Technical vs. management career path–Which one is for you? It all depends on your priorities and where you want to be in the future. Some people enjoy a hands-on, technical role, while others thrive with an administrative position.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the startup world, it’s that having excellent management skills can take any company to new heights. But if you have no interest in managing other people or being managed by someone else, then perhaps a technical role would suit you better. Let’s explore these two paths so that you can find out which one might be best for your needs!
What is Technical Career Path?
People usually choose a technical career path because of their love for technology. They enjoy working with new and emerging technologies, and they like to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry. Those who take this route often find it easier to switch jobs within the same field because they can quickly adapt to their environment without taking too much time to learn new skills.
The technical career path is demanding and requires a lot of creativity and flexibility. Those working in this field must solve problems and overcome challenges that require perseverance, thorough research, quick adaptation, and high levels of critical thinking, among others.
What is Management Career Path?
People often choose a management career path because they like to be in positions where they can influence, manage, and lead others. Management positions require confidence, communication skills, solving problems effectively, and strong leadership abilities.
The reason why management positions are desired is that they allow individuals to make decisions that will help their companies grow, after all! While people taking on managerial positions are expected to possess these skills, the opposite is true for technical ones.
Education Requirements – Technical vs Management
The good news for those who want to pursue a career in technology and engineering is that it doesn’t require too much formal education. Most companies only require a bachelor’s degree, but some specializations such as computer science or information systems might require students to obtain an advanced degree like a master’s.
On the other hand, positions in management tend to require a bachelor’s degree to start your career, but it is still possible to hold an entry-level position if you don’t have one. Advanced degrees are usually preferred for managerial positions because they signify that you are dedicated enough to grow in the organization by obtaining a higher education.
Experience Requirements – Technical vs Management
In general, those who hold a managerial position tend to have more experience in the workforce as they are expected to take on leadership roles which can allow them to be promoted faster. However, this is not always the case because some companies will accept recent graduates as long as they can prove they have the necessary skills and experiences.
On the other hand, those who want to pursue a career in technology and engineering must go through extensive training and certification tests before being considered for any position. For instance, computer science graduates need to pass the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) certification exam or the Certified Professional Developer exam from Microsoft to be considered for a position as a developer.
What Opportunities do Technical and Management Careers Offer?
A career in technology and engineering will allow you to work with the latest software, hardware, and systems required by your company. This can help them produce better products that could serve their clients better.
On the other hand, a career in management will enable you to work on a team and be more hands-on with your projects. You will also have the opportunity to make more money as you gain experience, which makes it better than going down a technical path.
Job Roles – Technical vs Management
Technical career paths offer different types of opportunities such as:
- Software developers- They develop and maintain the software used by an organization.
- Database administrator- They are responsible for managing a company’s internal databases as well as protecting them from outside threats.
- Computer network architect – They design and implement computer networks for businesses.
- Network engineer – Their primary role is to ensure that a business has a fast, safe, and secure network.
- Computer support specialist- They provide technical assistance to employees.
Management career paths offer different types of opportunities such as:
- Chief technology officer (CTO)- They advise the management team and senior executives on technical issues that will help the business grow.
- Chief information officer (CIO) – Their role is to ensure that an organization’s information needs are met by using the correct tools and resources.
- Vice president of engineering- They provide leadership in a company’s engineering department.
- Director of technology- They ensure that staff members follow the company policies and procedures in order to meet business objectives.
Career Path – Technical vs Management
Technical career paths can take many years before an individual is fully utilized, primarily if they are planning to specialize even further by obtaining a postgraduate degree such as a Ph.D. in a specific area of computer science.
On the other hand, management career paths do not require additional education once you have obtained your bachelor’s degree. This is why many students prefer to go down that route if they do not want to be stuck in school for too long or they cannot afford it. In addition, you can also make more money if you become a manager as opposed to being behind the scenes.
