Working for a startup is attractive and fun. Most of the times you will get a nice looking office, latest equipment and you will probably work with modern tools. Colleagues are usually open minded young, smart, every hour you will hear a really good or bad joke (both of them will make you laugh) and you will think that you probably found the best job for the current time. But that is just the tip of the iceberg and after some time you will understand the million things that can go wrong. I will try to throw some opinions about the positives and negatives when working for tech startups and also some weird things that you will encounter.
- You will learn a lot – Startups tend to give a lot of responsibilities to their employees. You will do things that you thought you could not do them alone when you were freelancer or unemployed. You will have a close relationship with the founders and other smart people in the company and that relationship alone can raise your expertise not only for a certain skill but you will be able to understand “how things work”. Another good thing that startups do is they implement all the new best practices at their code. They use modern frameworks that will do you life easier and you don’t need to maintain legacy code that you would have to do if you were working in a big company.
- Self satisfaction – Employees share in the birth, growth, and success of the company. That’s why it’s an attractive career path for this generation. They want to belong to something special. When the company does well, they can be proud of their contributions. Getting feedback from users saying that your software helped them in their lives is sometimes so important that you forget other problems about your personal life.
- Job security – An annual meeting occurs, the investors are not happy with how things are going, they stop founding and BOOM in an instant you start browsing Linkedin for jobs. Although tech startups do not fade so easy or fast (most of the times you get the feeling that something does not feel right or the marketing campaign shows you that the company goes astray) there are a lot of examples that have shown us that a lot of startups fail in their first three years.
- Average salary – Investors do not give big salaries when an idea is born or you get your first happy customers. Most of the times salaries at startups are low especially at the beginning (it’s not rare that sometimes instead of salary you get a percentage of the company’s income which is zero at first).
- Heavy workload – There are so many things to do that you will almost never be at a position to say “Ok, since we implemented that crucial functionality we can relax a little”. In tech business things change rapidly. Competition is fierce and most of the times other companies will be one step ahead. You write code for a feature that is going to be completely removed on the next three months or it is going to be the next big thing for the company and you have to refactor is so much that is actually better to code it again from the beginning.
The weird things
Someone has an idea to solve a problem and that is how a startup is born. But that “someone” is not alone responsible for how the company will operate. The company needs funding and that’s where investors come in. Sometimes this partnership goes well and everyone is at the same page but sometimes does not. Even though the employees do have a saying and their opinion is getting taken under consideration, the investors are the ones that move the company. A lot of times you will ask yourself why are we building that functionality that is so old fashioned and not innovative. The investors give money to the company and they expect to get more money back. They see an opportunity to acquire more customers they just take it. Yes sometimes they stop innovation and they become the necessary guys that you have to work with but sometimes they help you see the big picture more clearly.