Title: Managing technology professionals: Transitioning from individual contributor to management


Tuna B. Tarim, Ph.D., Texas Instruments, Inc., USA


Can technical professionals easily transition to becoming effective engineering and technology managers? Many technical professionals believe that the answer is "yes." Comments like the following are not uncommon: "I've led projects and always got along well with the project team; I'll make a good manager," or "I've been working in this company for so long, and I know a lot of people," implying that knowing people is enough to manage their activities. Others might say, "I know the technology and I've done very well as an individual contributor, so now, I would like to become a manager." Many people think about the technical aspects of managing, but tend to disregard the professional aspects. Too often, even the most seasoned managers fail to understand that the manager needs to lead and manage their team, both technically and professionally, work with their team members on their personal development to make them the best technical contributors they can be, give them technical and professional advice and career guidance, and appoint the candidate who meets the job requirements.

The goal of this half-day tutorial is to give an understanding of all aspects of management to the practicing engineer, engineering manager and those who aspire to become managers so that the individuals can make an assessment regarding whether this is a career choice they wish to make. The goal is to make this an interactive tutorial where attendees can share their experiences and comment on the experiences of each other. The instructor will share her own experience on various aspects of management, which she also shares in quarterly articles in the IEEE Engineering Management Review.