If you ask aspiring software developers about their dream job, there’s a good chance they will name one of the tech darlings, brands like Google, Facebook and Apple. The general consensus is that they want to be part of a company that dominates its field.
I see some of the appeal – a stable job in a successful company that provides awesome perks like nap pods, indoor basketball courts, free lunches, not to mention the prestige of telling people where you work. Maybe it’s because I support the hiring needs of startups, but I’ve grown to be much less impressed by size of a company and consequently, how it assigns work to its junior employees. Bigger is simply not better.
I’ve always been attracted to startups and the opportunities for a fluid job description and constant learning. From an engineering standpoint, an early stage company is the opportunity to work on a project from conception to completion – taking an idea and transforming it into software that impacts its users. You’re exposed to everything from testing, repositories, code audits, frameworks, design principles and the joy of impacting lives. You aren’t pigeonholed as a small piece that completes the puzzle.
Full disclosure: I’m not a software developer. But, I do have many friends who code for a living and have worked for big name companies. They tell me that landing the job is far more rewarding than the job itself. In other words, it doesn’t live up to the hype once the lights go down and the real work begins.
A lot of good developers think they need a big name on their resume in order to validate their coding skills. The reality is that startups are working on some really intriguing projects.
“But startups don’t have their own campuses!”
No, they don’t. Instead of creating a pretty picture, startups put their money into their product, first and foremost. That’s not to say they don’t have an equally attractive office culture. In fact, I’m working with several startups that I’d choose over Google – any day. As I spend more time recruiting with them and getting to know their pitch, product, and culture, it’s a no-brainer to me.
Young companies can’t afford to put on a show, but they recognize talent as their biggest asset and their appreciation is no secret. Lunch-time poker games, dragon boat racing, and Crossfit workouts help these teams balance work and fun. And guess what? They are more productive and loyal to the cause.
Startups are filled with brilliant people and entrepreneurs that yearn for change and innovation. If you’re starting your career and your first instinct says Facebook, I’d encourage you to meet with local start-ups, as well. They may seem scary from the outside – but the actual risk is worth the reward. You will be challenged, you will learn, and you will make significant contributions that enhance how the world lives, works and plays. You just have to choose a problem that you’re passionate about, find a startup that’s addressing it, and get started.
If you’re intrigued about startup culture and want to learn about some of Toronto’s coolest tech shops, get in touch. I’m happy to help you find your dream team and job!