Choosing Your Next Company: Corporation, Medium-Sized, or Startup

On average, we spend about 23.3 percent of our time working during our 50-years-of-working life span. On average, we spend one-third of our day working and one-fourth of our day sleeping. So getting the right job at the right company is very important to have a happy life.

With the rise of startups, we may find ourselves in a situation where we need to make a decision about the type of company we want to work for. Should I join a large corporation like Microsoft, Comcast, or J&J, or should I  join an unknown startup who is still trying to find its business model? In this article, my goal is to answer this question. What kind of company should I choose for my next job?

There is no quick answer to this question. If you want the quick answer, that is -- I don't know. Then who does know? Well, only you can know the answer. It all depends on you. It all depends on who you are, what you are willing to give to a company, and what you expect in return.
 
Here are some of the questions you ought to ask yourself.
  • What are your personal needs?
  • What kind of salary and benefits are you looking for?
  • What is your work and life style?
  • Do you care what kind of work do you do?
  • Do you get bored often working on the same project after awhile? 

C# Corner MVP and author Jean Paul has written a wonderful article, Multinational Corporation vs. Small Companies, and had shared his 12 years of software development experience working for small companies and corporations.

Here are some of my views on a startup, a small-to-medium size company, and a large corporation.

Startup

Startups have been very popular lately in the USA and some popular examples are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The definition of a startup differs depending on how you look at it. In this article, a Startup is something that hast just planted a seed or has grown into its pre-teen stage where the product is ready to mature, the company has funding and/or it has started making some money to pay its employees and the company has fewer than 20 employees. A startup often transforms into a small company that later may become a large corporation. Remember, in their early years, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn were also startups.

Why

  • You're directly involved with the founders and owners.
  • You get a chance to showcase your talents and leadership skills.
  • You learn a lot but mostly without any predefined direction.
  • You may get a stake in the company.
  • You get a chance to lean a lot with variety.

Why Not

  • You have to work harder with fewer resources.
  • Your company may not be successful.
  • You may not have a good salary and other benefits.
  • Your job may not be secure.
  • You may not get salaries on time 
Small and Medium Sized Company

A small company usually means that the company has a sustainable income and growth and has good benefits. A small to medium sized company can have somewhere from 20+ to 500 employees.

Why 

  • You're directly involved with the senior management or project stakeholders.
  • You get a chance to showcase your talents but not to high level management.
  • You learn a lot with limited direction and guidelines.
  • Your work is noticeable to limited people.
  • You get a chance to work in a team and learn from other members.
  • You may get good salary and benefits.
  • Job security is better than a startup.

    Why Not
    • You have to work harder with limited resources.
    • You may not get full credit for your work if you're not visible to higher management.
    • You may not get a chance to learn a lot.
    Large Corporation
     
    When you think of joining a large corporation, you think of  high-rise multi-storied buildings, suits at work, good salary, benefits and bonuses, and job security. I am putting a company in this category that has more than 500 employees. But all this comes at a price: the price of following a corporate culture, discipline, and one or multiple bosses.

    Why

    • You get a good salary and benefits including vacation.
    • Job is more secure.
    • You get a chance to work with different kinds of people.
    • You have good resources, guidelines, and process.
    • Learn corporate culture and other departments, roles and, responsibilities.
    • Better outside exposure with different departments. HR,Marketing, Sales, etc.
    Why Not

    • Your work is hardly noticed by upper management.
    • You may not have tight deadlines.
    • You may not get a chance to learn a variety of technologies.I've seen guys put in a single project for years and they eventually get bored.

    The End Game

    In our lives, we make choices and our choices build a path for the future. Many of us believe in short-term goals and some of us believe in long-term goals. Some people look for immediate money they can earn from the job while others look for a career they will have five and 10 years down the road. No one choice is good or bad. It all depends on what you want in your life. So when you pick a company, you should clearly ask what kind of responsibilities you will have, what kind of project will you be working on, and what kind of team and boss you will be working with.

    The Verdict

    It is very important to pick a suitable company to have a successful career, but the decision really depends on what your needs are and at what stage of your career you are. When starting a career and when you are young, you can spend a lot more time learning new things, you should look for a company where you have a chance to learn a lot and with good technologies. If you are a senior developer with family and looking for a stable job with benefits, you may want to go with a large corporation. If your first need is to earn more, than you just look for who pays you the most, no matter what kind of work and boss you have.