In my experience, deciding the roles are tradeoffs between money, power, recognition and value.
The career ladder in each organization is different. Some organizations follows the normal flow of technical stream to management stream. In my opinion, any given title to the employees must be decided with the career ambition of employee and business priorities of the organization.
On the other hand companies tends to generate roles which are not really relevent but at least for the sake of keeping people happy with promotions and grooming up for higher roles. But mostly these roles will not have any meaty work to do. For e.g. in one of the organizations I worked has Technical manager role which has nothing to do with the nature of the work they do there. It was attributed as the equal role of a project manager but project managers were the rockstars. TM role was for the people who reluctant to move to management stream or people who has no people and project management abilities. Later several people who were genuinely taken Technical Manager role has been cribbed to move to Project Management stream as they found it seldom helps the organization and career.
You can count as many number of smart people in the organization. Even if you pick up individual contributor role you can find smart people in the junior level. Also a high performance organization prefers to work with smart people and people who pushes themselves always for better performance. So going back to individual contributor role is relative. for e.g. I worked with an image processing project. I had few wickedly smart team members who knows maths to the core. They make things happen my role is to facilitate and ask right questions to them and make sure is delivered with right quality.
Asking right question is not an easy job. You should have better understanding about the business needs, business priorities, employees capabilities etc. Mostly you will have to have a wider perspective of the things being executed under you. And it's great if you have indepth knowledge in something specific area.
People used to get promoted based on Peter Priciple as well. but that rarely happens. It's to reduce the damage caused by incompetent people in the execution level.
Considering your experience, I feel it's too early to be a manager stream. But it's again depends on size and company structure. If you can define your role clearly in the management stream, then that's great. Don't measure things merely with technical terms. A right manager is something beyond technical. Also getting an undeserved role in an organization can make you incompetent and an underdog in the industry. Please put your priorities and capabilities and decide what exactly you need to have going forward in your career. Also compare how your day to day job will be relevant if you move to a new organization. All the best.