If I've worked in engineering for 10 years, and accept a management role, does it hurt my resume/CV when applying as an engineer at other companies?
My employer is giving me a choice between becoming an "engineering fellow" (50% technical, 50% leadership) role, and a $20k raise (i.e. $160k ==> $180k), and my salary caps at $240k; or a management role, which is only a $10k raise, but caps at $300k, and provides an "easier" path to becoming a director/executive over the next 10 years (engineering fellows can do this too, but it's rare).
I'm concerned about economic downturns and possible layoffs in the next year, and in my experience:
- Low-to-mid-level managers are the first to get cut.
- Having management as your most recent job tends to make it harder to interview for top-level engineering roles (I've seen my own colleagues at multiple companies say "oh, he's rusty, too much management, he shouldn't be applying for a principal/senior engineering role").
Is it normal for an engineer to have a harder time interviewing as an engineer with their more recent roles being in management? Should I change my job title to "engineering lead" or "chief engineer" when applying to other companies? I've seen this sentiment at multiple companies, so I don't believe it's just hearsay.
Also, should I consider turning down the promotion to management and insist on sticking with the engineering role if management insists I choose a non-technical/management promotion instead of an engineering promotion? Or is that asking to be fired by insisting on a different path/stream of promotion?