I used to work in a start-up that built a really cool AI and Machine Learning project. (Now it has been acquired by another bigger US company, so it is not that small anymore). Later I moved to a bigger SaaS company for same level position.
Comparing to work in a small startup and a big tech company, I did find some very interesting differences.
Focus and Culture
In small company M, the focus is more on the product and the problems you solved, it is easy to master domain knowledge, because tech stacks are newer. So everyone feel very valued and almost everyone will get the autonomy/owning, and it will get rid of office politics.
In big company X, it is very different, from all the higher manager level, the focus is always people. From lower level managers, it might vary. So culture among teams is very different, it might be good to let all work together or it could be bad, that micro-controlling, or a team full of cow boy developers and no communication.
In start-up, people will care more about what you do, because everyone can see it. In big, managers usually will probably care more about what you speak.
Communication and Teamwork
From company M to company X, in bigger company, they care more about communication and team work.
- One reason is to share domain knowledge among team members or among different teams, so everyone will be able to do everything, instead of focusing on a specific area.
- Another reason I know is that the moving pace in Company X is slower, because Company X’s old code base is hard to change, they are keening keeping the product stability instead of bringing new features to customers.
Tips for this kind of change, from Small to Big Company
- Speak more and ask more, even the questions are silly or you already know the answer, just ask more to confirm.
- Talk to HR/Caring team and the team you will join to know more about the culture and work style before you accept the offer. In a big company, the work style from HR’s mouse might be very different from an engineer’s mouse. If anything not satisfied, reconsider the job offer.
- Slow yourself down in coding, and do more learning in work, tech stacks of the company, Agile concept, how to use a company tool, etc.
- Be yourself in the beginning, if you are a person who focus on detail, let the team know in the beginning, if you have more experience in another area, let people know too.
For each individual, there is no `have-to` to work in a big or a small company, just find the one you like the most, and wish everyone happier in work in 2022(and the girl in the picture is not me, 🙂 ).