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Roberto Hernandez
Roberto Hernandez

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Why you should work in a Tech Startup - If you aspire to become a better developer

Overview - My experience with non-tech Startups

I started out as a "webmaster" in a company whose core business was retail. My first real hands-on with software development was there, then I worked for almost four years in companies whose core business were not in software development itself. They have unit businesses; IT departments to handle their internal applications which include main development functions such as the creation of new features for their existing apps, troubleshooting, and debugging.

Wait…, What the heck is a tech Startup?

According to Steve Blank, the author of the book "The Startup - Owner's manual", a startup "is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model." But perhaps the most popular definition of a startup is from Eric Ries, the creator of the Lean Startup Methodology and for me the best definition "a startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.'' My own definition is that a startup is a company with a huge potential to grow with a degree of uncertain and whose purpose is solving, through a product or service, an existent problem.
Now we know a little bit about what a startup is, it's time to know the powerful reasons to work in a company cataloged as a tech startup. The purpose is to show you the most significant things I have come across and learned experiences.

Develop a deep and solid knowledge of what you like to do

From my point of view, this is the most important part, because is related to what gives us value as developers and what is most significant for us. I remember when I was working on non-tech Startup I spent more than 3 years working with a mix of programming languages, I started out with PHP, then .Net, then Java, even Visual FoxPro. Is that bad? Yes as long as you want to have a solid understanding for each of them, it becomes bad since you are not knowing in deep way how they work. Definitely, you are learning but you are not becoming an expert at it. If you work in a tech-startup you can develop and reach your ambitious Development career goals faster and get a solid knowledge of what you really love. After knowing the surface of those languages I decided to dig deep in Javascript; the front-end side since I really, really like the combination of functionality and usability and at my current job, I could say that I have learned and level up in four months what I learned in two years in the other non-tech companies. If you are looking to specialize at something, either backend/ frontend, or UX/UI the best place to do it is in a tech-startup company. I can assure it to you 100%.

Level up your programming skills.

This point is closely related to the prior; working in a tech-startup not only will allow you specializing at what you love and enjoy, but you will also be able to hyphenate your programming skills. You are in a constant learning environment, learning all the time either for the project complexity where you are assigned or simply because the culture itself encourages you to stay tuned. As you know, the development industry moves so quickly so you need to be aligned and prepare for it and have the willingness to constantly are learning if you don't want to fall behind at some point. On the other hand, you can hyphenate your programming skills by increasing your productivity, since you can take advantage of a lot of setting tricks of your code editor/IDE that others are using to increase your productivity or applying the best approaches, practices, and standards that your co-workers are already using them.

Force yourself to be prepared for every challenging project

As in life you should be prepared to face whatever bad or challenging situation and have the courage to go through it, likewise, a developer working in a tech-startup has to be open and prepared for really, really crazy and challenging projects. As you fight with those challenging stuff you will be creating a new version of yourself, actually a better version with a powerful mindset since you are developing and handling for those challenging scenarios, new clients expectations, complex requirements and so on. This will not only help you in your current and future jobs but also in your life.
Moreover, forcing you to be prepared in some way, probably under the hood you will be defeating and throwing your fears away. If you are doing the same things all the time you feel comfortable on it, but what about new scenarios, challenging scenarios? I bet that you will not feel so good, so facing and working in challenging projects will prepare you for huge things in the future.

Find Work-life balance

By nature, the work at a startup is demanding and generally has long journeying hours of coding. So nowadays, almost all tech-startups have great policies or "cool stuff" to give to their employees to have more work-life balance. In my current company, Applaudo Studios, they created the work from home policy, which allows us to work from home 2 days a week. This represents for the majority a disconnection of the office, avoiding the stress of driving, a great time to be with your loved ones. Either work full-time from home or some days a week it has a huge impact on your work-life balance, giving you a balanced state for your professional, personal and family life. You can take advantage of this by using those commuting hours to work out in the mornings, writing, resting, or doing whatever is meaningful and interesting for you.

Get help fast from the best

You can't let me lie. Sometimes you are stuck on different code issues, you probably will follow the next flow. First, you will go to Stack Overflow trying to figure it out how others already solved it, but when things become dark or you are not able to find anywhere your specific scenario your second step should ask at the proper Slack channel to know if someone else is already solved it or experienced the same issue before, just in a few seconds you can get the help you seek. This is the better and the faster way I have received help so far working in a tech-startup. This is possible thanks to you are surrounded by a lot of talented and experienced people who definitely are willing to help you. Just ask them!.

Work with cutting-edge stacks

This one is probably the most compelling reason I quit my last job, working at a tech-startup you more likely come across with a lot of projects, a diversity of them. Some days ago, I talked with a team member and we were discussing the fact that most of the clients for whom we are building awesome projects, the tech stack they are using are the new ones and the more popular and we did a comparison between them and the non-tech companies where we worked before. So the good news is at a tech-startup you will be building and enjoying those cool stacks and also building new products and at the same time with the possibility to learn them much better or hyphenate diving into them. In both cases, there will not be another boring day on your daily day-to-day at work.

Enjoy the process, playing, failing and giving

When you enjoy the learning process you are easily able to reach whatever goal you have. At a tech-startup are learning so fast, playing fast, and maybe failing fast. This means you can gain experience faster than in a traditional company. You are growing and also you can offer and give your knowledge to the new hires. All this environment and great kinds of stuff are exclusive possible only in tech-startup you can't find that somewhere.

Your Ideas are Welcome

I don't know you, but I usually bring with me a long list of ideas either good, dump, bad or crazy. I bet you to have them as well. So we only need a place where they can be welcome. I also know that sometimes you don't share them for different reasons, such as your fear of what other people are going to think. But what I have experimented at my current job is that you can share your ideas and most of your teammates are open to hearing and even join in on them. The interesting and curious thing I have noticed is the fact that even the CEO's, and Directors are open to hearing and offer you in some way their help to jump-start your side projects. This really incredible and awesome of the tech startup culture.

More flexibility and freedom

Working at a tech startup is a pathway towards flexibility and freedom. You can use cozy clothes; better manage your time; and see, hear and share with your loved ones. At this point, I would like to mention some things you have to keep in mind. With more freedom, you will also need to develop more discipline. Actually, if you are not disciplined enough, the freedom that a tech-startup offer will not be a good deal for you. When you work from home you have to have more disciplined time management, take care of what you eat, how you feel about yourself. I truly believe you know what I am talking about. Freedom has double-edged, it could be for one person the booster for productivity and also could be for another a distracting disaster. Anyway, for me, working from home is the most powerful way to be productive.

Thanks for reading! If this story turned out to be interesting, I'd really appreciate it if you like and share it with your friends. I hope to add a little bit more knowledge to you. Don't forget to follow me on

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