Get That Job: Technical Lead

Get That Job: Technical Lead
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

January 22nd 2016 at 11:00AM

Deck13's Thorsten Lange offers advice on how you can bag a career leap

What is your job role?
I oversee the development of our in-house multi-platform technology, ‘Fledge’.

Since we work on multiple titles at the same time, it’s my responsibility to keep the engine development on track while satisfying the technical requirements of all the projects. 

What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
You should have a strong background in maths/computer science. Strong C++ skills are a must, since the bulk of the programming is done using that language.

Being a leader, you should be able to keep your fellow techies happy and motivated. This also means to empower them to take over responsibility for certain tasks – without leaving them alone when there are problems – and taking them seriously when it comes to time assessment.

With all the additional tasks put on your table, you should not forget that you wanted to be a programmer, first and foremost. Having said that, keeping the management overhead minimal is always a priority for me. Developing a keen eye for recruiting people fitting our team culture is therefore something I have to do
as well.

If you were interviewing someone, what do you look for?
Firstly, the application itself should just make sense. So, whatever the applicant writes about themself in the cover letter should be reflected in their CV and vice versa. It may sound silly, but you would be surprised.

After a written technical test and a personal interview, the applicant is invited to come over to our office to join the team for two days working on a specific task using our own tech. This on-site test is invaluable, because we will get to know each other better and see whether our work ethics match.

The most important thing is attitude. We are a happy few, and we spend a lot of time together, so we can’t afford having someone with a bad attitude around, no matter how exceptional their technical skills.

What opportunities are there for career progression?
Quite a few. Working on their own tech, people are really able to dig deep into a specific field, becoming exceptional specialists. Technology evolves fast; there is always something new and exciting to spend time on.

Learning to lead and working well together with other departments is another opportunity that smaller projects create, since these will typically involve only one or two dedicated programmers who will then be in charge.