Embracing Career Progression: Finding Fulfillment Beyond Hands-on Work

Discover the art of embracing career progression in the tech industry, as we explore the shift from hands-on work to leadership roles. Learn how to find fulfillment through expertise and thought leadership, making lasting impacts on teams, companies, and customers. Gain insights on navigating the transition, seeking advice, and embracing the value of meaningful work at every stage of your professional journey.

Vamshi Vangapally
2 min readMay 16, 2023

A friend of mine, who previously worked as a hands-on developer and DevOps engineer, expressed dissatisfaction with their current pre-sales consultant or architect role. They miss the challenges and sense of accomplishment that come with building complicated infrastructures for companies. In their current position, they take requirements from salespeople and provide optimal solutions for customers, but they feel unfulfilled due to the lack of hands-on work.

I explained to my friend that as one gains experience in their career, roles tend to focus more on leadership and expertise rather than technical tasks like coding. With age and experience comes thought leadership, where one is valued based on their ability to handle various scenarios, situations, conflicts, and challenges.

While it’s true that coding offers instant gratification when you write code that compiles successfully or makes an impact on customers, it’s essential to note that as a career progresses, the value increases because of unique expertise developed over years of experience. This expertise and experience can be applied to help companies avoid mistakes and navigate complex challenges.

As one grows older and moves up in their career ladder, it’s natural to become detached from hands-on coding. However, this detachment should not be seen as a loss. Higher-level positions may lack immediate feedback, but the accomplishments and decisions made in these roles can have lasting impacts on team effectiveness, company growth, and customer satisfaction.

I advised my friend to embrace their senior role as an opportunity for growth, rather than feeling like they are losing something valuable from their past experiences. I suggested that they talk with peers who are also in senior positions to gain insight into how they coped with similar transitions in their careers. Additionally, discussing these feelings during one-on-one meetings with their manager may reveal further advice and strategies for moving forward, since managers have likely experienced the same situation themselves.

In conclusion, it’s important to understand that progression within any profession involves embracing both old skills and new responsibilities essential to achieving long-term success. Remember, a sense of accomplishment isn’t solely tied to instant gratification, but also to doing impactful and meaningful work throughout every stage of your career.