or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Business, Careers & Education › Startups
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Startups

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anybody out there had experience working with a startup. I'm looking for an opportunity to help build my skills/expertise in the IT field. I have a lot of responsibilities at my current job, but it's been repetitive tasks and I don't get to work with the hardware as I'm a systems engineer. I feel like a huge part of learning for my job is configuring the hardware and we pay another company to do most of the dirty work. I feel like a startup would be a good opportunity, but could also be fairly risky. Just looking for suggestions on what to look for, etc.

A little bit about myself: been in the field for about 6 years working mostly with Microsoft technologies and mainly on web development (IIS, .NET, SQL). I don't develop, but have some knowledge of it and know how to do some scripting. I'd like to get myself involved in different areas, but my manager won't give me the opportunity. Any advice is much appreciated.
post #2 of 13
I worked for 5 start ups, from my 20's until 6 years ago, with one serious corporation in the middle. 2 went under, 1 did ok (but I didn't get anything out of it) and 2 just sort of muddled along.

1. I learned alot, I got a lot of responsiblity at a young age
2. I didn't make any serious money
3. budget was always really tight, horribly tight.
post #3 of 13
I don't get the question - you want to work with hardware, but your skill set is mostly system administration. Do you have the hardware skills you need?

Moving to a startup won't necessarily get you closer to the hardware, in fact many software startups are using platform as a service or infrastructure as a service to run their systems, putting you even farther from the hardware. I'd look into a hosting and managed services company like Rackspace or GoDaddy over a startup, as these companies employ small armies of hardware configuration staff.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Part of my job is working with the hardware as well. Racking servers, setting up firewalls, switches, etc. Most of my work is done remotely, but having access to a datacenter is extremely beneficial for me. The problem at a place like Rackspace or GoDaddy is you'll have a very defined role and limited opportunities.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post

I worked for 5 start ups, from my 20's until 6 years ago, with one serious corporation in the middle. 2 went under, 1 did ok (but I didn't get anything out of it) and 2 just sort of muddled along.
1. I learned alot, I got a lot of responsiblity at a young age
2. I didn't make any serious money
3. budget was always really tight, horribly tight.

Can you elaborate on 1? I hear this often about startups, but I haven't really heard people explain how their roles differed from a gig at a more structured company. Thanks.
post #6 of 13

Teach yourself the skills you need. Buy some books, take some online classes, go to some hacker hangouts, etc.

 

Startups don't want to hire people to learn the basics on the job. They want to hire people who bring specific skills to the organization. Especially smaller startups, where every new hire needs to bring a critical capability to the table (or else be able to work the full stack).

 

Don't have the time or the inclination to learn on your off hours? Then think carefully about whether you want to go the startup route, because the work/life balance isn't any easier there.

 

Not saying these things to be a dick. Just saying them because they're a necessary reality check, and you're better off hearing them than not. Either they will discourage you, or they'll inspire you to work harder at your skills.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RWK View Post

Can you elaborate on 1? I hear this often about startups, but I haven't really heard people explain how their roles differed from a gig at a more structured company. Thanks.

well, basically a start up can't afford all the people it needs, or the level of people it should have. so everyone will (and I am talking generally) do more than they would at a more established company, and they will give more reposiblity to people than a more established company usueally will.

If I recruit somebody, I'll be looking for spedific skills and experiences that are well documented. I will pay a pretyt good package for those skills, and I will test and dig into ackgrounds to prove that the condidate has them.

in a start up, if somebody is pretty enthousiastic and willing to work for what I can pay him, I might hire him for something that he is, officially, grossly underqualified, giving him a chance to prove to me his abilities.
post #8 of 13

I agree with the comments about start ups allowing employees to do more than they're qualified for out of necessity. A very small startup usually has an enthusiastic owner who at the early stages of the company is handling a lot of the day to day stuff (bookkeeping being one example) that at some point will need to be delegated so that he can focus his energies in building the company and brand. During those early delegation stages an owner may be willing to hire someone who is under qualified or barely qualified but shows a lot of enthusiasm and has good references, because the owner is confident in his ability to train the right person. That's what happened in my case, and I took that training and then dug deeper myself and ended up gaining enough knowledge to being able to virtually run the company by myself if it was ever needed. This was a tremendous experience for me and put me in a position to confidently start my own company a couple years ago. I will mention that company I worked for did go under because of lack of funding. But it was an exciting company to be a part of, they had a groundbreaking product, a few things just did not fall into place.

