Programming Job: Startup Vs. Big Company

Written By John Sonmez

Being a new programmer means getting your word out there, sending your CV to a lot of different companies and hoping you'd get called.

However, the good news comes in: You've received two proposals. One for a startup and one for a big company.

How do you choose between the two? What are the pros and cons for each programming job? Both working for a startup and for a big company have its pros and cons. How do you choose which programming job you should take? Is there anything you have to take into consideration?

Watch this video and find out!

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Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from Hey, I just want to give a quick thanks to one of our sponsors at Simple Programmer which is DevMountain Bootcamp. You should go check them out. The link is in the description. They are a coding bootcamp and they can teach you web development, iOS development, UX design, a lot of good stuff. I get a lot of feedback from a lot of you out there that email me have told me about DevMountain, so I decided to check them out myself. I like what I found. I like their programs. They offer some 12-week intensive programs. They also offer some after-hours programs which I know that some of you will like. Go check them out. You can see the link in the description below, DevMountain Bootcamp. A big thank you to them for sponsoring Simple Programmer.

I got a question here about startup versus working for a big company. I'm not going to answer this how you think I am based on what this gentleman has said here. His name is Elias. I think it's Elias and he says, “Hey, John. First of all, I want to thank you for the very amazing content. Here, I'm a computer science student in my first year of Masters. I started to think about my career after I get the degree next year. Do you think that working for a big company and getting a high salary is better for me or making and building my own startup is, knowing that my first interest is money? I have all of the conditions to be a successful entrepreneur. Thanks for your precious help.”

There's one phrase in there that completely changes my perspective. If you didn’t see this one phrase, I would have said, “Yeah, start your own company and be an entrepreneur.” Definitely, I would have said that. I would have said, “Yeah, that's way better. Don't go and work for some big company,” but because he said that his number priority is money, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that you start a startup and become an entrepreneur to make money. Maybe you'll make money, but it's not going to be fast and it's not going to be guaranteed. If your plan is to make money, man, go work for a company that pays you a high salary. You'll make more money that way, right?

Now, if your plan is to own your own thing, if you want to impact the world in some large way, if you're willing to wait 10, 15 years to make money, then be an entrepreneur and start a startup because assume the first one is going to fail. I mean you think you've got all the success and the makings to be a successful entrepreneur and you have all of them except for one. I'll tell you the one you're missing. The one you're missing, we could call it experience. I would call it getting kicked in the nuts. It's failure. It's failure. It's experience. It's hard one grit. You may be brilliant. You may have the skills. You may have the knowledge and the education to succeed as an entrepreneur, but you have not yet failed. You have not yet made the mistakes that you're going to mistake that you're going to make. Right? That's what experience is. It's the mistakes that you make.

That's why you're not going to make money. Now, I could be wrong. You could start the next Facebook and make a bazillion dollars and whatever, but that's unlikely to be the case. I'm an optimist. I'm not saying this to be pessimistic at all. I totally believe and you have to believe you can do whatever you want. I'm just saying don't expect to succeed on your first try. If you think you're just going to suddenly start a startup and just going to be successful, very, very unlikely. You can get a job at a stable company and make money and that's very likely. It's almost guaranteed that you're going to get your paycheck and you'll make money. If you get a good job, you'll make a lot of money. Maybe in your heart, maybe that isn't your only one priority thing. Maybe it isn't just money. If it is, then yeah then you've got your answer, but maybe you need to reexamine and say, “Well, maybe,” and are you willing to fail? What is it worth to you?

For me, I wouldn't go back to working for a company. I mean I've had a lot of good jobs, but even if I didn’t make any money, I would have to do what I'm doing. I'll have to do something on my own because freedom is my number one value in life. I've talked about this a lot of times. You could check out my videos on freedom. I think I probably have a freedom playlist, but that's what's important to me. It's not money. That's number one. If money were number one for me, I'd still be doing Pluralsight videos. You can check out my Pluralsight videos. I did 55 Pluralsight videos and then about four years ago, I stopped even though that's the most profitable thing that I was doing because I realize that what I want to do is make an impact. What I wanted to do was reach more software developers and help them to live better lives. What I wanted to do was own my own business and own my company, and be an entrepreneur and know that I created and built something from the ground up. To me, that's more fulfilling and I still make money, but I could have made a lot more money and just continue doing Pluralsight courses.

There you have it. I think it's a pretty simple straightforward answer there based on what you said, but you might want to reevaluate like what is really important to you, especially in long term versus short term. If you're thinking really long term and you're thinking about making money, then probably the best way to make money in the long term is to go on an entrepreneurial road. Just don’t expect that's going to happen in one year or two years, or three years. It might take five. It might take 10. It might take 15 years. Probably, if you go down the path of entrepreneur and you're dedicated, and you're willing to go through the hardship, in 15 years you probably do better than you will working for someone else. Probably. I can't guarantee it. That's the other path of the entrepreneur. No guarantees.

All right. If you like this video, if you haven’t subscribed already, click that Subscribe button below and make sure you click the bell so you don’t miss any videos. You can always email me a question at, and I will talk to you next time. Take care.