Big company or start-up? I find a lot of my friends ask themselves this question when they are looking to either start their career or make their next move. Working for either a big corporation or a startup is a personal decision that should be made based on which will provide the right foundation for learning and which will open more career opportunities in the future. Recently, friends I’ve graduated with and other young professionals seem to be more attracted to startups and sure, I understand it’s kind of cool to work in a small dynamic work environment, however I decided to join a big corporation for these 6 main reasons.
1. "T-Shaped" Skills
Working for a big corporation allows an individual to develop valuable "T-shaped" skills. These skills allow for specialization and depth of related skills and expertise in an area of work, technology, or process. It also provides broad exposure and the ability to learn from and collaborate with experts from other disciplines such as technology, business, development, and project management. At a startup you generally wear many hats, increasing your breadth of knowledge in other areas, but making it difficult to become an expert in any one discipline. I myself wanted to become an expert, so that I could grow into a role where I would be able to mentor and manage a team.
2. Growth Opportunities (both vertically and horizontally)
Startups generally focus on launching one product while big companies tend to foster the development of many products. This means a lot of jobs, and therefore a lot of opportunities for growth. Big corporations tend to invest in individuals through education, skill development, and career assistance programs to help align an individual's personal career goals with positions they would like to work towards within the company. Not only is there exposure to other positions, but within my company I have the opportunity to learn new technologies and explore other products as well. Through Philips, I’ve taken various trainings and received professional board certifications of topics related to my current and future career trajectories, as well as some that are just of general interest to me. In 1.5 years I was promoted from a software test engineer in patient monitoring to the software test lead in analytics, and continue to look forward to then endless opportunities on the horizon.