Startup or Enterprise: Which one is better from the perspective of the first job?

I just finished my engineering having expertise in front-end development and have a job offer at an enterprise company. I have heard a lot of friends discuss joining a startup for the first job is good. Others say the opposite. What do developers like you think?

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Hipkiss's photo

The decision is completely subjective and entirely depends on a number of factors including what you want, in terms of career progression, skills that you want to learn, impact you want to have, the jobs you're actually applying for enterprise 1 =/= enterprise 2 and startup 1 =/= startup 2 and finally your attitude most importantly.

The enterprise:

  1. Slow
  2. Can be really monotonous and boring.
  3. Harder and longer to climb up the career ladder.
  4. More mentor-ship and resources
  5. harder to get your changes/voice considered
  6. Easier to actually get the job.
  7. Be part of a larger team, and learn how to work more on established products.

The startup:

  1. Fast
  2. Gain more experience quicker.
  3. Always changing
  4. Easier to get into management (if wanted) - as you grow with the company.
  5. extremely self-improvement focused. don't know something - go learn it.
  6. can be extremely stressful at times. Please take this one seriously (although my opinion is biased as I didn't join a startup I founded one).
  7. easier to suggest changes and implement them (be it processes, lang's or anything really)
  8. Work as part of a small, close nit team more focused on less established product development

There are many other pros/cons to the list, but I think these are the main ones, and obviously are generalisations and do not apply in every case. Either way, apply to both and see what offers you get back. Then you'll have to make a decision - until then there's no need to worry.

Sebastian's photo

Just Join and start getting experience.

You should have worked in both sizes of companies since the experience and way to work is different and so is the skill set you learn there.

But it doesn’t matter which one first so if you have an offer and there’s nothing serious against it, do it.

In today’s world of work it won’t be your last job.

Divyesh Parmar's photo

Well for me personally I would go with startup but I would like to discuss both sides.

Startup job

  • you have a frugal environment, you have more work load
  • may be less organizational structure and flat structure so you get the responsibilities
  • because of all these you get to learn more things really quick e.g., Bable 7 has just launched and Webpack is going to come out with a new version soon. If you are working with Vue.js then the new Vue-cli-3 supports any other bundler when it needs to i.e., webpack/parcel/rollup

Big firms

  • as others have already said, it would give you a sigh of relief financially
  • it's not that risky in terms losing jobs maybe
  • It will provide you many mentors and you can hangout with the nice bunch of intellectual who are just like you and me out of college
  • Travelling time to office may cost mental tired-ness if you are living in Metro cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Gurgaon, etc. ( I'm only assuming Indian cities here )
  • Plus point if it is a famous name you can boast around relatives and other college mates and junior that you are working in that GooAppMicroFaceAmaz company.
  • Free new laptops ( Macbooks mostly ) yayy! if you like otherwise it won't matter that much ( but if you have option to choose Desktop vs Laptop please choose a Desktop so that you don't have to work from home since you won't have work laptop :D

I am sure you must have learned from other's answers already I hope it helps. Good Luck and do share your experiences.

Sky's photo

Let's look at it more practical way.

Big firms = Financial security. For all. Long term. Startups = Financial Risk, even for workers.

I have seen many fancy startups who are trying to be edgy offering progressive incentives and doing stuff to brand themselves cool on social media. But in reality, they struggled meeting deadlines, bad product or service and employees are just adopting edgy habits instead of helping company. Lot of startups wind up due to such practices.

Many startup founders and cofounders do build a good product and become successful. I am not denying the possibility of success. But startups are not the place for learning good coding habits and holding financial security for career.

If you have even seen the days of 2006 to 2008 depression time. You'd choose big firms instead of startups.

Build your experience. If you build it on the established firms, you're more likely to keep the success horse running. People can argue all they want but the startup is a risk. Often a risk worth not taking if your goal is to be stabilized in terms of career and finances.

Trent Haynes's photo

It really doesn’t matter. If you’re not learning in every job you have, then you are doing it wrong anyway.

I’ve worked for both. The biggest difference between them... every startup offers a giant “might get rich” vibe that statistically will not pan out and you end up work 100’s of unpaid hours. But i dont regret any of them.

Vishwa Bhat's photo

Not necessary to be true. You'd learn things in MNC that aren't available at startups and vice versa.

Moreover, if you're passionate enough, where you work might not matter, you'd learn and execute new things on your own during your freetime anyway.