What a Tech Lead does and how to become one

Ted Scott
Ted Scott
17 January 2024
7 min

Each development team includes a technical leader or tech lead, who is responsible for the quality of technical work on the project. He knows what technologies to use and how to apply them correctly to achieve the desired result.

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This role is usually assigned to the most experienced member of the team. He has expert knowledge in development and technical expertise, can think big and strategically, and is not afraid to take responsibility for the technical work of the team. This is an intelligent, educated person with an engineering background who has achieved informal leadership in the team due to his initiative and extensive experience in development, helping to make competent and rational decisions on the project.

What does a tech lead do on a team

What does a tech-lead do

The activity of this performer largely depends on the specifics of the company, the complexity of the project and the nature of the tasks to be performed within it. The technical manager or techlead raises the level of technical excellence of the team, creates suitable conditions for the introduction of new technologies and integrates them into work processes.

A technical lead in IT is a specialist responsible for code quality, building architecture, developing manuals on how code should be written. This role can be formal or nominal, depending on the team or project. In classic Scrum, it is not emphasized. But in most large teams that function according to Scrum methodology, the tech lead performs many useful and important tasks for the project. The main one: providing the team with all the necessary technical means for successful project realization.

Regardless of the scope of work, the duties of a tech lead also include:

  • Selecting technologies for specific tasks or projects. Compiling a list of software, programs and equipment needed by team members for productive work with regular monitoring and updating of information.
  • Direct responsibility for implementing new solutions in the development, testing of software products.
  • Build processes including CI/CD, code review, implementation, engineering technology development.
  • Prevention of risks arising from technical imperfections in the product.
  • Planning, strategizing the functional development of the product.
  • Training and development of engineering skills of team members.
  • Solving technically complex problems that cannot be handled by other team members.

Since a technical leader is not an official position, but a role in the team, it is usually assumed by the most proactive and experienced employee. In software development, programmers become technical leaders, while in the QA area these functions are assigned to testers. Most of the time they are engaged in general tasks, switching to separate tasks when necessary.

Techlead focuses not only on the technical solution itself. He helps the team to make the right and appropriate decisions that are correct from a technological point of view. “Not to create a software product on your own, but to help the team do the job with less time and resources, without bugs and errors.” A good technical leader increases the productivity and efficiency of the team. The speed of development and testing increases, the software product contains fewer bugs and errors, so it needs less revision.

If no one on the team takes responsibility for the quality of the code and the final product, it is unlikely that it will be viable in the market. This threatens the business with downtime, loss of client data and other problems. Conversely, a competent, technically sound solution can save millions.

How is a TechLead different from a TeamLead?

What is the difference between a techlead and a teamlead

Technical leaders are often confused with team leaders. But these roles on a project have a significant difference. Techleaders deal with technological developments and processes. Teamleaders are managers who manage the activities of developers, building communication between all project participants. Sometimes these two roles are performed by one person, combining the duties of a team leader and its technical manager. But there is one caveat: while a competent teamleader can become a good technical leader, a specialist in technology and technical processes does not always manage people effectively.

Each company has its own unique experience and its own idea of what each performer does within a project or team. Let’s look at the division of responsibilities of a tech lead and a team lead in more detail using the example of a development team:

  1. The project manager approves the list of tasks for the project and passes them to the teamleader.
  2. The teamleader clarifies the details of the task, checks the correctness and accuracy of the requirements, and completes its description. Then the task is sent to the technical lead.
  3. The technical supervisor checks the accuracy of the task and, if necessary, breaks it down step by step. Identifies performers and assigns tasks to them.
  4. When the development is completed, the task is returned to the technical lead for code-review. He accepts it or sends it to the executor for revision with a corresponding comment.

That is, in this project, the tech lead is responsible for the technical quality of the product, and the team lead is responsible for meeting deadlines and budgets. The obvious advantages of this profession are the opportunity for professional and personal growth, and decent financial remuneration. But a team leader also bears high responsibility. He guarantees the quality of work processes in the team. Any technical error can lead to failures in the work. Therefore, he must constantly learn, develop and update his knowledge, master new technological processes.

