Leading Without Managing: Becoming an Engineering Technical Leader

Full Talk (40 Minutes)

We often see technical leaders as a rarefied breed: mythical creatures who sit high up in our companies, or open source projects, and spend more time rubbing elbows with the C-level than with mere engineers like ourselves. Opportunities for leadership outside of the traditional management roles exist all around us, but how we set ourselves up to step into the role can be poorly understood, especially for SREs. Our title is fairly new, and this puts us at a disadvantage even in the largest organizations: management often knows what their traditional software engineering leaders look like, but SREs are a different breed. Nor is architecting a large software platform the only way to lead.

Through the eyes of an engineer in one of the largest SRE organizations, we will examine what technical leadership looks like, and how an individual can help guide the strategic path of a team, department, or company without taking on the role of a people manager. You’ll pick up tactical work that you can start immediately to set yourself up for success, and some pointers to be able to identify the opportunities when they show up.
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