I admit that working in a large company has enormous benefits. You will work with great, well qualified people but more importantly you will be working for a brand which in itself commands respect and considerable influence. However in my opinion companies like this have one considerable problem. At university students are given the freedom to be creative and change the direction of a project in whatever way they see fit. This exciting premise is why I personally enjoy the university atmosphere as much as I do. We are all trying different things and have our own ideas that will set us out from others. However when in a large company this freedom quickly dissipates. This is of course for good reason, in a large reputable company you have a large solution or service that will have to be managed by a large team for a large customer base. To compensate for this each programmer on the project is given less responsibility although the same work load to ensure that the project still progresses and remains competitive. This is the issue. No longer can the programmer see into the project and see his or hers ideas or innovation. Rather the work that is inserted into the project could have been done by anyone just as qualified and this is in a word demoralizing. Where once you would work on a project you believed in and seek to make it great with your own input now you find yourself making someone else’s project great rather than your own. You feel like you lack impact.
A Middle Ground
However there are many companies where this isn’t a problem. Small, medium business and more exclusively start-ups present an environment that demands innovation and dedication while giving creative freedom. In companies like this and certainly like in HelloUni you are given the space to greatly contribute to the product and help push it down the road to greater success and it is one of the most gratifying experiences that I have come across in the start of my career. The point of this blog wasn’t to slate larger companies as any successful start-up will transition into a larger company. But rather to point out the size of the company will often determine your influences and role in shaping its product. Now of course this is my view as it stands in May and this may change as time progresses and opinions should always be swapped for better ones when they are presented to us. But as it stands when I start working with Morgan Stanley this June which is an opportunity I am more than delighted with I will still be working part time over the weekends at HelloUni because when you work on something that you have seen shaped by your ideas you want it to succeed. You will often be more willing to push it forward into the realm of relative success and be more determined than ever to see the product through to the end.
This is the greatest aspect of working in a start-up and it’s something I would encourage anyone to try at least once to see how with influences you can shape your company and its future.