Essential qualities and skills

We’ve already talked about the greater importance of “hard professional skills” or Hard-skills for a technical leader:

  • He should be fluent in development languages and have sufficient programming experience.
  • Have an understanding of project architecture, principles, tools and patterns of its construction.
  • Possess the ability to scale systems and be able to organize architectural reviews.
  • Understand testing processes and tools including optimization, metrics and monitoring.
  • Have experience in incident management.

The following qualities will be needed for successful task management for a techlead applicant:

  • Developed communication skills to communicate with candidates to the team.
  • Ability to set realistic goals.
  • Strategic thinking, ability to envision results.
  • Empathy towards others, a sense of empathy for others, the ability to listen and hear others.
  • Ability to clearly communicate goals and objectives to the team.
  • Leadership, the ability to persuade and lead people.
  • Developed erudition, knowledge in different fields.
  • A keen interest in technical innovations and trends in their field.

The Tech Lead does not have to be directly involved in the development. But he plays the role of a mentor in the team, a “play coach” to whom each participant can turn for help and support. If a Tech Lead refuses to do “manual work”, he loses credibility in the eyes of his group and degrades as a specialist. While teaching others, he must learn himself. To show by personal example which technologies and practices are better to choose in each specific case.

The technical leader should be familiar with project management tools and tools, work with code versions, CI/CD and DevOps tools. Create scripts and own code development.

A Techlead is not a silent performer. He shows initiative and offers new technical solutions to the team and the company. Self-discipline and self-organization are important for this specialist. At least showing initiative and activity, it is impossible to achieve positive results without proper distribution of one’s resources.

Does a team always need a tech lead

The need to assign the role of technical lead is dictated by the specifics of the team’s activities and the nature of its tasks. A specialist of this level is required for large-scale projects involving the creation of complex technical products.

Working in development without those leads will sooner or later lead to a decline in business processes. Even if the team works smoothly and in an organized manner, its members will not have time to keep up with new technologies and methods of working on projects. A technical leader will quickly react to changes and help his team to keep up with the times.

A Techlead is essential when launching a new product. He describes the technological characteristics, customizes the main parameters, monitors risks, is responsible for bugs, and commits to delivering a technically perfect product that will fully satisfy the customer. This is why large companies may have several technical leaders. The main thing is that they should effectively interact with each other, share personal experience and find mutual understanding among themselves to move the company towards success.

Team management with LeaderTask


Currently, there are quite a few automated systems and services for effective team management within a project. One of such tools is a functional and modern team management program LeaderTask. Thanks to the flexible settings of the service, you can quickly distribute tasks between performers. Monitor the quality and deadlines of tasks. Set reminders about upcoming events or deadlines. Communicate with other team members in chat.

The application has a built-in role assignment system that allows you to manage any team competently. Each team member works with tasks from their area of responsibility, focusing on important and prioritized tasks. You can track project tasks on a calendar or use a kanban board to visualize workflows. Create projects, team up with others for teamwork. Share ideas and store all important files and project information in one secure place, not tied to a digital device.

In the application you can monitor the performance of each employee on a detailed graph. You can work with the program in the office or remotely, including without an internet connection.


A Techlead is the most experienced, erudite, and proactive software engineer on the team. Any developer who is interested in technologies and ready to dive in and understand them can apply for this role. He should competently manage his knowledge and interact with the team, acting as a “mentor”, “mentor”, ready to help in solving the most complicated and incomprehensible tasks.

More and more serious IT companies are interested in attracting competent technical leaders. For this role, they offer impressive financial rewards, sometimes several times the salary of an ordinary developer. Usually, ambitious developers with 6 to 10 years of experience become technical leaders.

If you are ready to master this specialty, be ready to always learn and develop, develop your self-organization and planning skills, use modern tools for working with projects, learn to think strategically and systematically. Find the courage to take responsibility for implementing new solutions and team actions. And be sure to “tighten up” your education. A Techlead can benefit from expert knowledge in math, physics, computer science and other exact disciplines.

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