Picture the scene: you’ve been working in the tech sector for a couple of years or so already, and a couple of enticing job offers have recently landed on your table.
One is from an established, high-profile tech brand, while the other is from an exciting startup that has recently got off the ground – and now you must choose which you should go for.
For some, the decision to accept the big corporate job may be an easy one, given the prestige and appealing salary often associated with such a position, but is this necessarily the smartest choice to make in terms of your skills and career development?
There are in fact a number of key reasons why taking the next steps in your career with a tech startup could be far more beneficial in the longer term than accepting a role with a large-scale enterprise.
Greater visibility and responsibility
It is likely that someone who spends their early career exclusively with a large corporate organisation would be ascribed very little visibility, responsibility and, more importantly, a greater awareness of how a business operates.
This is because high-profile brands in the tech sector often have hundreds – if not thousands – of employees and complex hierarchies, meaning you may be starting your career on one of the lowest rungs of a very tall ladder.
In this sense, it can be especially difficult to have a meaningful impact that enables you to stand out from the vast crowd of co-workers with whom you must compete to catch the attention of your superiors.
With startups, on the other hand, businesses generally consist of much smaller teams – often fewer than 10 members of staff – which actually gives new entrants to the tech industry considerably more scope to make their mark on the company.
Instead of being just another number in a large corporation’s legion of workers, employees can truly feel that they have a voice within a small company, with which they can bring about positive changes and play an instrumental role in the development of the business.
Not only can supporting the growth of a tech startup be an incredibly rewarding experience – and one that is bound to impress potential future employers – but you are also more likely to be recognised for your contributions and move up the ladder faster as a result.
By taking on a larger range of responsibilities and playing a more integral part in the business, employees can further develop their tech skills and expertise in ways that their fellow industry juniors, who have taken up positions with bigger, more established firms, may not have open to them from such an early and important stage of their careers.
Working closely with senior management
As an employee within a large tech corporation, it may be unlikely that you will ever meet the CEO and other senior managers of the company, let alone get the opportunity to work closely alongside them.
In a startup, however, it is probable that even the most junior staff members will come into regular contact with the organisation’s senior figures, including its founders, given the smaller structure of the team.
Working closely with and learning from a founder can be invaluable for those who have recently entered the sector, given that it is otherwise rare to gain a holistic view of how an organisation is built and the daily problems and solutions involved with scaling up, which provide a unique perspective to draw insight from.
By observing how senior managers navigate complex issues, to how they interact with clients and ensure employees feel motivated and engaged with their work, new employees can gain a unique insight into what it means to run a business, and perhaps feel inspired to launch an enterprise of their own one day.
With 42% of the UK workforce aspiring to set up their own companies, according to a recent survey by Intuit QuickBooks, there is no better way for workers to discover how they can go about doing this than by getting to know and learning from those who have already achieved success in doing so.
Shaping the future of the UK’s tech sector
While it is understandable why some who have only been working in the tech sector for a short time aspire to work for its biggest and most prestigious brands, it is important to consider the benefits that working for a startup could bring.
While these benefits may not immediately seem as tangible as those associated with working for a larger enterprise, that is not to say that they are in any way less valuable – and in fact may prove to be more beneficial for long-term skills and career development.
Startups are, and always will be, the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, and working for a small tech company and supporting its growth could be an experience that helps to shape and inspire the CEOs and industry pioneers of the future.