Exploring the People Manager Path

Explore the diverging paths of TPMs transitioning to people management roles.

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SDM vs. TPM paths

For TPMs, the people manager path goes in two directions for most companies in tech: SDM or TPM manager. Both of these paths switch focus from individual contributions to the company’s success and rely on the TPM's ability to bring success through others. By growing the careers of the people who report to you, their contributions grow, and the collective contributions of our team grow. The difference in the paths is the composition of your team as well as your upward mobility. Each company is different, but this is true for the Big Five companies that were interviewed for this course. As you'll see in an example later, companies outside of the Big Five, or really any of the top tech companies, have their own progression route that may not differentiate between these two people manager paths.

The journey of a people manager can bounce between both SDM and TPM manager. Let’s take a look at the journey of a people manager who held both of these roles.

Faheem Khan is a senior manager TPM at Amazon. Throughout his career, he has been both an IC and a people manager in various forms. He started out ambitiously co-founding a start-up, Planetsoft, in India and found quick success with requests to build out enterprise solutions. He realized he needed to learn how enterprise software was created before committing to doing so himself, so he got a job at a tech firm as a software tester.

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