 

I might put it like this, when you work for a large company there is always a ceiling on what you can make and what you can do, when you work for a smaller company or start up that has a great product or brand and could actually take off there is more potential in what you can do and what you might make long term if you hang in there, and when you work for yourself there is no ceiling whatsoever, of course there's no floor either and you could bottom out. If you are going to find a start up, do not just choose one that is doing what 1,000 other companies are doing. Find one that has a unique niche, that you can potentially grow with over many years. Otherwise, just stick with the secure job you have and do freelance on the side to satisfy your urge for more creativity and responsibility.
 

post #9 of 13

http://paulgraham.com/

T
ons of valuable information there. Funny this came up because I just declared a CS minor after reading a lot of Paul Graham's essays. Although most of his is focused on hackers, whereas it seems your may be more hardware inclined? They're fantastic reads regardless of your interest. 

post #10 of 13

Not all startups are created equal. Use your own judgement. If the startup looks promising and you have an opportunity to receive some early shares then it's a good opportunity. Most startups don't make it so pick wisely...

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebmk3891 View Post

I was wondering if anybody out there had experience working with a startup. I'm looking for an opportunity to help build my skills/expertise in the IT field. I have a lot of responsibilities at my current job, but it's been repetitive tasks and I don't get to work with the hardware as I'm a systems engineer. I feel like a huge part of learning for my job is configuring the hardware and we pay another company to do most of the dirty work. I feel like a startup would be a good opportunity, but could also be fairly risky. Just looking for suggestions on what to look for, etc.
A little bit about myself: been in the field for about 6 years working mostly with Microsoft technologies and mainly on web development (IIS, .NET, SQL). I don't develop, but have some knowledge of it and know how to do some scripting. I'd like to get myself involved in different areas, but my manager won't give me the opportunity. Any advice is much appreciated.


1. Move to SF Bay Area (or NYC)

2. Hang out at downtown Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Marina, Mission or SOMA.

3. ?????

4. Profit.

 

Most mid stage companies need data dogs that knows how to query.  Other than that, its just networking with a whole bunch of young white guy to break into the start-up world.

post #12 of 13
I work for one. The owner is enthusiastic, but extremely impulsive with little forethought. The company will either be stagnant, or fizzle out, so I am slowly fishing for a new job. There are good parts about it though. The separation of job functions was pretty much non-existent, so when I joined there was a lot of work that I should not have been doing dumped onto me, other people creeping into my duties, and some functions of my duties outsourced to agencies who were doing an awful job. It was a cloak and dagger environment and I learned a lot about when/how to make battle with people and have since carved out my own little fiefdom. So in a sense, I did become my own boss. I feel a constant pressure to do well at my job because the successes/failure in this environment are very public. I not only enjoy the glory of doing well, but I also have to preform well enough to intimidate other people enough to leave my work be.
post #13 of 13
I think what you're looking for is a hardware manufacturer/seller such as Cisco (rotuers & switches), HP (Unix & Windows servers, SANs, switches), Sun/Oracle (Unix servers), Dell (Windows servers, SANs, switches) or a value-added reseller (VAR). With hardware you have the deployment of new systems, hardware refresh/upgrade, and repair (warranty and off warranty). With warranty repair work the customer's SLA will determine how quickly a part will be dispatched and an engineer on site. In addition, there are integrated hardware-software systems in a wide array of industries, e.g., medical, logistics, energy, aviation, chemical and entertainment. An example of this is Endress Hauser, which designs, installs and maintains a customer's automated system for gauging and metering gas production, storage and transport.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Business, Careers & Education
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Business, Careers & Education › Startups