“You should be okay with spending more time communicating than coding” — Gaurav Dubey, Sr. Engineer at Oyo

“Alease ask yourself if you feel comfortable to spend more time talking to people than to code and do technical work”

Hello! What’s your background?

My background is in traditional software development Science, with a focus on Software Engineering. After my studies, I had a couple of jobs as a software developer. During a rapid-growth phase at Knowlarity and then Airtel, and now at Oyo Rooms I transitioned into people management.

How was your journey from coder to leader?

It was mainly learning by doing. I had already been involved in conducting job interviews for some time. I had some people skills, so my manager asked me if I was willing to take over some people to manage.

There was some formal training over time, on how to do one-on-ones, how to give proper feedback, and so on.

What does your day-to-day work look like, and what keeps you motivated?

The aspect that motivated me most about the role was seeing other people grow and do things that surprise you. For example, I was able to encourage people to give their best who thought they would be not sure to do it. And they did it really well.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far? What did you do to overcome them?

As a developer, you have pretty clear signs of progress: Commits made, features delivered, bugs fixed, etc. As a manager, most of this goes away.

In general, as a manager, you have more visibility. People perceive you differently, in a way. I had to be present in a different way. The days of hiding behind my screen and quietly coding away for hours when I did not feel like interacting with people were over.

What has been the biggest surprise so far? Something you didn’t expect?

One of the biggest surprises, and something that I only understood after a while, was how much care and attention you have to invest in your communication. Your words have more weight now. It’s easy to hurt people’s feelings, or to convey a wrong impression if you do not carefully craft your communication.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about being a manager?

I think the best advice that I have taken to heart is that you have to find your own style. It won’t work if you try to imitate somebody else’s style. There is no shortcut.

What do you tell developers who are considering making the switch or new to the role?

If you are considering the switch, please ask yourself if you feel comfortable to spend more time talking to people than to code and do technical work.

If you are new to the role: Get a mentor. If your organization does not provide one, proactively look for one, either within or outside of your organization.

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