A friend of mine told me an interesting story the other night.
My friend—I'll call him Tom—works for a local bioscience company. Tom started out in the lab. Because the service the company offers is customized to every client's exact need, the sales staff usually needs input from the technical staff to close a deal. In the company's infancy, Tom was the star of the lab; he became the go-to technician for sales consultations.
In recent years, the lab has grown. There are enough lab technicians that the company needs a full-time resource to assist the sales team, set up new accounts, and oversee lab operations. The choice was obvious. Tom was promoted.
What struck me about his story was how similar it is to the promotion narrative in the software industry. Tom's story has a happy ending. He's come to enjoy working with clients, and he discovered, a bit to his surprise, that he's good at managing other lab technicians. But things could have turned out differently.