🚨🚨🚨🚨 SPOILER ALERT: It’s obvious that my experience working at a startup is more than positive. If you have another experience, not so pleasant, please feel free to share it in the comments section below.
As is natural, my perspective will be mainly focused on why a Software Engineer should join a startup at their early career, although I’m confident that the same applies to other roles since the challenges I face are not only engineering-related.
Recently, I joined a maritime tech startup, Seafair.
Seafair is a tech startup offering maritime companies a digital marketplace to hire seafarers and software (SaaS) to manage seafarer data E2E (contracts, work schedules, training, payments). Since its launch in 2020, it has raised $7M and operates out of NYC, Berlin, Athens, Manila and Odessa.
Since I joined here, I already feel a better professional. Every day, I’m challenged to answer engineering and business challenges that I didn’t have the chance to face before.
Some of the critical factors that helped me get along so well during the job:
- My colleagues have worked for great companies in the past and apply their knowledge and experience to the company.
- An early-stage startup building lots of tech from scratch. As a result, questions and challenges regarding querying, software architecture, and data management are a daily phenomenon.
- You’ll get familiar with many different software aspects. As a student, I didn’t have the chance to play with webservers, requests, or APIs. I heard them as general terms but didn’t have the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge to a real-life project.
- Building your soft skills that are so important as an engineer. Behaving and communicating your thoughts with the rest of the team and learning to understand the business needs and transform them into cool features.
- Learning to prioritize work needed from multiple sources. Especially as a Junior Dev, doing the proper work prioritization coming from the business is critical for the company and you. You’ll most probably need much mentoring on this (at least that happened for me), but you’ll identify better company-wide goals and needs in no time.
- You’ll have to learn a new domain from scratch. Successful startups built lately usually point out a specific niche, and as a result, the knowledge you’ll acquire to survive the ecosystem is critical.
- Again, you’ll be surrounded by people who all share the same goal; to drive the company further. The motivation you get from joining an early-stage startup and doing your best to expand is enormous.
- You’ll have the chance to learn how businesses work. What is GMV, why is it very important for a marketplace startup? Questions on how businesses handle hiring, growth, and the different departments a company should be divided into. Of course, these questions vary depending on the business, but you’ll never have the chance to discover them if you never join one.
There are so many more benefits that I can’t find the words to explain. It is difficult to explain how motivated I feel for that opportunity.
The only extra tip I could give after having this experience is: Never hesitate to ask questions, even the simplest ones. There are no dumb questions. Every problem you face and any question that comes up, guess what, probably someone was in the same situation before. Asking a question about it simplifies your work while maximizing your productivity and effectiveness.
Disclaimer: I may be a little biased because I have great teammates on this joyful journey, and I want to thank everyone in the company for making my first experience so exciting. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that joining an early-stage startup early in your career could do much more good than harm.