man scratching his head

Engineering Manager vs Engineering Lead vs Team Lead

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This is an extremely brief post focused more on standardization than anything else.

We all know that different organizations have different organizational structures. From flat to matrix structures it always depends on size, industry, culture, etc. To me, that makes absolute sense and it feeds to the myriad of companies available to work in.

Now, something that’s been confusing me these past months is that different companies have different names for similar positions. Worst than that, those names have different meanings depending on the company.

I’d like to focus on the following job role: a manager that leads one or more teams of individual contributors. Here are some of the names I’ve seen it be called:

  • Engineering Manager
  • Engineering Lead
  • Team Lead
  • Crazy customized names that I’m not going into

If that’s not confusing already, wait for the small detail that in some companies an Engineering Lead or Team Lead gets promoted to an Engineering Manager that then manages groups of Engineering Leads.

Now you might ask, but, wasn’t Engineering Manager already on the initial list? Yes. That what creates a lot of confusion. So….

After researching a bit I can see that FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) uses the Engineering Manager as its preferential naming and for the sake of standardization I will do the same.

From here on out, I will call Engineering Manager to the Manager responsible for leading one or more teams of Individual Contributors.

It might not be the correct solution but it’s a way for me to standardize terms and easier to read after a while.


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Title Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

See you next time! Parada

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