Every startup CTO begins by shouldering all of these responsibilities for some period of time. To find time on his fully packed calendar I would take “virtual” smoking breaks with him and review product development status, engineering updates, and any other issues facing the development team. In fact, at Demac, we currently have two people on the director of engineering seat, as we divided up the core engineering team, which works with our e-commerce platforms and the ancillary engineering teams that work on infrastructure, integration and QA. What Does a Director of Engineering Do? VPEs are often great people managers, solid engineers and … I am currently the director of engineering at Demac Media. Is not unusual to have multiple directors of engineering. You may opt-out by. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. A VP Engineering is ideally a great manager and a great team builder. Remember that titles do not matter -- roles and responsibilities do. Finally, the CTO role is also a public-facing one, which means he or she is responsible for promoting the company from a technical standpoint, from talking at conferences to representing the engineering team when dealing with potential investors. A VP of Engineering… owns the Engineering Vision, practices, and processes. They are typically an extension of the VPE seat and report directly to them. With all that in context, let’s go ahead and talk about the three roles from top to bottom. They are in charge of managing subsets of the engineering staff and helping the VPE with the execution and technical leadership of the company. Let me start with a real life example from engineering manager perspective,however it is just one aspect.. Their job description entails ensuring that all engineering projects, initiatives, and processes are in conformity with the organization's established policies and objectives. The difference between the VPE and the CTO can be described in a single word: execution. Traditionally, the following makes up the VPE's core responsibilities: The VPE is also responsible for managing the budget of the engineering department and should be the lead recruiter when it comes to looking at engineering candidates. One key topic that came up almost during every single meeting involved the CTO, VP and director of engineering and how much confusion there is between each one of their roles and responsibilities. We mentioned that one of the core responsibilities of the VPE is people management. A Comparison: VP of Engineering vs. CTO. I like to describe this role as “The Hacker in Chief.” He or she is the leading architect, thinker, researcher, tester and tinkerer. Keep that in mind when deciding when each role makes sense for your company. Defining the VP of Engineering. As of late, I have been meeting with startup founders at several stages to share a cup of coffee and some advice. A vice president of engineering oversees a company's entire engineering department. CTOs love technology and often keep their hands dirty by doing advanced development or running a skunkworks team inside the company. VP Of Engineering. But, early in my product management career, my engineering management counterpart was. VP & Head of India Engineering, at ThoughtSpot Bengaluru Area, India 500+ connections. Typically a VP is a manager of managers and directors; sometimes he or she is a manager of VPs. Director of Engineering at Demac Media, leading the engineering team and responsible for its continued growth and education. The difference between the VPE and the CTO can be described in a single word: execution. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Scene - Year 2012, an indian office of a telecom multinational, myself as an engineering manager. My journey to this position started back in 2010 when I began working as a freelancer for the company, helping it deliver its first Magento project. VP of Engineering (Vice President of Engineering) The Vice President of Engineering is a senior executive role with a broad range of responsibilities. Before I jump into explaining directly the set of responsibilities of each role, I think it is essential to set the context of my current position and the road that took me there. must have sound architectural understanding of the product and how it fits with other technologies/products (competing, complementary, and supporting). I am not a smoker. In smaller organizations, a VP of Engineering might perform hands-on coding activities. A VP Engineering is ideally a great manager and a great team builder. Stanford University. may actually own the Product Architecture and actively participate in its inception and development. Currently, while I do hold the title of director of engineering, my responsibilities are much closer to what I described as that of a VP of engineering. VP of engineering and CTO are both management-level positions that address a company’s specific needs. Anything larger than that represents a significant drop in effectiveness. So, while he got his cigarette break, I got a little fresh air (standing … Now, while we just went over three different roles, that does not mean you need to hire three individual people -- at least not from the get-go. Opinions expressed are those of the author. The article will disclose to you the top interview questions you must ask your candidates in order to see through his personality and finally discover if he is worthy enough to become the next VP of engineering of your company. • Members of the engineering team are feeling left out regarding direction, career path development and so on. A director of engineering plans and directs all aspects of engineering activities and projects within an organization. Report this profile About I'm a lifelong student obsessed with learning; and an engineer who loves dreaming of, and building products. In late 2015, we started growing our team at a significant rate and went from being a small agency with 20-plus people to at our peak of near 100. It was at this point that I decided to step in and ask for the role of director of engineering to help manage the load and responsibilities. Directors of engineering oversee engineering teams and report to the vice president. He or she will be an excellent recruiter, a great communicator, and a great issue resolver. As the company grew in size and the engineering team nearly doubled in size, it started to become clear that a team that size -- over 40 engineers -- was putting a significant strain on the ability of the CTO to manage. However, there can be a significant constraint when it comes to this task -- and that is managing teams of up to ten (ideally six) people. Typically, the CTO will be one of the company co-founders. The difference between the VPE and the CTO can be described in a single word: execution.
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