Software Engineering Manager

There comes a time in every tech company when engineering teams get so big that it gets difficult to keep track of each task and overall progress. This is when company managers consider hiring a professional that can manage the software engineering teams.

Software engineering managers have multiple purposes inside a company. Not only are they responsible for overseeing the teams involved in computer and software engineering, but they must also contribute to the design and creation of software applications.

Before beginning any kind of hiring process for a software team, business owners must understand what exactly software engineering managers do and how companies hire them. While the best option for some companies is the hiring of in-house staff to join an existing development team or start one from scratch, other companies benefit greatly from all that working with an outsourcing provider has to offer. 

Software engineering management requires the application of management-related activities to ensure the optimal development and delivery of software engineering services and products. Software engineering managers use skills like planning, coordinating, measuring, and reporting to make sure that the company’s products meet the requirements of stakeholders and users.

Software engineering management activities usually occur at three levels: organizational and infrastructure management, project management, and measurement program planning.

Other important responsibilities included in software engineering management are policy management, personnel management (hiring, training, motivating, and mentoring), and organizational culture and behavior management. 

Software Engineering Manager Role and Hiring Guide

Software engineering managers hold a mainly administrative position in which they must supervise and direct the work of computer and software engineers through the design and development of software, programs, and apps.

These professionals also collaborate directly with their dev teams in designing and creating these applications. This means that software engineering managers have extensive and ever-evolving knowledge of software engineering and/or information technology.

Some of their most common tasks include devising strategies, creating designs, providing progress reports, preparing presentations, and assessing team performance. Software engineering managers also take care of the hiring process, interactions with customers, attending conferences, and other managerial duties.

  • Job Description

    Companies should begin the process of recruiting a software engineering manager by creating an appealing job description. This is the first contact that potential candidates have with the company, so it should be informative as well as interesting.

The first paragraph is where companies should sell the workplace to applicants. They should consider all the qualities that make them stand out from the competition and list them along with what makes the workplace special and inviting to newcomers.

Then, recruiters or in-house HR reps should go over the expected responsibilities of the software engineering manager they’re hiring, what skills and qualifications they require, and any other necessary demands including education, experience, and licensing. This is also a great time for considering working with an outsourcing company instead of traditional in-house hiring.

Finally, it’s important to be very clear about the work hours, work model, and benefits. Applicants should know beforehand if they’re applying to a part-time or full-time job, and if they’ll be working in an office, remotely, or in a hybrid setting. This helps recruiters and staff augmentation companies narrow down their applicant pool.

An example job description for the role is as follows:

We are looking for a talented, detail-oriented Software Engineering Manager to join our ever-growing development team. The right candidate not only has an extensive knowledge base of software engineering and generalized IT, but also features the managerial and soft skills required to lead a team to success.

  • Responsibilities of a Software Engineering Manager

    The list of daily responsibilities of a software engineering manager differs from company to company. However, most of their duties involve overseeing the software engineering team, working alongside them, and providing the best working environment for each member. A few other examples of the responsibilities of a software engineering manager include:
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    Establishing each project’s requirements and goals
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    Translating tech-specific language to business
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    Training team members
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    Managing third-party development contractors
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    Collaborating with QA, product management, and other engineering teams
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    Creating API test plans
  • Skills and Qualifications

    Software engineering managers must have a good balance between software engineering and managerial skills. Having technical skills is important in this role, not only because software engineering managers contribute to the development of the product, but also because they must guide and help the rest of the team overcome technical problems.

Typically, a software engineering manager must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a subject such as computer science or programming, along with several years of experience in a closely related industry or position. As an individual contributor, the candidate must be proficient in programming languages and programs. Some roles also require or request experience in a managerial position as well.

The most important technical skills to have as a software engineering manager are programming knowledge and technical design. Knowing how to code is the most basic skill anyone in software engineering needs, and software engineering managers are no exception.

Technical design is the ability to look at problems, identify the most complex parts, and come up with quick solutions to overcome them. Software engineering managers need to rely on their problem-solving abilities and their previous experience to find new ways to deal with new problems.

Technical skills are only a part of the software engineering manager’s tool kit. Another part involves having management skills that align with the company’s values and philosophy. Supporting reports and the teams, building new teams, autonomy, collaboration, and communication are only a few skills required for this role.

Hiring managers should keep in mind that the best software engineering managers might not necessarily be the best engineers in the room. While technical expertise is important, some of the best qualities in these professionals are the will to advance, autonomy, perseverance, and good interpersonal skills.

Interview Questions

Software engineering manager interview questions and the entire process is the best way to measure if a candidate is really the best fit for the role and the company, in general. Recruiters also have the opportunity during this part of the hiring process to ask cultural and behavioral questions as well as test the applicants on their technical skills.

Cultural questions help determine if the candidate will be the right fit for the role in the existing office culture. They also help recruiters single out candidates whose values, beliefs, and behavior fit in with the company’s culture. Here are a few examples of cultural interview questions for potential software engineering managers:

This question allows recruiters to get a sense of the candidate’s experience in management roles. It’s also a way for them to assess if they agree with the candidate’s way of handling internal processes. Applicants should include the following points in their answers:

    1. Avoiding micromanagement
    2. Encouraging questions and establishing open communication lines
    3. Promoting education and skill building
    4. Providing constructive criticism and feedback

Here, it’s important that the candidates describe a workflow that revolves around communication. This is extremely important, considering that they’ll be managing a team, sharing ideas, and helping each member overcome different issues that may appear. When answering this question, candidates should describe a few daily tasks that might include:

    • Catching up on team emails/messages
    • Running team meetings
    • Hiring new talent
    • Ensuring that business objectives align with the technical needs of the project
    • Monitoring productivity

This is a good question to help separate software engineers from software engineering managers. The former would have no interest in the leadership aspects of the role or the idea of running a team. A good answer to this question would involve enjoying taking on projects and seeing the big picture, having a lot of decision-making power, and delegating different tasks according to the skills available in the team.

