What Are the Responsibilities of a Technical Lead?

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Whether you’re building a software development team or are growing one, you’ve probably considered hiring a technical lead. But as you open this new position, what responsibilities do you assign this ‘tech lead?’

Creating an accurate and detailed job description is the most important step to begin searching for that candidate.

To create this job description, you should understand what the responsibilities of a technical lead are and who they work with so you can find the right hire.

In this article, we’ll answer your questions about what a tech lead does, who they work with, and the skills they need. We’ll also explore the differences between tech leads and product owners and managers.

 

What is a technical lead?

A technical lead, also known as a tech lead or tech team lead, is a software engineer, who has moved up the ranks and held senior roles. They have the tech background needed to guide and lead a team of developers, testers, designers and devops engineers.

But it’s not just about their technical knowledge. A technical lead needs to be a people person. They’re friendly but know when to make tough decisions.

Despite coming from a software development background, tech leads don’t have to code. Instead, and depending on the business, they manage a team of web and/or mobile app developers.

Companies that hire tech leads are usually software development and IT companies, software houses, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses.

That said, some large marketing agencies that house a software development team may need to hire a tech team lead to manage requests from clients and other departments.

 

Tech lead skill set: What do they need?

Whether you want to hire a tech lead or promote a senior member in your team, their skill set matters.

Your tech lead should be a communicator and a leader. They need to have project management skills, offer technical guidance, resolve conflicts, provide feedback, and make decisions.

So, besides technical skills, your technical lead needs people, interpersonal, soft, and managerial skills. 

tech team lead skills - what are the responsibilities of a tech lead

Soft skills: Your technical lead should have strong communication, time management, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. They should also be patient, creative, attentive to detail, and empathetic.

People skills: A tech team lead needs to manage a team of developers. From supervising the team to managing deadlines, to delegating tasks to doing some administrative work, like conducting performance reviews.

Technical skills: Your technical team lead already has technical skills. This means they should be familiar with different programming languages and tools. They should also be able to use design patterns, perform software and system testing, manage sprints, and more.

Managerial skills: Your tech lead is essentially a manager. They not only need to lead the tech side of your tech team, but also lead the team as a whole; your other techies. That’s why they should have, or develop, manager-level skills like evaluating employee and team performance, resolving conflicts between members, providing feedback, among others.

 

What are the responsibilities of a technical lead?

By now you have an idea about some of the responsibilities a tech lead performs. Let’s clarify them one by one.

A tech lead’s responsibilities include:

  1. Recruitment and training: Technical team leads are responsible for hiring and evaluating new team members. This involves creating relevant job descriptions for them, evaluating their coding skills, assessing different potential hires, and selecting the best one for the company and the tech team.

  2. Goal setting: One of the tech lead’s duties is to set professional and technical goals for their team.

  3. Software maintenance: The technical lead’s roles also include maintaining and updating the different software and applications their team uses.

  4. Team supervision and guidance: The technical lead is responsible for guiding their team through current and upcoming projects, technical and non-technical challenges, among others.
    This includes delegating tasks to team members. So, besides designing the system interface, the technical team lead should divide and delegate smaller system components to their team, ensuring each member is responsible for a specific module.
    Tech team guidance requires a combination of technical and interpersonal skills.

  5. System design, analysis, and maintenance: The responsibilities of a tech lead not only include building and designing the system, but also involve the full software development cycle.
    This includes system architecture, coding, testing and deployment, all the way to launching the system and continuously updating, upgrading, and maintaining the system within the company.
    This means the technical lead is responsible for the system from A to Z and beyond. Security audits are a part of the technical lead’s responsibilities.

  6. Coordination and delegation: Last but certainly not least, an important task for a tech team lead is to coordinate the needs within their team and the needs from other teams in the company. They are also responsible for delegating assignments to their team.
    In an agency or software house, the tech lead will coordinate with account managers, and occasionally clients, the latter’s needs. In SaaS and IT companies, the tech lead will collaborate and coordinate with the product team.

  

Who does a tech lead work with?

Besides managing a team of developers, software testers, quality assurance engineers, among other techies, the technical lead needs to work and collaborate with other teams.

