4 answers

What are the requirements to become a software development manager?

Asked Canada, Kentucky

I'm a sixth grader, fresh in middle school at Belfry Middle, I presently participate at an all girls S.T.E.M camp for Verizon Innovative Learning. I'm looking to have my future planned out . I have plans for my majors and what college I want to go to but i'm not sure what degrees i'll need. Any advice on this? #graduate-school #college-bound #technology #college-major #tech

4 answers

Jamie’s Answer

Updated California, California
  1. Learn about Agile Development Cycle - most companies nowadays use this methodology. Go to Coursera web site and search for "Agile development".
  2. Learn coding - that's the only way you understand how and why when making software management decisions such as architectual approach and prioritization of development tasks.
  3. Try to acquire some project management skills such as how to control project scope creep, project tracking and reporting.

Casey’s Answer

Excellent question, Abigayle! I'm not sure I'd say there are a set of requirements for becoming a manager, but as a manager myself here are some things that I've found useful:

  • A desire to help people. Your success is your report's success, so helping them achieve their goals is paramount to being a manager.
  • Some level of organization. You don't have to be the most organized person, but you need to think about what your team needs to do in addition to what each of your reports is trying to accomplish with their career. Keeping that straight is important.
  • Flexibility. Your team's needs will change over time and you'll need to roll with that. Remember that you're there to make your team happy, not just yourself.
  • Empathy. In order to effectively manage your team, you need to put yourself in their shoes, and adjust your approach based on what you see (or are hopefully told).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but are some of the main qualities you'll want to try and embody as a manager.

Also, keep in mind that you probably won't *start* your career as a manager, but rather grow into it over time.

Casey recommends the following next steps:

  • Let your manager know you're interested in becoming a manager someday

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Software development is a very interesting and challenging and rewarding field for those whose personality traits are aligned with people who are successful in this field. You can get to know how you fit into this area by getting to know yourself better and talking to people in software development to see how you feel about this being an appropriate area for you. Many people in this area get their start at a community college. It would be interesting for you to talk to the director of alumni relations at your local community college to meet and visit people working in this area to see what they are doing, how they got there, and how you feel about this being an appropriate field for you.


The whole process begins with you getting to know yourself better. Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
  • Here is an interesting site for you to visit: ## https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pquPUX1EihM ##

Christina’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Hi Abigayle, good on you for making plans for your future. I'd urge you to seek out opportunities to shadow people in some of the jobs you're thinking about as future careers for yourself. Many tech companies do things like tours or careers days for schools, girl scouts and other educational organizations. This will give you a chance to see if the day to day aspects of a role are interesting to you as well as an opportunity to directly ask questions of the people doing these jobs. You could also see out local meet ups or user groups for technology that's interesting to you. These are a great place to both network and ask questions.

Computer science is probably the most relevant degree at this time, but many people in software have different degrees or none at all.

Most importantly, start trying out the software or languages you're interested in so you can find out what you like and gain experience. Education is important but also being able to talk about your experience will go a long way when it's time to interview for an internship or a job.

Also, there are many different careers in software, not all of them are code related, so check all of those out to help find what you think you'll be the most passionate about. Here are a few: Frontend engineer, backend engineer, quality assurance engineer, site reliability engineer, security or privacy engineer, project or program manager, people manager, architect. Figure out what you like to do, where your strengths and weaknesses lie and what kind of problems you want to solve and you'll have a much easier time finding a good fit.

Christina recommends the following next steps:

  • investigate your options
  • tour colleges