Article by Joseph Walsh, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Associates New York
After reading a bunch of articles from credible sources online, searching for data to show what percentage of startups actually succeed and become profitable, I couldn’t find any hard numbers. Yet, the consensus seems to be that around 90% of startups don’t last longer than five years. Leaving your stable position to go work for the unknown startup might sound risky, but there are a number of factors to consider, especially for developers.
Every week I meet with anywhere from 10-20 developers that are looking for a new opportunity. The reasons for starting their job hunt always varies, but one thing I hear more often than not is that there is nothing new to be done where they currently are. The time at their job where new skills were being learned and new ideas were being implemented has passed. The company is stable and the paycheck keeps coming so some people might look at this as a good thing. Going to work and knowing that there is nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future may seem great. However, this type of role can be even riskier than that never-heard-of-before ten person startup.
With the ever changing technology industry, it’s easy to lose track of the "eight ball" quickly if you don't keep up with what's going on out there. In a role where you are assigned to one specific task, day-in and day-out, there is not as much opportunity to play around with new technology, and often you are not thinking about it either. You know what you're supposed to accomplish every day and there would be no benefit in asking the boss to implement this hot new technology that has come out. If the company has been around for a long time and technology is not the main focus, they might tend toward stubborn when it comes to bringing in something new. Cost doesn't help either, especially if the benefits are hard to see immediately.
A lot of my candidates are in this situation when they come in looking for something new. They feel the company they are in is stable but there is not much room for progress. Not in terms of salary, but rather in skill set. They know that if something does happen, they will be in trouble when it comes to looking for a new job. However, people are hesitant to move into an unproven startup while they are still making a paycheck. It can be a scary thing, but there are more benefits to working in a startup than just craft beer and a casual dress code. They are on the CUTTING EGDE of technology.
Startups don't have a preexisting system in place. Everything is built from scratch and the best way to build is to use the most up-to-date and fastest software out there. Not only will you be challenged to learn something new and take on a risk, you will also be exponentially improving your skill set. Since the companies are small, new hires will usually be asked to take on a variety of roles. This gives you a chance to really see what you are made of. No more going into work and staring at the same tasks every day.
You could argue that a particular startup will only last a year or so before failing and yes, it is possible. However, if this does happen to you, your resume will show the companies you apply to all the different software you have worked with and projects you have been a part of thanks to that startup. You are no longer the candidate that would need to learn the new technology; you are the person that could teach it to the staff. You have become a valuable asset with the experience and knowledge that companies need inorder to improve their systems. Your record shows that you are an entrepreneur who is not only willing to take a chance but that you also have the ability to learn new things quickly. This makes you a more certain choice than the person who has been at the same stable company for 10 years not progressing their skills. Startups give you a chance to grow as an individual much more rapidly than you would be able to elsewhere. And hey, you may even get lucky and join one of the 10% that doesn't fail.
The Workbridge San Francisco office volunteered at Project Open Hand mid-August of 2013. “Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides meals with love to seniors and the critically ill.” Every day, Project Open Hand organizes 2,500 healthy meals and provides 400 bags of groceries to clients that suffer from serious illnesses and health challenges. Workbridge San Francisco was able to be a part of 125 daily volunteers that show up at the doors of Project Open Hand to help give back to a community that is looking for a helping-hand.
It all started with the team heading across the beautiful city of San Francisco on the 38 bus. As everyone started to get excited, they arrived at the doors of Project Open Hand.
Once the team was settled in and ready to start, they were taken on an orientation tour of Project Open Hand and were provided with a delicious dinner. After the tour, the group was then able to begin their job as prep cooks and kitchen helpers. Seven team members came together with volunteers from all sorts of different backgrounds to help create meals that would be distributed throughout the Bay Area the next day.
Overall, their experience with Project Open Hand was exciting, eye opening, and educational. The team walked away with new culinary skills and the ability to say that they were able to help someone else!
Giving back to your community can be rewarding but best of all, it’s needed! If you’re interested in volunteering or have questions about Project Open Hand Please call (415) 447-2300.