Behavioral questions for software engineering manager applicants will help recruiters determine if the candidate is a quick thinker and if their decision-making abilities are logical and professional. A few examples of behavioral questions to ask during an interview include:

When answering this question, applicants should make use of their previous experience working collaboratively with other departments like marketing or sales. They should explain how they can convey their ideas by deconstructing complex tech terminology without using a lot of jargon.

This is a great question to understand if the candidate is willing to take risks and able to learn valuable lessons whenever their plans don’t work out. Applicants should share a previous experience in which they’ve made a mistake and show the recruiters that they’re constantly evolving and learning from their actions.

This question measures the candidate’s ability to determine the optimal division and distribution of tasks. It’s also a great way to get an insight into their previous experience in leading teams and learn more about their methodology.

The applicant should have an interest in learning about each developer’s skills and domain knowledge before delegating the tasks. It’s also important for the candidate to demonstrate that they’d want to avoid overloading their team members.

A good answer should also mention potentially pairing up developers and figuring out common ways to deal with different tasks, as a way to establish comprehensive solutions and protocols.

Comparing Management Roles

Software engineering and development teams sometimes have different types of managers. Software engineer managers, product managers, and software development managers are sometimes seen as having the same role; however, their responsibilities in a company are very different.

  • Product Manager vs. Software Engineer Manager

    A product manager is responsible for the success or failure of the product. They establish the vision, plan, and strategy regarding all aspects of product creation and ensure that every department is working together to achieve the main goal.

The product manager works closely with the software engineering team, especially with the software engineering manager who oversees the creation of the product. This means that product managers must rely on exceptional communication skills.

Some of their main responsibilities include:

  • Setting up a vision of the product
  • Building a multi-departmental strategy
  • Working with engineers, designers, and stakeholders
  • Delivering products according to customer needs
  • Software Development Manager vs. Software Engineer Manager

    While the software engineer manager works with their team to create programs, software, and applications that meet clients’ requests, software development managers are responsible for coordinating the engineers and the clients, allocating resources, and streamlining processes.

Software development managers must identify the skills required for a project, establish deadlines, hire new software developers, ensure the team has access to all necessary tools and infrastructure, and assess the product’s quality.

They must also possess great communication and interpersonal skills. They must communicate regularly with product owners and clearly translate new requirements to every team member.

How to Hire Software Engineering Managers With BairesDev

Companies should consider working with outsourced software engineering managers to help them reach their goals faster without having to go through extensive recruitment processes and at lower costs.

To hire a software engineering manager through an outsourcing provider, company leaders should begin by determining the project requirements. This includes delivery times, resources, limitations, and budgets.

It’s also important that the recruiters know what kind of software engineering manager the company is looking for. They should explain to the outsourcing providers the kind of skills and qualifications the applicants should possess.

The company should study the world market and determine the best location to outsource its talent from. Most companies choose to work with software engineering managers from countries where salaries are affordable and there’s little to no bureaucracy regarding outsourcing methods.

Once the company’s set on a location, all that’s left to do is pick the right outsourcing provider and create a contract that benefits both parties.

Outsourcing a software engineering management role might seem daunting. Having in-house managers monitoring every process and ensuring everything goes according to plan might feel safer for some companies.

However, outsourcing software engineering management positions can come with many benefits:

  • Improved operation control and efficiency. Outsourced software engineering managers can step in and help in-house staff with their priorities, finances, and schedules.
  • Operational continuity. There are periods of high employee turnover where engineering talent is constantly moving on to different jobs. An outsourced software engineering manager can provide some operational continuity and help out during those moments.
  • Access to management expertise. Company leaders don’t have to wait until their projects justify the recruitment of a full-time software engineering manager. Outsourcing allows them to have access to top talent that’ll fit their specific needs until the project ends.
  • Other benefits. Outsourcing software engineering managers may also result in reduced costs, fast scalability, increased efficiency, and productivity balance.

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Start Building Your Software Engineering Team With BairesDev!

Software engineering managers are responsible for overseeing the software engineering team, managing their productivity, and working alongside them to create software, programs, and applications that meet the requirements of each customer.

Hiring a software engineering manager is an important task that requires a lot of effort from recruiters. To make sure they get the best selection of applicants, recruiters must create a good job description that clearly lists the required skills, responsibilities, benefits, work hours, and work model.

During the interview process, recruiters can assess whether each candidate is the right fit for the role and the company by asking behavioral, cultural, and technical questions. The right candidate should have a good mix of technical and managerial skills and some previous experience.

The responsibilities of a software engineering manager make up a long list. Not only should they be able to work alongside their team members and help create products and services, but they should also take care of the administrative side of things.

This includes managing the engineering team, ensuring efficiency and productivity, communicating with leaders and stakeholders, recruiting new team members, and solving any issues that might occur.

Companies should also consider outsourcing software engineering management roles. This recruitment model allows companies to have access to experts in their field at affordable prices, without having to go through an entire recruitment process.

The main benefits of outsourcing a software engineering manager include improved operation control and efficiency, operational continuity, and access to management expertise for a specific period of time.

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