Choose Between Service or Product Based Company

Not so often, but software engineers as well as beginners do ask this question. The scenario could be like this. They have 2 or more offers in hand. One is a product-based company and another is a service-based company.

I am providing a brief discussion of both type of companies and their characteristics.

Service Company

Examples of a service-based company are TCS, Infosys and Wipro. They fulfill software requirements for a client.

The language of these companies is that the client is the King!

client is king

Product Company

Product-based company examples are Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. They fulfill product requirements of the general consumer.

The language of these companies is that quality is the King!

quality is king
Self-Actualization

The right company is the one that satisfies the employee's self-actualization (as per Narayana Murthy). So I recommend one should examine their passion in choosing the best suited company.

For example, the following are the few categories of engineers that I observed in my career:

  1. Technology Passion Engineers
  2. Soft Skilled Engineers

Oh! There are 2 types of engineers? Yeah!

Technology Passion Engineers

These are those engineers who have a built-in passion for technology, the latest frameworks, adapting to efficient methodologies, building programs and so on. They have natural talent towards learning, growing & meeting excellence in their career. They constitute around 30% of the tribe.

I believe Product Companies best suits them.

Why? Since product companies are in the tough competitions arena to deliver quality products with increased operating efficiency, they need to allocate the best people, technology & methodologies.

Adding to my experience that I have seen the latest/best technologies & methodologies applied well in product based companies. A few examples for 2015:

  1. Visual Studio 2013
  2. C# 6.0
  3. ASP.NET MVC 5
  4. SharePoint 2013
  5. Latest web development trends
  6. TDD: Test Driven Development
  7. CI: Continuous Integration
  8. Scrum, Agile Methodologies
  9. Enterprise Architecting Principles
  10. Excellence through Certifications

So obviously the Technology Passion Engineers should get higher self-actualization here.

Did I mention it? Yeah! The Big Money too goes here.

Soft Skilled Engineers

These are the engineers who are not naturally obsessed towards technology but fulfill the minimum technical requirement & they have other soft skills to contribute well to the organization. A few of the soft skills are:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. People Management Skills
  3. Emotional Stability
  4. Empathy
  5. Positive Vibe

These kinds of people fit well with service-based companies.

Why? Service-based companies gain customers not just through technological excellence. There are other soft skills required to win the trust of a client, as well as maintaining it. This soft skill factor will flow from the top to the bottom, making the technical excellence take a back seat.

As in a service-based company the following cases would occur:

  1. Working in .Net 2.0 in year 2015.
  2. Working in a Maintenance Project up to a length 3 years.
  3. Scrambled Usage of Agile Methodologies.
  4. Soft Skilled Engineer have faster career growth than Technical Niche.
  5. Technical Niche get startled by seeing Relations talks louder than Innovation.

Clearly a Technology Passion Engineer cannot guarantee self-actualization in service-based companies. One of my old colleagues shared his experience: He created a cost-cutting framework and was happy to share this with the CEO. But, the CEO was too weak with programming to understand the advantage. The result is his passion for technology began to erode.

But, all of these work to the advantage of the Soft Skilled person. They should be able to progress higher in service-based companies.

An exception would be a Center of Excellence (COE) Team in service-based companies. This is the core group in all service-based companies that work on the latest technologies and trends. The technology passion engineer could enjoy being in this team if in a service based company.

Note

The product-based companies I meant are those top-notch ones. Do not enter a small product based company as you may not get the excellence you expect.

Related

Last year I wrote the article on MNC vs. Small Companies. I hope it was helpful for few friends.

Summary

The summary is to choose the company based on your passion.
  • If you are a Technology Passion Engineer then go for Product based company
  • If you are a Soft Skilled Engineer then a service-based company suits you better
I am sharing my experience based on 2 service-based and 2 product-based companies. Working in a product company for 2 years made me gain the technical knowledge of 8 years from service-based companies. Perhaps I am a technical passionate person.

I hope this will be useful to you in selecting your next powerful career path.

Let me know your thoughts.