It’s common for students or graduates to start working and begin their careers from an early stage. While some prefer only summer internships, some work part time or the other just wait to graduate in order to focus on their studies, the company they chose to work for can have a big impact on their future careers. Some junior positions have better long term values while other may not be so important on the long run.
As a recent graduate who’s both interned at Google and Amazon, and worked part time at a startup, I’m going to tell you why I think it’s better to settle for a small startup at the beginning of your career.
This is crucial. In the end, these are all the tools you are going to use to solve different problems. As any problem can be solved in so many ways, using different tools, some can be very performant, while others are very old and stinky. I think this is the first thing you should consider when joining a company. In the dynamic market of IT where people are constantly changing jobs, you should ask yourself questions like ‘Is this technology going to survive in 5-10 years?’. Will this technology give me an advantage when moving to another company? How big is the community around this specific technology? Roughly speaking, old and big companies use old technologies. This is obvious since they started with a technology and they have legacy code that would take too much time to rewrite. While starting new projects, every technology company choose their tools wisely, do you really think a company will use a technology that their employees are not familiar with? Think of chicken and egg problem. StartUps usually tend to stick with the hottest technology stacks. While this can give you an advantage, make sure you do your research and make sure the technology will survive in the long term.
This is simple. Think about the impact as being inversely proportional to the number of team members. Note: not to be confused with the total number of employees.
Under the assumption that you are a recent graduate or student, you don’t react have much experience. Even if you do, the chances are that a small company is going to pay you more than your market price (the average price that a company is willing to pay you given your skills). The reason behind this is quite simple. A small company can be gone tomorrow, so they will try to give you more money in order to make up for the job security they cannot guarantee. Keep in mind that a small company sometimes have more strict deadline imposed by the investors or the executives. And since you are new to this field, make sure you understand that you stay longer at the office. That’s the second reasons a startup can give you more money. Some of them can even give you equity. While in the beginning they don’t mean much, on the long run there is still a chance to skyrocket.
This is simple: the smaller the company, the bigger the stress. Think about it: if you are the only one in the company, you are in charge of all the things that can go wrong. If there are two of you, the reasonability splits, and so on. While the responsibility for each employees is not equal, chances are the less employees a company have, the more areas you need to be in charge of.
This include: vacation days, food, snacks, drinks, health, dental and vision care and / or the alike. From.my experience, early stage startups offer a very limited set of these. But if you join a startup at their growth rate, you may be surprised if what perks can give them. Check out Airbnb’s office for example. It’s pretty cool.
This is the last one I want to focus on. Chances are that if you are working at a startup, it is going to fail. It’s nothing personal, just statistics. If the startup is going to succeed, you will be very happy. If not, you still have valuable experience that every copmany is looking for.
In conclusion, I’d say it is usually better to work for a startup in the beginning of your career, as you will grow much faster compared to working at a big company.
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