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Career Confusion

I have a career question as to what line of work to consider post graduation. Consider the following:

Company profiles:
1. Major software company with tons of major products.
2. Major online shopping site.
3. Major consulting company with 80% travel required, including international travel.

Career goals:
1. Get as much SW development exposure as possible.
2. Meet a lot of intelligent and thoughtful people.
3. Make enough money for goal #4.
4. Start a small software company after 3 to 5 years.

Considering the company profiles and goals, how would you go about considering a company to maximize the potential for archiving each goal?
Marcus K. Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
I would look to work for a company in an industry that you think you can\want to start company writing software for.
noob
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
I'd say #1 given your goals, but if you're young, #3 sounds like it would be fun depending on client locations for a while.
grover
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
1. Major software company with tons of major products.

-- Will be the best for your career if you decide to stay in the software industry.  You will learn how a software company works, and how to write software, but not much else. 

2. Major online shopping site.

-- Slightly less career potential than the software company.  Will put you in an excellent position to be a C-level executive in an internet startup down the road.  Online retail is a pretty small field so I don't see a ton of mobility if you specialize there.

3. Major consulting company with 80% travel required, including international travel.

-- Potential to earn big $$ if you can avoid the almost ubiquitous burnout that seems to consume 90% of people in consulting.  Best potential to learn about other industries, but you will probably be mostly involved in finance / ERP / CRM type stuff that is generic to many industries.

Personally I would choose the software corp first and the consulting firm last.
Sassy Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
Any of your company profiles can let you achieve your goals - what's more important is the people you work with and the projects you work on - if those are providing you with lots of opportunities to learn and grow, then it doesn't matter what category the company is in.
Mike Stockdale Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
If you're a software engineer, always go where the core competency is software, not marketing, not legal, not manufacturing, not financial services, not health care. Software.
SumoRunner Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
#1
Lux
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
what about a smaller software company that is focused on putting out good software? with a large company, they me be concerned with profits. not actually producing good software.
Patrick From An IBank Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
I'd argue for the "Major online shopping site", because I think web-based software will account for the majority of new software business opportunities in the next 5-10 years.
Exception Guy Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
Based on what I have seen of the training and character of junior people from consulting companies, you will likely get exactly the wrong experience working for the consulting company, if your goal is to start a mISV a few years out.

They are based on the gigantic company model - three years is a short time, it takes 20 people to do the tiniest project, the paperwork is way more important than the results.

Otherwise it is a bit of coin toss. It really depends on the two companies.

If you are looking around Seattle and the two companies are the obvious ones, then go with the software house.
dot for this one
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
Go with Microsoft, you will not regret it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
Go with the consulting firm for a couple of years to gain broad technical experience.  Then switch to a product company (whether online or shrink-wrap) to get experience in the process of shipping a product.
xampl Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
I'd suggest consulting:

1) consultants make good to great money, there's also some risk, which is easier to handle when you're young.

2) consultants get to see all kinds of industries from the inside, so you'll get good material for when you strike out on your own.

3) you get to travel while you are young and unattached, this may not help your career, but you'll enjoy it a lot.

4) you'll be able to handle the stress of consulting better while you're young.

5) if you don't like it, you can always switch gears in a year or so and try the other two options.
Jeffrey Dutky Send private email
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
 
1. Major software company with tons of major products.
2. Major online shopping site.
3. Major consulting company with 80% travel required, including international travel.

So, Microsoft, Amazon or McKinsey? Depends on what you want from your small company in 3-5 years -- development and consulting, or selling a product?

If it's a product oriented company you're shooting for, then I'd go with McKinsey because you'll meet a lot of people who will be useful for securing funding when you want to start your own company.

Otherwise, I'd go with Amazon. You'll learn a lot about web and server technology and the high turnover will quickly give you the chance to see if you're a decent project lead.
A Lackey
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
 
 
"4. Start a small software company after 3 to 5 years."

I think you need to decide what software you're going to produce, first and then decide which environment is going to properly train you for it.

For example, if you want to write financial systems software, then you really have no choice but to work on Wall Street (figuratively speaking) as a contractor. The industry is such that the contacts you'll make will determine how successful your software company will be.

In contrast, if you're thinking about writing point of sale software for billard halls and surf shops, none of the three options you've specified will give you the kind of experience you want. You're better off working as an IT programmer for a major retail chain, or contracting to one.

The reason I'm being picky about this point is that three to five years is a very short timeframe to gain both money and experience. It can be done, but if you take any of the three original routes, you're probably looking at a ten year window. If you want to cut it down to three, you basically need to work for the competition.
TheDavid
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
 
 

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