What is a tech lead? What role do they play in a software development team? Let’s learn more about the responsibilities of a tech lead, and how you can become one.
Today’s tech-driven industry is highly competitive. Brands are innovating left and right and outdoing each other in all aspects. From upgrading and streamlining business processes to creating awe-inspiring software products, technology is indeed shaping the future of business.
With that said, behind every successful tech innovation is a hardworking team. The outcome is determined by how well a team collaborates and tackles issues. And this is why great leadership is essential.
A great leader is a key to transforming a brilliant idea into an excellent output. In software development, a tech lead is especially helpful in overcoming problems in the technical process. Today, we’ll get to know more about this position. But first, let’s learn more about the dynamics of the software development process and the different team roles involved.
Understanding the Software Development Process
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a framework that details the tasks required for each stage of the development process. The SDLC stages outline the processes that must be followed to complete the development process until the next iteration.
This model acts as a roadmap for creating software solutions in a methodical and rigorous way. The framework establishes a structure that enables the development team to deliver high-quality products by adhering to the job definitions.
The SDLC phases start from the conceptualization all the way to the launching and maintenance of a software product. Each SDLC phase involves six major steps:
- Requirements and Analysis
The Software Development Team
Now that we have a better idea of what SDLC is, it’s time to know the key roles involved in software development. A software development team is made up of various roles depending on the size and scale of a project.
The primary talents are the developers. However, the rest of the team is just as important in achieving quality output. In general, the team’s overall goal is to design market-oriented software. The team members make that possible.
These are the most common roles in a software development team.
- Project manager
- Product owner
- Team lead
- Technical leader
- Full Stack developer
- Frontend developer
- Backend developer
- Quality Assurance lead
- QA engineer
- UI designer
- UX designer
For starting businesses, however, a team would likely be composed of fewer members with developers and a lead. The business can always hire developers and other roles as the project expands.
What is a Tech Lead?
As previously mentioned, leadership plays a crucial role in the success of a project. Talents are only as good as how they’re used. And in software development, a tech lead plays a key role in keeping the team in the right direction. Let’s discuss further.
A tech lead oversees the technical aspect of development and facilitates a smooth workflow process. The position primarily focuses on managing the technical side of the project. This includes troubleshooting and identifying the roadblocks of the team. Moreover, they ensure that the team’s tasks are aligned with the goals and timeline of the project.
Technical leaders need to have a background in coding and programming. This position requires a great deal of understanding about development issues and how to deal with them accordingly. The technical leader is in charge of finding the fastest and efficient solutions for issues.
In a small team of developers, the tech lead would often be the senior developer. Small businesses often fall into this kind of dynamic. A senior developer would be appointed to the supervisory position if they have the leadership skills.
But of course, technical leadership involves more than just the technical processes. Let’s explore the multiple responsibilities of a tech lead further.
Tech Lead Roles and Responsibilities
The technical lead has various responsibilities. These are just some of their tasks:
The tech lead assists in hiring and training developers and other development roles. They are involved in the interview process in terms of assessing the technical skills of the candidate. Once the candidates are hired, they will also facilitate the training and orientation to the team.
2. Workload Management
Projects come in different scopes and sizes, and the tech lead must evaluate the workload thoroughly. The goal is to identify the right people to work on each task. It is the tech lead’s responsibility to properly delegate workload according to one’s skill and experience.
In development, there are often unavoidable issues and roadblocks. The tech lead must collaborate with the team to identify and fix these hurdles. They must be able to fix these problems without compromising their progress with direction from the lead.
4. Goal Setting
Another important aspect of development is identifying milestones and goals. The tech lead must set SMART goals and align the team with them. Furthermore, there must be metrics for development in order to keep track of the progress.
5. Tool Updates
The tech lead must ensure all software and applications used for development are functional and relevant. If upgrades are necessary, the team should comply and take time to implement them. This would likewise influence the quality and scalability of the final product.
6. Security Audit
In addition to ensuring tools are up-to-date, the technical lead must also do regular security audits. It is a systematic assessment of a company’s information system to ensure it adheres to a set of standards. Likewise, security audits also help identify areas to improve on.
Lastly, the technical lead must oversee all system modifications. In software development, developers will make both small and big changes to the system. The tech lead’s role is to minimize the risk of those changes and ensure they are done properly.
The above-mentioned items are just a few of the tech lead’s tasks. They may have fewer or more responsibilities depending on the project. Nonetheless, their main goal is to assist in the successful completion of the software project.
How to Become a Tech Lead
Now that we’ve learned the various roles and responsibilities of a tech lead, the next step is to learn their qualifications. How does one become a tech lead?
Just like any other profession, multiple factors come into play when it comes to qualifying for the position. You have to consider the candidate’s educational background, experience, and overall professional skills.
The educational qualification of any managerial position is often higher. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or any IT-related field would be a minimum. The candidate would also need to pursue certifications relevant to management.
A lot of tech leads start off by doing the job they would later on supervise. From coding to quality checking, hands-on experience in these tasks would be a huge plus to one’s portfolio. Furthermore, working in the industry for several years would add to their credibility and authority.
Lastly, the skills can be a deal-breaker in the position. The candidate must have great technical, diagnostic, and troubleshooting skills. And also, excellent communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Although the position mainly focuses on the technical side, it would still involve communication with staff and clients. Hence, the lead must be able to relay messages clearly and concisely.
Overall, the tech lead role requires a good combination of hard and soft skills. As a recruiter, you’ll need to assess candidates who can balance both. Go beyond the technical interview, and get to know the person’s work ethic and professional values.
Hire a Tech Lead
Building your software development team? It can be tricky to find qualified talents for a project. Given there’s a shortage of developers in the US, recruitment can be challenging. Luckily, there’s a more convenient and affordable way around it.
Consider offshoring your developing team with Full Scale.
We will assist you in building a solid and reliable software development team. Our company specializes in offshore team management. We’ll take care of the tedious recruitment process and management.
You don’t have to stress about hiring and maintaining your staff. Instead, you can focus on your core competencies. Ready to talk business? Let’s get started!