It happens because there’s a VP of Engineering constantly monitoring the team’s progress, process, culture, and tone of communications. At very small organizations, the Engineering Manager is often also the CTO and VP of Engineering (with or without the corresponding titles). A VP of Engineering is frequently responsible for building the engineering team and establishing the engineering culture and operations. External facing CTOs should not have direct reports (if they do, it usually means they are filling both the CTO and VP of Engineering Roles). Engineering should own the continuous delivery process. I’m going to stop there before I write a book on all the work that goes into leading effective development operations. Frequently, a startup CTO finds that they prefer more technical engineering roles, and settle back into other roles, like Principal Engineer, VP of Engineering, or Chief Architect. As the company matures, the chief architect may also need to work closely with the CTO, and sometimes partner organizations to develop integrations between services. In any case, if there are important organizational decisions to be made, you can’t run it up the chain of responsibility any higher than the CEO. Whatever is right for your organization, make sure that responsibilities and chain of authority are clear, in order to avoid engineers feeling torn between two or three different “bosses”. Unlike a Chief Innovation Officer, A Chief Information Officer is more likely to be leading tech integration and data migration projects than building new apps and trying to figure out how a company can disrupt itself from the inside. The whole thing should fit together like a pipeline, creating a smoothly flowing, positive feedback cycle. Solution Architect Variants: Software Architect, SAP Architect, etc. Junior Developer (#12) 5. In addition, the architect may sometimes propose technical standards, including coding standards, tools, or platforms. If you need help with this, reach out. That said, the VP of Engineering (or whomever is filling that role) needs to be in charge of delivery, and production pace. Like an assembly line, the slowest bottleneck in the process must set the pace for the rest of the process, otherwise, it will lead to an ever-growing backlog that piles up so much that backlog items become obsolete, and backlog management becomes a full-time job. An architect has thought through all the aspects of a software, just like an architect that builds a house. As co-founder of, he teaches developers the skills they need to work remotely and embrace work/life balance. They should be experts on what the market needs, and they should be very familiar with the company’s strengths and capabilities to fill those needs. The chief architect may be responsible for selecting technology stacks, designing collaborations and interfaces between computing systems, assessing compute services offerings (AWS, Azure, ZEIT Now, etc. They’re encouraging developers to use certain tools, hold specific kinds of meetings at specific times in order to foster better collaboration with fewer interruptions. Junior Web Developer (#10) 4. Trust your gut, but seek out smart, insightful people to challenge you to improve, as well. A software architect is a software development expert who makes high-level design choices and tries to enforce technical standards, including software coding standards, tools, and platforms. Software Architect A software architect serves many of the purposes of a chief architect, but is generally responsible for smaller cross-sections of functionality. Not to be confused with a Chief Information Officer (CIO), a title which is typically used in companies who are even more detached from technology, interested about as far as it aids their core operations. It’s also your responsibility to protect the productive pace of your team, go to bat for additional resources if your team is being pressured to produce more than your current capacity can handle, to report clearly on the work pacing and backlog, and to demo completed work and ensure that your team is getting due credit for the fine work that is being done. Engineering Managers tend to develop a good understanding of the strengths of various team members, and get good at assigning work tickets to the appropriate responsible parties, although, this should be a collaborative effort, seeking feedback from individual developers on what their career goals are and what they want to focus on, within the bounds of the project scope available. I certainly wasn’t alone in my confusion over what becomes of programmers as they advance in their careers. That progression can take many directions, twists, and turns, but could look something like this: Intern -> Junior Software Developer -> Software Developer/Engineer -> Senior Software Engineer -> Principal Software Engineer -> Software Architect -> Senior Software Architect -> Chief Architect -> CTO -> Engineering Fellow.

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