I think a few people I know said they deliberately avoided hands-off roles. Avichal, Nitin of Morgan Stanley, .. If I ever become a manager, I feel 100% sure I would adopt the same career strategy.
(How about German Cheung?)
In the US and in Singapore, I stayed away from hands-off manager or client-facing architect/pre-sales positions. One of the top 3 justifications is to stay fit. Hands-on roles keep me fit to the job market.
In 80 to 90% of the financial IT job interviews I attended, there’s a non-trivial technical screening, usually a coding test. However, I am an biased statistician or there’s no science here — nothing but personal observations.
Backgrounder — (See also https://bintanvictor.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/long-term-system-expertcontractor/) I did hope to stay in a job for a few years and grow into a system expert. In a few places, it turned out that in one team (say up to 10 people), there are multiple system experts each with many years of experience in the local system. Even if you have 3 years experience in this local system, you may not be appointed the team lead. The chance is 50/50 … could be 30% or 70%. So do you want to remain here for 3 more years and hope for a leadership role?
When I couldn’t rise up in the team, I always decide to move “out” of the comfort zone into the “cold” — every job interview has a technical screening. I soon came to the conclusion that to stay relevant and marketable, I must maintain portable (non-local) tech skills. Many techies at my age wouldn’t choose this route partly because only a minority of techies can stay fit after 45.
Well, I see myself in that (lucky) minority. I don’t mean to say I’m as fit as at 30, but I am fit enough to pass the tech screening.