Being a Technical Lead is not as Glamorous as you think

Abdul Rafee Wahab
3 min readApr 21, 2023
Photo by Pankaj Singh on Unsplash

Background

Throughout my career, I have served as a Technical Lead for many projects and teams. Learned a lot, plus being in the role broadened my career horizons very much. So, I decided to write about my experiences and clear up some misconceptions folks may have about the role.

Bottom line: It is a challenging role that requires a unique combination of technical expertise and leadership skills. Hardly glamorous, but very rewarding.

In this segment, I will talk about the hard parts about being an effective Technical Lead, and how the most outstanding Technical Leads overcome those hard parts and challenges.

The Hard Parts 🤖

Balancing Technical and Managerial Responsibilities

Technical Leads are responsible for both technical and managerial aspects of projects, which can be challenging. They need to have deep technical knowledge and expertise, while also managing a team of developers, coordinating with other partnering teams, and communicating with stakeholders.

Mentoring Team Members

Technical Leads are responsible for mentoring fellow team members, which can be a challenging task. They need to provide guidance and support to team members in various career/development stages, while also ensuring that they are meeting project goals and timelines.

Communicating with Non-Technical Stakeholders

Technical Leads need to communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders, which can be challenging. They need to be able to translate technical concepts into business terms, while also explaining the implications and benefits of technical decisions to stakeholders.

Staying Up-to-Date with New Tech Trends

Technical Leads need to stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends, which can be challenging. They need to constantly learn new technologies and evaluate their potential impact on the project, while also considering the feasibility and practicality of implementing these technologies.

So, umm… yeah, this list can go on. But overall, from my personal experience, these four are the key hard parts. But they can totally be remedied with some adjustments. 🙂

Learning and an Open Mindset is Key to being an effective technical lead.

Overcoming the Challenges 😎

Balancing Technical and Managerial Responsibilities

The most outstanding Technical Leads are those who can balance their technical and managerial responsibilities effectively. They have deep technical knowledge and expertise, but they also understand the importance of communication, collaboration, and delegation. They prioritize tasks and responsibilities based on their impact on the project, and they delegate tasks to team members who have the appropriate skills and expertise.

Mentoring Team Members

The most outstanding Technical Leads are those who can manage and mentor team members effectively. They provide guidance and support to team members, but they also encourage team members to take ownership and responsibility for their work. They provide feedback and constructive criticism, but they also recognize and reward team members for their achievements.

Communicating with Non-Technical Stakeholders

The most outstanding Technical Leads are those who can communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders effectively. They use analogies and metaphors to explain technical concepts in a way that is easy to understand, and they focus on the benefits and implications of technical decisions for the business. They also listen to the concerns and feedback of stakeholders, and they incorporate this feedback into their technical decisions.

Staying Up-to-Date with New Tech Trends

The most outstanding Technical Leads are those who can stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends effectively. They are curious and open-minded, and they actively seek out new technologies and evaluate their potential impact on the project. They also prioritize learning and development for themselves and their team members, and they encourage experimentation and innovation.

Common theme: Embrace and persevere an open and learning oriented mindset.

Closing thoughts 👏

Yes, being a Technical Lead is a non glamorous & challenging role that requires a unique combination of technical expertise and leadership skills.

But, also highly rewarding when good results yield through hard work and perseverance.

The most outstanding Technical Leads are those who can balance their technical and managerial responsibilities effectively, manage and mentor team members effectively, communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders effectively, and stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends effectively.

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Abdul Rafee Wahab

Tech guy. I like building cool software, & also leading others in building cool things. All views shared are my own.