Monday, November 11, 2019

Startup vs Corporate - 10 gold questions

I personally never worked for big tech corporations, but i heard the stories.

Almost every junior developer who finished studies or about to and have the passion to work as a developer want to be at the forefront of innovation. startups are in the front of the media and news geek sites, telling the success stories. But you should always understand where you are going to and what is better for you.

10 gold questions you need to ask yourself, will help you decide what's better for you.
You may find yourself giving different answers at different times in your life.

[writer's advice: read it alone (others may change your answers) and be real with yourself]

1. Do you cherish Life-Work Balance?

For some, it's important to have balance between work and life (they "have life"),  8-to-16 or 10-to-18 it's legitimate and nothing wrong with that. They want to be able to go to the gym or spend time with their friends and family on daily basis or just go to the beach during summer.

2. Can you handle frequent changes?

Startup have changes on daily basis.

Tasks - you can jump between 4 tasks in one day without finish one of them in order to help with some "really important" questions or problems in production.

Projects - constantly changed. You are asked to start reading a requirements (if there are at all) or starting a new project in your Intellij with perfect banner that you just finished design, before you know it the people sitting behind you are already talking about the next project.

Atmosphere - You can find yourself sitting next to 4 different people in one year - because people come and go or you just changed your sits.

Teams - A new fresh developer who start to work for the company become a team leader in one year. New team with a new title will suddenly pop up with new team members.

All the above could change in a big company usually in a larger time span.

3. Do you prefer creation or maintenance? 

To some, creation and building something gives them a lot of satisfaction when it's done and it feels great - gives a lot of motivation to continue and create, adding passion to the work, makes their work meaningful.

For others, maintenance tasks keep coming and coming and never ends. Like Sisyphus that was derived to rolling a huge rock up a mountain. Almost before Sisyphus reached the top, the rock rolls back down and requires Sisyphus to repeat the action. Sisyphus was forever doomed to a futile effort and endless despair - Take out the motivation and make the work meaningless and without purpose.

Many times in large companies there are a lot of legacy code that restrict developers and force them to limited their ideas and capabilities.
Maintenance of existing code can be stable and relaxing for some. But for others it can be really boring after few weeks.

In startups usually every thing needs to be build from scratch and there are a lot of ideas every day.

4. Do you love money, now?

Startups have no fats, they know exactly where their funds are headed. Usually they pay less, but compensate with stock options. What are the odds that your startup will succeed? do you know how much your stock options worth? probably not.

5. Do you need guidance and tools?

Startup have no order guidance to train new employee. You can find yourself in your first day, not sure exactly what to so, you do not have close personal supervision and guidance to assimilate you the best way to the company.You need to invest a lot of energy to get the information you need to get started, this can be manifested even in installing your work-space.

Startup have no tools to give you to become a good manager in the future if you would like to become one.

Big tech corporations usually have neat plan to train new employees. Also have money to invest in you for professional courses and to develop you to become better manager and better developer.

6. Do you need rapid results?

At big tech companies you can wait more than a year for your project or feature go into production environment. Unlike startup which you can see your feature works in the real world much faster, helps you to learn and measure your work.

7. Is impact important to you?

In small workplaces when everything is new, everybody knows everybody.
You know all the managers and employees of the company, sometimes they sit at a table next to you. You can approach and talk to them, you can influence their opinions, decisions and even offer your own new ideas. You can impact on the company's path.

At big tech companies, usually other departments and managers are in other rooms behind doors - creating a state of distance and inaccessibility, hard to influence one another.

8. Do you need a close manager?

Startup usually has bad managements or no managements at all usually they are fresh managers, probably this is the first time they get to manage. They will make a lot of mistakes, like knowledge transfer in a vague way, lack of tasks information, broke promises and so.
They can cause unintentional conflict between people and staff. You are less treated. there is a possibility which a kid will be your manager - he will not understand if you need to go early to help your wife / husband with the kids.

9. Do work of others are right for you?

Big tech companies have a dedicated person for each position, this is not the case for startups. If you are a software engineer, you can find yourself do a DevOps work or even a QA work.

10. Are you a team member?

Are you better in teams or you prefer to work independently?
Some, prefer to work as part of a team. Asking questions, getting answers, testing problems together, sharing information, brainstorming, everyone getting a different piece in the puzzle.
Some, love to work independently. They don't like  that someone interfere with their ideas and work, they can become very nervous if someone touching their code or even saw it.

What's better for you?

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