Putting on the Suit

Speaker: Ry4an Brase, Duo Security

Engineer. Dev. Coder. The person who can find the minimal regex to match any three strings. These are key parts of my self-identity. I’d been a coder-who-also-manages for more than a decade, but when offered a promotion to a position featuring spreadsheets instead of terminal windows, I was more afraid than excited. I made a list of concerns, and had a frank discussion with my CEO. I was worried about having a gap in actual work if I left pure management. I was worried about earning the respect of new team members if they only knew me as a suit and the author of legacy code they’re working to refactor. And I was worried about not enjoying my work anymore.

Now with sixteen months’ distance I know which of those concerns were valid and what I should have worried about that I didn’t even consider. I’ll also talk about how I structured the compensation adjustment, what was great about the new role, and why I’m back to being an individual contributor (and adapting to not having anyone to boss around).

I’ll totally, sort-of, not-really manage to avoid a Neil Patrick Harris “Suit Up” joke.