Generally, a tech lead role involves working with

  • Developers: The main responsibility of a technical lead is to manage a team of developers. There maybe different types of developers like frontend, backend, and/or fullstack developers. Depending on the business, they may also manage web and mobile app developers. 
  • Product owner(s): In a SaaS or tech company that offers a suite of tech products, a product owner is the person responsible for managing all aspects of a specific product. They’re part of the product team.  
  • Project manager(s): These people oversee the progress of a project from start to finish. They collaborate with different teams, including the tech team, to support clients and customers. In some situations, the project manager and the account manager may be the same person.
  • Account manager(s): In software houses or marketing agencies, the tech lead will work with account managers and directors to manage client requirements, conduct testing, among other duties.
  • UI/UX designer(s): These are people responsible for researching user experience and creating designs to improve customer experience with a software product.
  • Technical support: In some companies, technical leads will need to meet with tech and customer support to uncover bugs and technical issues clients or customers are struggling with. The tech lead may have to collaborate with the product team to fix those issues.

The tech lead will also report to

  • The engineering manager (if applicable)
  • The chief technical officer (CTO)
  • The HR manager (for recruitment-related duties)
  • The chief executive officer (CEO)   

 

Technical lead responsibilities and job description

Now, let’s look at how all the above translates into a clear and effective job description that helps you find the tech team lead you need.

The following examples shared are for an e-commerce company with a tech team of 3 to 5 individuals.

Step 1: Write a brief intro about the role and what you’re looking for. Highlight the tech lead responsibilities this person will need to perform on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis when they join your company. Describe the milestones you expect them to achieve. Mention the number of people in your team.

“[Company name] is looking for a tech team lead for a team of [3 to 5] developers. Our tech team lead’s responsibilities involve working on the design and development of software applications, supporting team members in achieving their goals….”etc.

Step 2: Determine the programming language where the tech lead will be an expert. However, note that they have to be flexible in dealing with multiple programming languages. Example: Java Tech Lead, NodeJS Tech Lead,….etc.

Consider the core technology used in your company and the supporting/complementary technologies that shape your product. Highlight the essential criteria you want in your tech team lead. Example, 8 to 10 years of experience, previous experience working in a startup/agency/software house…etc.

“PHP is a must-have, while NodeJS is good to have.”

Step 3: Mention filtration criteria, if available. These can include certificates or degrees and industry domain knowledge such as e-commerce, fintech,…etc. Experience in using certain tech tools like Firebase, third-party integrations, analytics tools,…etc.

Mention the soft and people skills needed in this person. Usually, a tech team lead needs to be a people person so they can manage a team of developers.

Step 4: Include company and job-related info. For example, inform potential candidates of your hiring process, the number of interviews involved. Let them know if there is a test, virtual or in-person interview. Inform them when you’re likely to get back to them.

Let them know if this a full-time or part-time role, salary (and specify currency), whether it’s an in-house or remote role. Mention additional benefits for why candidates should join your company.

Of course, you can skip all these steps and let TechieMatter handle all of this for you and then find you tech team leads and talents to match that job description. 

 

Wrapping it up

Hiring a tech lead can be a pivotal step for your company and tech team. 

But finding the right person with the right skill set and the right attitude who not only meets your business needs, but also fits your company culture can be challenging.

Especially, since technical recruitment differs from general recruitment

Bridging the gap between tech skills, interpersonal and managerial skills, requires exceptional expertise during the interview process.

This is where TechieMatter comes in. TechieMatter is tech recruitment software, designed by techies to help HR managers, recruiters, and business leaders hire techies. Even if they don’t have the tech background or skills.

We are not a platform where you’ll get 100 or 1000 resumes for a job. We help you create a clear job description then match your job description and needs with a handful of tech talents using our recruitment product. 

You can then choose to continue the recruitment process through TechieMatter and use our products, including Assessment, the Tech Expert Interview, and onboarding. 

 

Still not sure what to include in your job description for a tech lead? Need help finding a tech lead that meets your needs? Submit a hiring request via TechieMatter and consider it done!  

 

TechieMatter Team

TechieMatter Team