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I'm a developer who is gainfully employed. However, I've been having many discussions over the past 6 months, initiated by my superiors, about my career path and moving up.
I've made it abundantly clear that I don't want to pursue a management type of role. I enjoy writing code and I want to keep my fingers in the code as much as possible.
The alternative path would be towards a lead developer role. However, I've recently been told that to be a lead developer, I'd have to "widen my circle of influence" which has been described to me as mentoring and teaching more junior developers and becoming more well-known and influential in my industry.
I have a big problem with this. I am not a teacher and I have no aspirations to be one. Being a mentor involves a certain amount of responsibility for other people which is why I don't want to be anyone's manager.
As for influence in my industry, I'm an extremely private person who values his anonymity online. I don't have any social media accounts except for LinkedIn, which I rarely use. I don't have a Github account. I try to manage my "digital footprint" such that as little about me can be found as possible from a Google search of my name. I didn't become a programmer for fame or recognition in the industry. Unlike some of my coworkers (especially those from the West coast), I don't live or die by the number of stars I have on my Github repositories.
Does this mean I'm out of luck for advancement in my career? I like where I am now. I'm given a fair amount of freedom in my work. But I'd like to continue to increase my income more than just the small annual raises for inflation and the idea that I've peaked in my career at age 28 is very disconcerting to me.