If you’ve racked up a solid level of experience and fancy taking the next step in your tech career, you might have your eye on a leadership role. But what does it actually take to be a tech lead? Let’s run through what this kind of role entails, and the often complex set of skills needed to excel.  

What does a tech lead actually do?  

A tech lead is responsible for leading a team, or even several teams, of software developers, engineers and architects. They’ll be the senior figure driving a project forward.  

But this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a manager in the ordinary sense of the word. Although they may be responsible for overseeing people and teams, a tech lead can also be an individual contributor to the project. They wear many hats, from project manager and mentor to architect and software engineer. This means they need a very broad set of skills and competencies, and a good deal of technical experience too.  

The key responsibilities of a tech lead can involve: 

  • Driving the high-level architectural discussions – translating the company’s technical vision into a tangible reality. 
  • Leading design meetings and investigating the feasibility of ideas. 
  • Planning, organising and prioritising work – breaking down huge ambitious projects into a more manageable and logical schedule of tasks. 
  • Removing obstacles, solving problems and chasing down answers by finding exactly the right person to answer the question.  
  • Understanding how teams and departments work together, and providing mentoring and support where needed – a great tech lead can ‘level up’ the team. 
  • Acting as an intermediary between the project team and senior management – to improve communication and keep projects on track.  
  • Ensuring that best practices are implemented and rigorously followed throughout the project.  

What skills do I need as a tech lead?  

A tech lead has a varied and demanding role, this inevitably means a long list of skills are required, with leadership and strong technical abilities at the very top.  

Successful tech leads are great communicators and problem-solvers, being able to think on their feet and ensure everyone’s on board with the latest plan of action.  It’s also crucial that a person within this role have solid developmental and technical skills of their own. They’ll need to be skilled in coding, programming and a range of other computer engineering capabilities, including understanding and solving complex software issues.  

Lastly, a technical lead needs to be able to delegate and prioritise. Time management is critical, as is thinking several steps ahead to ensure that projects or work proceeds smoothly. A sought-after tech lead will also be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve processes.  

Searching for a new leadership role within tech? Or perhaps you’re hiring and need exceptional leadership talent to drive your organisation forward. Whichever is the case, Fairmont Recruitment can help – get in touch to find out more.   

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