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What are engineering career paths for the software developers and architects? I am quite confused. Software teams have no managers, leads and chief engineer positions - today everything is agile, everyone should be replaceable and everyone should take up some role or task (according to the agile methodology) in which he/she is not so good with the aim to experience a challenge, learning and accumulation of the knowledge to avoid the knowledge silos in the organization. Today every accountant is good at programming and more and more companies hire junior interns (whose wages are paid by the government programs) for the developer positions and the toolchains, documented practices allow to create really good business software even in the early career stages. My guess is that the chief engineer of he Hoover dam become a millioner, but but I hardly imagine that for the developers e.g. of the Euronext trading systems etc. My guess is that the building architects can build the new opera house and earn respect and reward. But I have not heard about famous software architects.

My question is - what are the normal career paths for the developers and software architects in 2020?

Well - I am not desperate individual without imagination and strengths - I know that the world is changing and a am learning a lot (and doing pet projects and more serious research projects) about machine learning, artificial (general) intelligence, bioinformatics (especially about molecular mechanisms to treat obestiy and to eradicate aging (which is the main cause of death - according to statistics, aging causes almost 90% of deaths even at this century!) and to enable rejuvenation and eternal life), formally verified software, program syntehsis. I am interested in startups and during the holidays and evenings I am coding some projects from which to grow my own startaps. So - I am ready to take startup career, career in research position (e.g. in R&D arms of businesses) or maybe even move to the consulting or management, but I am asking this question to be on the safe side - I am currently in quite conventional position and what can I do and what are my prospects if I am staying conventional and normal?

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    Agile does not mean lack of leadership positions or opportunities to rise. Not sure what the question is here – Victor S Dec 29 '19 at 16:34
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    Gotta challenge a few assumptions here. I've never heard of a software team without a manager, even ones using agile. And there are still plenty that don't. Are you trying to become a manager? I also know plenty of accountants that have no idea about programming. – Seth R Dec 29 '19 at 16:54
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    I don't think there is one path how to become an software architect. Web, enterprise and cloud development all have vastly different requirements/experience you need to have. This question sounds like too vast to be answered IMO. – Sopuli Dec 29 '19 at 17:24
  • Also not sure who is hiring junior interns that churn out production ready, profitable software. If anything it takes like a year to even finish training a newly hired actual dev – Victor S Dec 29 '19 at 18:12
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They are much the same as they have been for many years. Most people are promoted into management. That can start as being the team lead. Then on to project management. Then all the way up the food chain to head of a department.

A few people will be promoted into a "subject matter expert" role. But these may be rare in commercial organizations.

All the latest buzzwords don't fundamentally change things. They are mostly about how teams organize the work. It still requires management.

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  • "Most people are promoted into management." how would that even work? Of X people one might be teamlead and maybe manager and maybe even CTO. How would all X or even "most" of them make it to management? – nvoigt Dec 30 '19 at 9:53
  • @nvoigt Ok, of the people who are promoted, most are promoted into management. Many people, myself included, will probably retire without ever becoming managers. Don't assume that everybody will keep being promoted every couple of years throughout their careers. – Simon B Dec 30 '19 at 17:23

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