Title: Management or Technical?

Have you ever been pressed in your career about whether you want to go into management or be technical? I get asked this a lot. My answer is always, “why do I have to choose?” I’ll like to dive into the root of this question and then cover ways in which you can be a leader and still be a technical contributor. It’s a challenge, but certainly possible. I’ll draw on my experience over the last five years at Puppet, Inc.

Items Covered:

  • What is technical work anyway?
  • Prioritization is most important
  • Check your title when doing technical work
  • Don’t put yourself on critical path
  • Don’t fall into micromanagement designs
  • How are you improving those around you?



Michael Stahnke


Michael Stahnke is Director of Engineering at Puppet, Inc, leading the SRE department. He’s had a few roles at Puppet, and been a part of the company growing from 35 to 520+ employees. He’s been heavily involved with release engineering and community throughout his tenure. He came to Puppet from Caterpillar, Inc. where he was an infrastructure architect, system administration team lead, and open source evangelist. Michael also helped get the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository off the ground in 2005, is the author of Pro OpenSSH (Apress, 2005), and rants continuously about technology and computers, while striving to learn more about them.