Spend any time in San Francisco and you’ll find that just about everyone that you bump into works in tech. While many people work in tech both here (I’m in SF right now) and in many other cities that have become startup hubs like Boston, LA, and New York, “working in tech” can mean a variety of things based on the company that you work for and your role.
Today Y Combinator shared a really interesting article on their blog about the three different types of roles people can have at a tech company. The vast majority of people that you meet who say they work in tech are likely employees since that makes up the bulk of tech workers. Of course no tech company would exist without founders, and as the company grows executives play an increasingly important role and grow in numbers.
Like everything in life there is no right answer but there are pros and cons to each path. As a founder I can definitely relate to everything that the article shared, honestly they got it spot on. Here’s the list of pros and cons for founders:
• Work on something you’re passionate about
• Bring something new into the world
• High level of responsibility often inspires extreme productivity
• Choose the people you work with
• Learn new skills at an extremely fast pace
• Incredibly stressful. Even success hurts
• Probably won’t maximize your personal earnings
• significant financial/skillset/location hurdles to get started
• Large scale success often requires decade plus commitment
• Commitment level can significantly hurt personal relationships
(Source – blog.ycombinator.com)
It’s interesting because as a founder I find myself spending more time with other founders than with employees. I’ve also found over time that when I talk to friends that are employees and they complain about work or about their bosses I end up seeing things from the other perspective and often encourage them to think about what the founders are thinking about when they do something they might disagree with.
I can tell you that my friends that are employees at tech companies definitely make a lot more money than I do, and many enjoy a little thing called work-life-balance that I lost so long ago I don’t even remember what it is. Here’s the list of pros and cons for employees:
• Stable income/benefits/etc.
• More work and fewer meetings
• More often directly affecting the customer through your work
• With a high demand skill-set you have flexibility in where/how much you work
• Often have more time to spend with friends and family
• Productivity can be blocked by bad management
• You often don’t have control what you work on
• Often don’t get a voice in major decisions – even when you “know the right answer”
• It’s harder to become very wealthy
• It can be boring
• If you don’t maintain a high demand skillset or your productivity drops it’s easier to be fired
I’d love to hear from my readers, those who work in tech and those who don’t. What role do you fall into or would you fall into and do you think the pros and cons match with your experience?
I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!