An introduction to the boot environment and an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of working on an environment from a software engineer’s perspective.
A startup is a business in the start-up phase. They normally expect a high growth rate fueled by several rounds of investment from a pre-seed up to Series C and beyond in some cases. They are characterized by their innovation and high failure rate estimated at 90%.
Working in a startup will feel very different from work in a big company. You will be more generalist than specialist (at least in the early stages). There will be a lot less bureaucracy. Something that would take months to support in a large company can be a matter of days in a startup because you can easily talk directly to the people responsible to get things done.
Following responsibility, opportunities to learn new tools and technologiesand flexible hours are other advantages.
Things will go quickly. In a year, the product can change drastically or the team can double in size. It’s an unpredictable environment with exciting things happening all the time.
Of course, it’s not all rosy – you may need to work more hours sporadically or the start-up may fail and you will lose any compensation in the form of equity. Also associated with responsibility comes more stress.
Some may also dislike the lack of structure and instability, but those are debatable. In terms of structure and process, you can help build it from scratch. In terms of instability, the market for software engineers in 2022 is booming with strong professionals receiving multiple interview requests each week in work-related networks like LinkedIn. So even if the business fails for some reason, you probably won’t stay unemployed for long.
My first hand experience is that it will be as rewarding as it is stimulating. I had less than a year of work experience and had to figure out things like how to do technical interviews or how to build a CI/CD pipeline from scratch. It’s fast and you learn like you won’t anywhere else. The downside is that you’ll get less advice from more experienced people – you’ll learn more by doing your own research and carefully planning your attempts than by doing anything else.
If you plan on having someone tell you everything you need to do, working at a startup isn’t for you. You are expected to be proactive. Bring a new angle to the discussion and learn about the issues your company’s product is facing at every stage. You’re not here to be just one more, you’re here to be innovative and impactful.
Some of the factors you can look at when evaluating startups are:
- Their product and how it fits the market
- Current Market Valuation and Funding
- Years since its inception
- Number of employees
- Profits and income
- Percentage of people by department: technology, legal, marketing, sales, etc.
All of these elements together will give you a perspective of the phase the startup is in and its growth. Try to understand how these factors have changed over the past few years to make a decision before embarking on a new adventure.
As in any other business, some are better than others. To make a good decision, you’ll need to make sure you interview the company as much as they interview you. In addition, make sure you get paid market value. It can be base salary or equity and additional benefits.
As always, it depends! Are you a driven person who enjoys learning and investing in your professional growth? Do you like to have a precise idea of the impact of your work on a product and its customers? Are you ready to put in the work and have the responsibility to grow with the startup?
If the answers are yes, well, then maybe you should give it a try and see how you feel. For me, the pros outweigh the cons.. I would like to know what you think about it.