what is a technical lead?

A technical lead is the professional in charge of leading a development team. Your job is to supervise groups of software developers or engineers. Sometimes, the job includes software engineer management and design. Expect to work in various industries like technology, healthcare, media, insurance and retail.

As a technical lead, you require many years of professional experience in technology and software development. Being personable, capable of leading a team and collaborating with other professionals are also important qualities.

technical lead tasks

While the roles vary from industry to industry, the job entails supervising technical staff, delegating work and hiring and training employees. You create a vision and guide team members to actualise it. Technical leads regularly evaluate their team's progress and make changes to streamline processes. For instance, you develop risk mitigation processes and conduct security audits to identify application weaknesses.

You are also responsible for checking and updating applications within an organisation and supervising system modifications. You create reports and presentations concerning new technology that would benefit the company.

Would working as a technical lead suit your technological skills? Then read on to discover the competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a technical lead role.

technical lead jobs

average technical lead salary

According to ONS, the average salary of a technical lead is £60,021 per year. Entry-level roles start at £48,548 annually, while experienced technical leads take home an £80,000 salary a year.

A salary increase is generally tied to your experience level. Technical leads with over five years of experience earn higher salaries and receive additional benefits.

Your location impacts the amount you earn as a technical lead. Working in a city like London typically correlates to a higher compensation package due to the higher cost of living. The demand for technical leads in larger towns also improves salary prospects.

The company size may also influence your earnings. Small and medium-sized businesses offer lower salaries than multinationals due to the difference in resources. Small start-ups have limited resources and cannot afford to pay higher salaries. Large companies require a higher level of expertise due to the complexity of the roles, so they pay more and provide numerous benefits.

Close up - Smiling male looking away.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.

types of technical leads

Most technical leads work in the following fields:

  • software developers and architects: a software developer creates computer programs and application systems to support business and clients' needs. Lead software developers create and design software applications that support business operations. A software architect designs and executes software solutions or new programs for different technological devices in an organisation.
  • software engineers: a lead engineer oversees the progress of various functions and the performance of other engineers to ensure that everything runs smoothly. If you land a job as a lead or principal software engineer, it's similar to that of a project manager. Your job is to conduct technical leadership of a team. Your duties include diagnostics, troubleshooting systems to identify problems, and implementing strategies to boost efficiency in the organisation's projects.

working as a technical lead

If a technical lead career interests you, it's good to understand the duties, working conditions, schedule and job outlook. Read on to learn more.


education and skills

To become a technical lead, you require the following educational qualifications and work experience:

  • undergraduate degree: a technical lead requires specialised software development and technical knowledge. Computer engineering, computer science and software development courses equip you with the right expertise for the role. Some complete the degree courses and proceed to master's or gain additional certifications to improve their skills.
  • work experience: when you complete your degree, join an internship or graduate trainee programme to become part of the technical team. Most technical leads are software engineers and computer scientists with extensive work experience.

technical lead skills and competencies

If you're interested in becoming a technical lead, the following traits will help you excel:

  • excellent communication skills: technical leads communicate project requirements to their teams and the management. It is vital to simplify complex processes into more understandable instructions. The role also requires good writing skills to ensure that your team members clearly understand the expectations and responsibilities.
  • strong technical abilities: as a technical lead, you should know how to work with websites, apps, systems and security principles. You should also learn more about software development and how to troubleshoot and fix technical issues.
  • excellent management and leadership skills: you require outstanding management skills to accomplish projects within the set deadlines. Remember that your team depends on you to provide direction and keep everything under control, even in the most stressful situations.
  • ability to multitask: the company expects you to oversee various projects simultaneously and still meet deadlines and ensure quality. Excellent organisation and time-management abilities help you multitask and effectively manage the workload.
man smiling
man smiling


FAQs about working as a technical lead

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