (software engineering) and then went to work as a software developer. After first learning a lot from seniors, I am increasingly getting the opportunity to put my ideas (architecture, design patterns, etc.) into projects. It’s a super interesting world and fascinating what is possible with technology.

At my employer at that time, I sit on a think tank with the best developers to define the company’s line and am actively involved in knowledge sharing. I get appreciation from my employer and he sees my qualities as a software developer.

This recognition grows self-confidence and, as a result, I started thinking about the future. At the time I thought it stopped when you were a senior developer, now I know it only starts there. More on the software developer’s perspective in the next chapter.

So I thought at the time that there were few development opportunities as a (senior) developer. In addition, I would like to make an impact. I thought this would work better as a manager. By now, however, I know many software developers who make far more impact than most managers. I am now convinced that you can make an impact in both roles.

Another important argument in my consideration has been salary. I am trying to find a job that is fun and also pays well. Whether this is a good argument or not, I have found that it affects my choice. I was of the opinion that a developer could not earn as much as a manager or architect. Today, several companies report that the best developers earn as much as the best managers. This is a philosophy I can fully support!

The last argument that really concerned me was the constant need to keep up. New frameworks, languages, techniques, etc. Will I keep that up to age 67? I find that quite a few software developers struggle with this question, and I find it difficult to answer. At least what I see around me is software developers 60+ who are still incredibly good. Up to date with all the latest trends and certainly not inferior to younger colleagues in terms of speed. Continuing to invest in your profession is a prerequisite, but this is also true if you were to move toward management or architecture. For many of us, IT is a hobby, how hard is it to devote time to it? In retrospect, I don’t think this is such a strong argument anymore, but it did influence my choice.

Eventually I made the choice to become a manager (initially project manager). For me it has been a great choice, because I really super enjoy the profession of manager. It’s just odd that I made the choice based on arguments most of which I now find invalid. With today’s knowledge, I would make the same choice again, but with the argument that management is a fun profession.

Of course there are many other arguments that can be made, the above arguments were relevant to me. One argument that did not factor in for me is “feeling flattered” when you are asked to run for manager or architect. This feels right and of course you want to think about this with your employer. However, that same employer will not benefit if he later loses a good developer and has an unmotivated manager/architect in return.

the perspective of a software developer

Software development is a very beautiful profession and has an awful lot of development opportunities. Too bad I didn’t see those opportunities enough during my choice. I don’t know exactly why that is, perhaps that the “grass seems greener next door. Anyway, through this article I try to emphasize that “the grass” of a software developer is very green, you have a world of possibilities!

Were I still in the profession, I would set an ambitious goal for myself, such as author of a bestseller, internationally known speaker or contributor to a widely used open source project.

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Then, of course, I would start working toward that goal. What works very well for me is to hold my next step up to everyone and also be convinced that this is the next step (even if it seems high). I have found that first of all you start believing in it yourself, but also your environment and then it comes true(selffulfilling prophecy)!

Development often talks about softskills and hardskills. The more “hard” skills is becoming proficient in the programming languages, frameworks, tooling, etc. In our world, this has a limited shelf life because innovation is incredibly fast here. Staying current is essential, but realize that this knowledge has a temporary shelf life.

Skills that have “unlimited shelf life” are the soft skills. From that perspective and also because these skills help you become a good developer, it is important to invest a lot in this as well.

This way, you can spend an entire career working on your development in the role of software developer. You are quite a while before you are the next Venkat or Martin Fowler!


Find an employer that supports all the perspectives that the profession of software development has to offer. Of course, it is nice if she also has the philosophy that developers and managers should earn as much.

Should you be considering the management or architectural profession, it is important that you can get acquainted with it without already having to make a final choice. Nice if your employer can fill this in as well.

Once you get out of engineering the positions become more general and the demand less. It will be a long time before the shortage of developers no longer exists. Managers and architects abound. Indeed, with the advent of self-directed teams, project managers have become obsolete. Tough when you’ve switched from software developer to project manager. Perhaps soon the same will happen with scrummasters and it will only be a role for developers on the team. Perhaps this could also be an argument in your considerations.


Software development is an incredibly beautiful profession with growth opportunities for an entire career. Create an environment where this growth also becomes possible for you and communicate your ambition to this environment.

Of course, other roles like architect and/or manager are also incredibly fun, but if you make the choice to switch do it with the right arguments. Should you have any doubts, it is of course very nice if you can “try out” the new role. Talking to those around you and/or people already in that role also helps, of course.

Hopefully this article has given you direction in your career, good luck!

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