As an IT professional, you are aware that your skills, experience and insights are in demand for many companies and in many industries. The question is, in what sort of work environment will you thrive? A startup where you can wear many hats? Or a more established organization where you may find more security? Here are a few factors to consider.
What Is Your Long-Range Plan?
Do you have an entreprenueal mindset that would flourish in a startup environment? Working in a start up can offer the chance to get in on the ground floor of an exciting opportunity. You may have input into how the company is run, the kinds of projects that will be taken on and possibly who is hired.
In an established company, you may spend more time paying your dues before earning the kind of impact possible in a startup, but gaining a foothold in a large well-known corporation may be better for your long-term career.
How Risk Averse Are You?
When you work for an established corporation, you are likely to garner a higher salary and possibly better benefits. With a startup, you may have a lower salary, but your actual compensation could potentially be higher, if the company is successful. A portion of your compensation will likely come from profit sharing or other financial rewards that are tied to the growth and profitability of the company.
Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?
An established company may offer the opportunity to specialize in a narrow niche where you can really excel. If you enjoy variety and working on a lot of different kinds of projects, you might find more fulfillment in a startup where the smaller size of the company will allow you to use your expertise in a variety of ways.
What's Your Work Style?
Do you like being involved in the decision-making process? Would you rather be left alone to do your job? At a startup, you may have less red tape and more transparency (and even input) into the decision-making process, but with that comes greater risk and longer hours. Pressure may be higher than at an established company as you work closely with the principals of the company to help them succeed.
Analyzing what you want your career to look like in the long and short term can help you make an informed decision about the kind of company that's best for you. Consider these factors when conducting your job search. There are no wrong answers; it's about what's best for you.