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To be a Manager or an Individual Contributor IC

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    1. To be a Manager or an Individual Contributor (IC) Bhavana Sontakke Candice Shah Most of the writers after gaining 6 to 8 years of experience go through this dilemma. Whether to go into technical track or managerial track. However, In India you are considered successful only if you are managing a team of writes. But is it true? Is that the only growth path available for writers? What does growth in Technical Writing mean? Lets find out answers to some of these question from the experts in this field. Most of the writers after gaining 6 to 8 years of experience go through this dilemma. Whether to go into technical track or managerial track. However, In India you are considered successful only if you are managing a team of writes. But is it true? Is that the only growth path available for writers? What does growth in Technical Writing mean? Lets find out answers to some of these question from the experts in this field.

    3. Overview Choosing the right track for YOU Developing the right skills Understanding the roles Perceptions and mindset Growth prospects Guidelines / Recommendations

    4. Growth Path of a Technical Writer This chart shows typical progression path for a writer in an organization. After gaining certain years of experience, you can either go in the technical track or managerial track. The levels and tiles will vary from company to company. These levels and titles are generally decided by each company as per their requirement. This chart shows typical progression path for a writer in an organization. After gaining certain years of experience, you can either go in the technical track or managerial track. The levels and tiles will vary from company to company. These levels and titles are generally decided by each company as per their requirement.

    5. Job Profile - Manager Represent and manage a documentation team Hire and train new members Manage hardware and software requirements Manage administrative tasks Provide direction and long term strategy Address personnel issues Plan project schedules and assign products Ensure doc quality and delivery Review performance of team members Communicate status and plans to cross functional leads Manager is generally a single point of contact and represents the team outside the group.Manager is generally a single point of contact and represents the team outside the group.

    6. Job Profile Individual Contributor Handle multiple products or a technically complex product Develop new documentation architectures Prepare new doc sets or maintain existing doc sets Mentor and train new hires Propose and evaluate new tools Create / Improve documentation standards and procedures Get involved in product UI design, suggest error messages Propose changes in the product design to improve usability Interact with third party vendors on your companys behalf Take on new products/projects on critical path and deliver high quality documentation Answer support calls / queries In each organization, you will have writers or ICs from Junior to senior level. Based on the level of exp they have, they will be doing either one of these task or all of them. For example, a Jr level writer would be maintaining the existing doc set. Where as, a senior IC will responsible for evaluating tools, processes, designing new doc set.In each organization, you will have writers or ICs from Junior to senior level. Based on the level of exp they have, they will be doing either one of these task or all of them. For example, a Jr level writer would be maintaining the existing doc set. Where as, a senior IC will responsible for evaluating tools, processes, designing new doc set.

    7. Selecting the right track for YOU How many writers would like to get into the Managerial track and how many would prefer the Technical track? Do writers get to choose a technical track or a managerial track in your organization? If yes, after how long and how does it work? Does the requirement differ for a Product company and a Services company? Do you think this choice is available across the IT industry (in all the MNCs)? Has the requirement changed over the years? Do writers get to choose the technical track only in technology based companies where complex products are involved?

    8. Developing the right skills What are the core skills required to be a Manager? What are the core skills required to be an IC? Do you think the role of an IC is as important as a Manager in an organization? Why? What are the pros and cons of each role?

    9. Breaking the typical mindset Why do you think most writers feel the only way to grow is to become a Manager/Project Lead? Is it because this role has more visibility? Is this the typical Indian mindset or global thinking? If a writer is not willing to take up a managerial role, is the writer at a disadvantage? Does it change your perception of him/her? Do Managers always get paid more than ICs? Will the salary of a manager and an IC with the same level of experience be comparable?

    10. Challenges Why are people obsessed with titles instead of focusing on gaining diverse work experience/skills? How important are job titles and how are they perceived by others in the organization? Is there a perception that everyone under the manager is there because they are not capable of being a manager? Is it possible to transition from IC to Manager or the other way around? What challenges do you face? Do people look down upon a person who transitions from the role of a Manager to an IC?

    11. Challenges How do highly experienced ICs handle a relatively inexperienced manager? What are the possible negative dynamics of such working relationships? If managers are not too technical or hands-on, will their team members respect them? What is a good mix? 50% mgr + 50% technical Does becoming an IC mean staying away from people issues (leading a team)?

    12. Recommendations What would you suggest to all the writers? Any tips or guidelines?

    13. To Conclude Problem Statements there is no direct solution Indian mindset To be, US mindset To do Focus on work and get the right skills, dont chase titles Roles depend on the company need, roles are defined by company requirements and so are titles Each role is important. (Just like in a cricket team, the role of a senior batsman or bowler is as important as the captain.)

    14. Questions? Bhavana Sontakke (bsontakk@tibco.com) Jayanthi Krishnan (Jayanthi.Krishnan@amdocs.com) Makarand Pandit (makarand@pn2.vsnl.net.in) Shubhangi Godbole (sgodbole@avaya.com) Suneeta Aggarwal (suneeta@tibco.com)

    15. THANK YOU