4 Things Developers Can Learn in Startups

Programmers don’t need to worry about getting a job, it seems. Computer science students are recruited straight from school, IT companies are complaining about the amount of quality developers, and even the Finnish government is trying to figure out how to turn its tech brain drain into brain gain!
Opportunities seem to be wide open for developers as just about all companies need to deal with software, though competition for the top positions is still tough. There are many different job opportunities and career paths for developers, so we’ve gathered information for developers about what they can learn in startups.
1. Making Decisions and Moving Faster
Things move fast in a startup, and this can put more pressure on a developer. In more traditional companies there might be longer training periods and more time to adjust to the new environments, but in early-stage startups you might be pushing code into production already in your first days.
Moving fast doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. It means learning to make the right choices and compromises about how to implement things, and startups give you more practise in it. Bigger companies, on the other hand, might be more concerned about doing things “right”, rather than doing things “now”. They focus more on teaching you the proper methods and processes to do things in a consistent way.
2. Building Your Own Features
At a startup, you’re also probably going to be responsible of building and shipping entire features on your own. Rather than taking a small part of a robust, existing system and tweaking a component of it, startups force you to take on bigger entities. So you can’t just stick to your niche, you have to learn a lot of different things.
Building entire features means making decisions on your own and moving fast, but it also means that many core functionalities of the product might have been made just by you. Thus, you’ll be able to see and showcase the results of your work in a more concrete way.
3. Shorter Feedback Loops and Understanding Customers
In bigger companies it might take months to see your code actually work and get feedback from the clients. You might even get stuck on a software project going through endless delays and never seeing the light of day! Startups, on the other hand, aim to shorten the feedback loop constantly and to ship features as fast as possible. You learn faster how your code works in practise or if it even matches with the needs of the customer. You might be even able to see the smile on the face of your customer after you’ve developed something to make her life easier, but more about this next!
4. Crash Course in Business
Everybody is forced to wear many hats in startups. In small teams you simply have to understand the different parts of the company to make right decisions. In startups, developers can’t be an isolated part of the company just giving their take on whether something is technically feasible and then executing it, they also have to have an understanding of the business side.
Developers need to know who the customers are, what are they actually making for them, and why. Startups can’t afford silos, as a miscommunication between business people and developers can lead to an useless feature shortening the already short runway of a startup. So prepare to attend sales meetings and to understand the business of the company as a whole. For developers interested in creating their own business at some point, you can’t get a better learning experience than this.
Check out our earlier blog post about whether you have the characteristics to fit in a startup from here, and read why students should try working at a startup in general from here!

Interested in working at the most advanced machine learning, blockchain or VR/AR startups in Silicon Valley? Startuplifers is a student-run internship program that seeks the best startup opportunities just for you, coaches you through applications and interviews, and even helps you with the flights and visas! 

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