How I Went from Engineer to Manager Overnight, Lessons Learned

Managers Club, Interviews and Resources for Engineering Managers

Jan 24 2023 • 31 mins

In this interview, we follow the journey of Swathi Sundar, an engineering manager at Benchling and ex-Uber, who, as a tech lead, was suddenly made an engineering manager overnight. Through her personal experiences, Swathi shares the challenges and lessons she learned during this transition period. From managing expectations and leading a team to deal with the pressure and responsibilities of the new software engineering manager role, this video offers valuable insights for anyone looking to move into a management position in the tech industry. Watch now to learn how she navigated this sudden change and emerged as a successful engineering leader.

Swathi also shares her strategies for effectively communicating with her team and stakeholders, as well as how she adapted to the new responsibilities and expectations that come with being an engineering manager. Swathi covers growing a new tech lead. Finally, she also provides tips on transitioning to a new company as an engineering manager. This video is a must-watch for anyone looking to transition smoothly from an engineering role to a management role in the tech industry. With Swathi's personal experiences and practical advice, you'll gain valuable insights on navigating this challenging but rewarding journey.


  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:20 How Swathi became a manager overnight
  • 1:02 How big was your team and what did you do?
  • 2:50 What are some things that you quickly had to get up to speed with on management?
  • 4:48 Growing a new tech lead 6:13 Difficulty letting go....
  • 7:44 Resources that helped you become a manager
  • '9:13 New relationship with direct reports
  • 12:28 Changes during COVID pandemic
  • 15:50 Performance management
  • 16:39 Final lessons from Uber
  • 18:17 Moving to a new company
  • 21:03 Additional advice on transitioning to be a manager at a new company
  • 22:23 Managing sideways and up
  • 25:00 Do you miss coding?
  • 26:10 Engineers, code engineering managers write.
  • 29:55 Parting advice


ABOUT ME: I'm Vidal, an author, podcaster, and engineering manager working at LinkedIn in the SF Bay Area. I am on a mission to help and inspire engineering leaders everywhere!


  • ⭐️ The Software Engineering Manager Interview Guide
  • ⭐️ Time Management Tips for Engineering Managers
  • ⭐️ How to Write an Engineering Manager Resume,


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