Job Outlook – Technical vs Management
A career in technology and engineering is expected to grow by 22% from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This means that many jobs are open for those qualified to fill them, making it easier for new graduates to find employment.
On the other hand, a career in management is expected to grow by 11% during that same period which means that there are fewer opportunities available for those who want to become managers. This can be frustrating because you cannot just assume that you will get promoted right away if your effort and time.
Comparing the two fields, a career in technology and engineering offers many opportunities to grow as an individual and help your company meet its objectives. This is why it is highly recommended for those who want to make a difference with their work. On the other hand, a career in management makes it easier for you to find a job right away and make more money. Those who want less stress and prefer to work behind the scenes might be better off going down that route.
Salary – Technical vs Management
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that the average salary for an entry-level worker in a technical field is $74,590, which is about $35 per hour. However, this number varies depending on your location, work experience, and education.
Nowadays, many students are graduating with degrees in computer science and engineering. This means that more candidates are looking for jobs in this field which makes it easy to find employment if you do not have any experience yet. However, the competition can be challenging, so it is essential to gain as much hands-on experience as you still can, whether it is by working part-time or internships on your college campus.
On the other hand, a manager that has been in the workforce for five years makes an average salary of $111,660, which is around $55 per hour. Again, this number varies depending on your location and how much experience you have under your belt.
Nowadays, many students are graduating with degrees in management and business. If you go down that route, then you can expect to start out making more money right away and be able to do work behind the scenes, which is what some students prefer. However, it does not come easy, so you will have to spend many years in classes and get real-world experience before you can finally get a management position.
Comparing the two fields, if you have more experience, you can expect to make more money. However, starting in a technical field allows you to gain the necessary hands-on experience, which is highly recommended if you are interested in becoming an expert in your field someday.
Is Management Easier than Engineering?
In a way, it has been easier for those who have degrees in management to find a job because there are many opportunities available right away. However, working as a manager is not an easy task, and you will have to deal with different people from time to time which can be very frustrating.
On the other hand, if you work as an engineer, you are expected to get your hands dirty. This involves experiments, designing products, and coming up with different ways to better the process, which can be very rewarding if you enjoy working on challenging problems.
Comparing the two fields, it is more challenging to work as an engineer, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment when your finished product gets the recognition it deserves.
Job Stability- Technical vs Management
If you want a stable job in this current economic climate, then a career in management is the way to go. This is because managers can have a more substantial influence when making decisions that compel companies to maintain their position within the market.
Nowadays, many students are graduating with degrees in computer science and engineering. As an engineer, you are expected to develop innovative ideas and work hard to meet your company’s objectives. This means that you will have a lot of responsibility which is great, but it also means that companies can be tough on those who do not perform as well as they should.
On the other hand, if you want to take a less stressful route, you can always work as a manager. As a manager, you will have to deal with the public more often, but it is not nearly as stressful as working directly in an engineering position.
Comparing the two fields, managers are less stressed out when it comes to their job security which means that they do not have to worry about being laid off. On the other hand, engineers need to constantly think of ways to improve their company’s bottom line to put their job security on the line if they do not perform as well as expected.
Technical vs Management Career Path: Which is Better?
Both management and engineering have their perks, and they also have similarities and differences.
If you want to start at a higher level, getting your degree in management is recommended. This gives you the necessary experience while still allowing you to work with people daily, which some students prefer. However, if you do not like working with people, starting as an engineer can allow you to work on challenging problems and prove yourself before managing others.
Whether you choose management or engineering, both fields are necessary for society to progress. This is because engineers are responsible for coming up with new ideas, while managers are responsible for putting these ideas into action.
Final Thoughts On Technical vs Management Career Paths
So if you are to choose between a career in management or engineering, the choice is yours. You can always go back to college and get your graduate degree so that you have more options when it comes to choosing a career path that best suits your interests.
However, if you are still in high school, I would recommend getting real-world experience by working in an internship program. This will allow you to see if working as a manager is for you or passionate about engineering.