1. Do more, sooner
At smaller companies, lower staff numbers and a start-up atmosphere will see you exposed to a wide variety of projects and technologies from day one.
You’re also more likely to get the chance to hone your managerial skills in a meaningful way: do you want a sliver of faceless involvement in a massive global project or would you rather have more end-to-end experience, such as direct involvement in client discussions and requirements or project management? Early and mid-career developers can find themselves locked out of high responsibility roles in larger organisations.
2. Get things done
Do you want a work day spent in ‘the meeting that is always on’ or would you rather work alongside flexible people, used to getting things done with often limited resources? Many of these early-career do-ers are tomorrow’s high-profile success stories – get to know, work with and learn from them now. Maybe you can play a role in the Next Big Thing.
But if you want to fast-track your career, you might just find that a few years at a smaller organisation translates into the kind of senior experience you could spend a decade trying to attain in a corporate environment.
3. Stand out from the crowd
Larger, high-profile organisations might seem to offer more growing room, but when everyone around you is supposedly a high-flyer, it can be more difficult to stand out from the crowd. If you’re not getting the chance to make a visible contribution to high-profile projects, standing out and showing your skills – or even getting to use them at all – can become even more difficult. At a smaller company, your success is more visible (as are your failures).
4. Control your own destiny
When you work for a large global company, internal politics and the team you find yourself on can have a significant impact on your career path. Join the happy go-getters on a successful product and you’re fine. Get the toxic, dysfunctional team with the product everyone hates and not only will the quality of your work suffer, you might find multiple layers of slow-moving managerial infrastructure standing between you and your escape route. In smaller companies, you’ll have more opportunity to access senior managers and take greater control over your career.
5. Know your mentor
The more rungs on the ladder, the likelier it is that your manager will be more focused on their own career than in sharing any pearls of wisdom and experience with you. At a smaller organisation, you’re likely to spend more time in the company of your manager, giving you greater opportunities to learn from them.
From salaries to benefits packages, canteens and funky offices, the perks of working for a large corporation are well known. But if you want to fast-track your career, you might just find that a few years at a smaller organisation translates into the kind of senior experience you could spend a decade trying to attain in a corporate environment.