Part of the answer is they grow into a COO. Like Chief Operating Officer or another role that reports to the COO. The other part is that a Software Support person touches every part of the organization. Sales, Operations, Engineering. And so it is possible for a support person to grow into any of those fields that they are passionate/inclined/skilled at. So they could end up as a CEO-type, COO-type or CTO-type.
But the reason that the likely role for a Software Support
Engineer is most likely to end up as COO role, is if one sticks to
the core responsibilities of a Software Support Engineer (for example
triaging customer issues, Solving customer issues, using/testing
software, promoting software, and many others), then one will be
doing jobs that are considered operations. I mentioned in a previous
Ramblings on Whether There Will Ever be a Standard Job Title for a Software Support Engineer, that in the Support industry a
Support Person is sometimes viewed as an infantry. Indeed, there are
parallels between Military/Police/Government-Executive-Branch-Type
roles and Software Support. So if a Software Support Engineer excels
at these, then they could naturally move towards a position of an
For example in the Support Driven podcast episode. 04, at 14min.,55sec. someone mentions that the support manager’s boss is the COO.
To conclude, because of the breadth of the software business that they touch, a Software Support Engineer role can grow into many career roles in Sales, Engineering or other, but more specifically, an appropriate role for a Software Support Engineer to grow into is COO or a role that reports to COO.
*2014-12-05 edit: previously published at http://w̶i̶e̶l̶d̶l̶i̶n̶u̶x̶.̶c̶o̶m̶/?p=881
*2015-07-30 edit: edited whitespace to improve this post’s readability and also fixed a broken hyperlink[2020 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2014/... .html.]