Why I chose to work at a startup right after graduation


’Startup vs big company’ easily returns a lot of search results on Google, giving you suggestions on what would be the better choice. Most results would have an inherent bias attached, which is why it is important to figure out what you want to do, on your own.

I graduated from IIIT Hyderabad in May 2015 and decided to join a startup instead of an MNC. As someone who recently decided to make the leap, I want to lay out the rationale behind my decision in the hope that it would help someone else find their calling. Here goes what I’ve learnt so far:

1) Learning by building

Learning by building things on your own is often regarded as one of the better ways to learn. People in startups work in small teams, and so you get to have complete ownership of what you build and, at the same time, have a bird’s eye view of how the whole system is functioning. Being lean, startups ship much faster. Large companies often have robust mechanisms in place and so an individual cannot bring about that big an impact and will be restricted to a small portion of the whole company.

Interestingly, I shipped my first product (a plugin that allows our users to play around with the universe of data we’ve built from within Excel) within nine days of joining.

2) It’s about the journey and not the destination

Imagine you are given a plate of delicious-looking assorted food items but asked to choose the one that is the best. Would you rather make this discovery yourself, or have someone who went through the same experience before tell you? A startup is probably the best place for a curious mind to thrive.

3) The people

Enough has been said about the work culture, awesome offices, flexible work timing and all the perks that startups offer. Yes, I too love the fact that I get breakfast, lunch and dinner served at office, and the mattress for all-nighters, reminiscent of college days, but most articles on Google about the startup ‘culture’ miss the one thing that I truly care about: people

People at startups are very open and frank and are honest critics of your work and ideas. Each individual is putting her/his best efforts to collectively build something great. There is, therefore, no time to waste on being unnecessarily cautious with criticism. This leads to fantastic personal growth, and you would see yourself prospering in such an environment if you have a desire to learn and gain experience.

4) Building something you can call you own

I had always wanted to be at the core of building something big, something which you can call your own, and something that solves a practical problem faced by millions of people.

Going down the road less traveled is often the best way to figure out who we are. Few people in this world are able to make a difference whilst remaining in their comfort zone. Startup life is not easy, so it is best to dive into it when you know you are up for taking on the challenge. For me, personally, this was when I was fresh out of college.

A rapidly expanding, high-impact tech startup is what I'd been looking for and I got this at SocialCops. It has been an amazing ride for me since. You rarely find peers building a company from scratch that not just adds value but is worthy of earning people's respect. I was sure that I could gain a lot of learning from working in such an environment. And the Yourstory article, ‘An Open Letter to crazy 20 somethings who believe they can change the world’ pushed me to make up my mind!

The views in this article are of my own, formed over countless hours of conversations with people at different points in their career/life, self introspection and personal experience. For any queries, feel free to reach out.

About the Author:

Rishabh is a Data Engineer at SocialCops (www.socialcops.com). He studied Computer Science at IIIT-Hyderabad, was also a visiting scholar at Virginia Tech in the field of Computer Vision. An open source enthusiast with a passion to solve real world problems, he has been a Google Summer of Code student, twice. A fan of solo travel, he believes life is all about experiences and you only have limited in this world to make a difference, so better to start ASAP.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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