001. Transition 🦋

· 402 words · 2 minute read

Life is all about change. I had never thought I would be a software engineer in earnest. In a world where the outward impression of an engineer is one of maths, sweaty boys and basements*, I had thought my place was purely in the design world.

Fast forward to 2021-22, and I am now an Engineering Manager.

Which, if you’re not aware, involves two things:

  1. Engineering
  2. Management

And sometimes both at once.

Engineering is something I’ve been working on for the last six years. First at REA Group as an IT Graduate, then mid-level developer and finally a senior developer. Coming to Cash App, it was all about grinding my engineering chops against the whetstone that was a large American engineering company and learning as much as possible.

Management was far away for me. Or so I thought (cue foreboding music).

In the later part of 2021, our team (eight, becoming nine, developers, and one engineering manager) was going to split in two to pursue different objectives. This left one engineering manager for two teams, and it was clear this wasn’t working very well.

I can’t help myself sometimes, I just naturally gravitate towards filling some of these process management and delivery gaps.

So when my manager asked if I was interested in taking the EM mantle for our new team, I thought, despite it feeling a little early in my career to move sideways into management, it was a good opportunity for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was a small team, only two other develops (not including myself, or our Tech Lead). I would only be managing these two developers,
  2. It was the same domain I had been learning about for the last year: Bitcoin. I wouldn’t have to learn another completely new part of the business as well as management,
  3. I still had my current manager as my safety net, in case I was in way over my head

So, although my lizard brain was freaking out, saying “too early, too early”, logically it really was an obviously great opportunity.

I started this blog so I could pen some thoughts about the move, and hopefully learn in public about what it means to be an engineer, a female, a LGBTQ+ identifying person going into management for the first time.

Wish me luck in my metamorphosis.


Milly Rowett

* We all know this isn’t true… there are sweaty girls too