Working at EMC, I often run into highly technical people in management roles. Almost every manager I interact with could tell a story of transition from technical contributor to manager. It’s not unusual to have senior managers directly contributing to a product, and recently my senior director recently called in an individual contributor to discuss coding practices after he stumbled onto some things while reviewing the code quality dashboard.
With this in mind, I am not surprised when I walk into a manager’s office (or cube) and see a bookshelf with books about programming languages, software design, code quality, and so-on. I think it’s healthy, actually. In the role we’re expected to play, it’s important we be able to speak the same language, be able to detect poor practice from early signs, and so on.