That’s a somewhat common requirement for larger technical organizations, some startups, and businesses employing 40–150 people.
There are different reasons why it may be a good idea.
From a purely practical standpoint, the 50–50 option means that you hire a single employee for two “different” positions. When running a small company (or a startup), that’s often the only way you can become competitive or grow further.
It also means less people involved in meetings, faster turnaround, and even a greater chance to close a deal or deliver a solution with less back and forth or miscommunication.
Technical managers leading technical teams are often a better pick. Leading a tech team as a non-programmer may be challenging. Discussing project challenges with a client is complex. Assessing risks and areas that would require more time and resources isn’t trivial.
Generally, it’s a great combo that’s quite valuable.
A team leading role
The management half may be invested in a senior role for a team leader. The team leader may still spend the majority of the time programming but also work closely with the team.
Assigning requirements, conducting code reviews, motivating the team require communication and soft skills that are taught at management classes and university specialties. A great engineer is not always the best team leader for a project. A less experienced programmer may be an outstanding team leader given the right attitude and with the optimal processes in place.
Developers can pick a different career path as they gain experience. Some may evolve in software architects or technical consultants. They may switch to another technology, or dive deep into DevOps.
Some may branch out to different areas – such as marketing or management. Making a smooth transition to an entirely unfamiliar role is often not feasible and won’t work. A role that combines technical skills with ongoing training and support in management may be a good way to open a new role and let your talent spend a year or two before they decide whether they enjoy the hybrid role, want to revert to tech, or fully transition to management.