Computer Science degree. Started as an intern and worked my way up to principal developer before moving to a management role. Spent several years as a manager, Sr. manager, Director and now Sr. director.
Currently directly managing 2 development teams and a big data team. Also doing release management and SDLC. Every day is a new challenge - something new to learn or do. We are a small growing company, so duties aren't what this position would be at a large company - everyone does what ever is needed. Some days I'm doing reporting and data investigations and other days I'm managing production fires.
Still being very technical. Working directly with engineers is always interesting and fun.
Lunch stipend, good benefits, smart teams, interesting problems
At this level, this position can get very political. In larger companies, you generally would be at least one level away from interacting with engineers.
Any software development career has a good earning potential. Tends to be higher at the beginning for people with the traditional technical degree than people who have gone through a bootcamp.
Work hard - always be willing to take on new challenges or do the things no-one else wants to do. Never stop learning - whether it's Udemy or college - always be willing to increase your knowledge.
Totally dependent on company. Women still have the same issues, although they are much less visible the higher you get in the food chain.