Management is not a promotion. Many folks move into management ladders at some for increased leadership opportunities, and some many of them come back to individual contributor (IC) roles after. And then back again. Many folks do well at both, but not at the same time. It is a Pendulum. Both coding and people need continuous, intense and conscious focus and attention. Is the only way to land cool features and to grow a strong team. Being manager teaches you the business, being IC teaches you the possibilities of the tech. Being at the intersection makes you invaluable. When you move to one side, your skills on the other begin to deteriorate, what to do? If you move to manage, are you going to be "marked forever" as manager? What is management in tech anyway? Wait. Are you saying I can go back to write code? I've been there. I joined Google as an IC, and then led teams in both technical lead and manager roles for five years in a team of 70+. I'm an IC again. I'd like to share you my experience: all the things I failed at (and oh boy are they many and big!), but all the value I gained on the way. What is the process to onramp and offramp and what are the pitfalls on the way.