Whether developing software or installing computer systems in a client’s company, hiring a technical lead contributes to completing the project successfully. Technical leads provide solutions to technical challenges facing the development of digital products or solutions. They focus on ensuring the finished product meets the design and technical specifications of their clients. Technical leads commonly work for software companies and information technology consulting firms.
Doing the Job
Effective technical leads need a blend of superb problem-solving and innovation skills to resolve a wide variety of technical production challenges. For example, when a client requests design changes to a software that is already halfway through development, the technical lead uses these skills to identify ways to incorporate the changes into the project so that it stays on schedule. Because technical leads often interact with team members and project leads, they need good communication to share information effectively.
Technical leads help technical directors develop sound project schedules. For example, at the concept of a corporate website development project, the technical lead helps evaluate the website’s blueprint, estimate project costs and time frames, identify the number and competencies of required project staff, and allocate them tasks. If the project requires licenses and permits to proceed, the technical lead helps gather the necessary technical documentation for presentation to the permitting authority. Throughout the course of a project, technical leads ensure project staff adheres to relevant legal regulations.
After the completion of a project, technical leads may provide technical support to a client to ensure the technology product or solution works appropriately. For example, when a company installs new accounting software, the technical lead who oversaw its development may help the firm’s workers learn how it functions. Technical leads also motivate, mentor and train project staff, report issues that might affect product delivery, such as increase in project costs to project managers, and attend industry seminars, conferences and workshops to stay abreast of information technology trends.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or information technology and about five years of industry experience is sufficient to secure a technical lead’s job. Working in entry-level positions is the best way to gain job experience. Obtaining professional certifications from industry organizations, such as Microsoft and Oracle, and completing a master’s degree in project management improves your prospects of becoming a technical director. In 2014, technical leads had an average salary of $69,000, according to Simply Hired, a website for occupational information. Between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 15 percent job growth for all computer and information systems managers, greater than the 11 percent average for all jobs.
2016 Salary Information for Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers earned a median annual salary of $135,800 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, computer and information systems managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $105,290, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $170,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 367,600 people were employed in the U.S. as computer and information systems managers.