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Working for a small company?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by reverb, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. reverb

    reverb Byte Poster

    Hi all,

    I was just wondering, what are the advantages of working for a small company (eg. less than 50 users) besides more hands on experience and responsiblility etc.?
    I would like someone to share their experiences.
  2. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Less defined roles, hence a more varied work experiance. More chances of impressing the real bosses, hence chances of progression are good. More likelyhood of a family type culture, therefore less likelyhood of a bean-counter that doesnt know you from Adam, making you redundant.

    Pro and cons in everything, i have listed a few of the pros.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    So here's the biggest "negative": working for a small company can be absolutely miserable for people who can't do the job. Just as there are more chances to impress a boss, there are more chances to bring the boss's wrath upon you, because there are few (if any) people you can hide behind who will pick up your slack. As a result, I *loved* working for small companies... the IT managers knew who could and couldn't pull their weight.

    Realistically, there are a few other downsides to working for smaller companies. First, there's not always room for advancement in a small company... sometimes, it's just you and the IT manager, and he probably isn't going anywhere soon. That said, you typically wear many important hats when you start the job, so that's not usually a huge dealbreaker.

    Second, small companies generally aren't awash with cash, and thus, they usually aren't wasteful with money (if they are, that's a whole other problem waiting to happen). As a result, salaries are managed pretty tightly. That's not to say you can't make good money with a small company... you can. But you won't be making megabucks in a small company as a desktop support tech. By contrast, it's possible to make much more than you're really worth when working for a large corporation... salaries are sometimes not watched as closely as they are in small companies.

    Third, if you work for a large corporation and you don't like your manager, you can often put in for a transfer so you can continue working at the company, just not under the same manager. In a small company, if you don't like your manager, you're pretty much stuck with who you've got (unless you lose your ever-loving mind and decide to work for a department outside of IT). You either have to deal with it or leave.

    Still, I much prefer working for small companies for the reasons Blue gave above.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  4. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

    I think Blue and BM have summed it up pretty well.

    I've worked for a small company since I started my IT career. There are many benefits such as already mentioned, you know who your working for - I speak to the MD day in day out, on lots of different matters from business to football. There is also *lots* of exposure to many different technologies rather then having a strict "Job Role". I work with every aspect of the computing in our organisation ranging from Windows Server, Exchange and SQL to Veritas and Avaya. I also take care of the network, the website, higher level IT Support calls.

    I guess the negatives can sway decisions on whether to go for a small company or not. Salary is a big topic. I worked on a pretty low wage for the job I was doing for the first 2 years and had to just *deal with it*, since then i've been on a healthy salary that im happy with, but I had to work very hard to get to this stage.

    Another negative is the fact that there is real potential to move any higher then I already am. There is only 2 full time IT guys here, the system developer and me. I also manage an IT Support guy who does say, 20% support calls, 80% normal admin work. Thats about as big as it'll get here. The lack of "continuous growth" could put people off.

    Overall I also prefer working here then what I *imagine* working for a large company would be like. I cant say 100% as I havent worked for a large company, but having friends that do, im 90% sure. :)

    I hope thats given you a little insight into small companies, I guess it largely depends on what sort of role and responsibility your looking for. I'd rather be a big fish in a small pond, that has a name, then a small fish in a big pond, who has a number. :)
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  5. Evilwheato

    Evilwheato Kilobyte Poster

    I currently work in a small company- there are only three of us!
    I think most of the advantages/disadvantages have been said- although you get a more varied role (I currently get to do some PC repairs, technical support, server management, domain/DNS admin, customer migration and some off-site work) the pay is likely to be less than a large company equivilent and there will be less room for progression (and possible training).

    Due to the larger amount of responsibility that you get, you DO get more experience, but as BosonMichael said, you're directly responsible if something goes wrong (happened to me several times!)

    Another thing I can say is that you get to know your team mates better. We operate in a informal environment, which makes the work more interesting. My manager/owner welcomes any questions I have regarding the cert's I'm taking, which is a real bonus for me :D
  6. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Working for a small company is a quick way to progress your career, especially if you get loads of one off contracts for migrations etc.
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  7. disarm

    disarm Byte Poster

    I work for a small company as the only IT person and I pretty much do everything, so very good for my skillset.
    Also I can walk in wearing jeans & t-shirt :)
  8. Metalstar

    Metalstar Kilobyte Poster

    Pretty much summed up above. I love working for a smaller company, having worked at a ftse 100 company previously there is a stark contrast between the two.

    A much more varied role and 100% accountability really gets you motivated to know your stuff!

    My bosses are super supportive and pay for all my exams/books and will soon be paying for my home phone and broadband :eek: I think it would be almost impossible to get that sort of support at a larger company.

    Another bonus with being the tech, they ask you for help with the accounting software/spreadsheets, so you can see how well the company is doing :) I should know in advance if I need to bail :biggrin Obviously depends on the company but I get more satisfaction from working in a small business.
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Network+
  9. LordMoolyBap

    LordMoolyBap Nibble Poster

    I love working for small companies. I got my first real chance in IT working for a small company. They had no IT staff and did almost everything on paper. I quickly made an access database for employees customers ect... as the company and my experience grew we upscaled to SQL server and I learnt a lot from that. You always get a chance to get your teeth in when working for a smaller company. I have only ever worked for one large company and the bureaucracy killled me as did the fixed job I had to do, if you like having your fingers in lots of pies (ie bit of networking, bit of webdesign, database dev, supporting people) you will like working for small companies. Only downside is you tend to get more lumped on you and the pay is often less (but not always!).

    It's testimony how many people here have said it!
    Certifications: HND (Comp) MBCS
    WIP: Msc Intelligent Systems
  10. Metalstar

    Metalstar Kilobyte Poster

    One thing to add. If you are the "Techie" guy at a small company, prepare to extend your trouble shooting skills to Franking Machines/Photocopiers/Calculators/electronic door locks/roller shutters etc. The list goes on.

    Basically anything that plugs into something else and uses electricity :)
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Network+
  11. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

    Yep. Others to include are light bulbs, fans and phones. :( It never ends :(

    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  12. dazza786

    dazza786 Megabyte Poster

    so true
    mine also covers stuff like desks n crap.. all because theres electrical equipment ontop and underneath them that requires assistance.:x
    Certifications: MCP (271, 272, 270, 290, 291, 621, 681, 685), MCDST, MCTS, MCITP, MCSA, Security+, CCA(XA6.5)
  13. LordMoolyBap

    LordMoolyBap Nibble Poster

    "Basically anything that plugs into something else and uses electricity "

    haha, yup. This is very true!
    Certifications: HND (Comp) MBCS
    WIP: Msc Intelligent Systems

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