5 Reasons to choose a startup over a corporate job | Proxyclick

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I recently changed my job as a developer in a big corporate company and joined a small tech startup. There are a lot of rumors around the “work-hard-play-hard” mentality you can often find in start-ups.

The prospect of working in a place where you can make a real difference from day one intrigued me. In fact, it was the main reason why I applied to Proxyclick.

And I didn’t get disappointed. My first week was intense. Getting familiar with the company, the product, the codebase, and of course the team; it was a lot to take in.

It was the same week we conducted our new-world-of-work-experiment, where we moved the entire company for a couple of days from Brussels to Barcelona, just because we can.


First week: I am on the left, discovering the codebase with Anthony


In this blog post I’d like to share my experience since then and why I’d recommend it to any developer consider joining a startup:


 1. Things move very fast

The first thing, that comes to my mind is speed. 

When I applied to Proxyclick, I imagined there would be less boundaries but possibly even more responsibilities than in a big company where responsibilities can get diluted.

Fact check: I accomplished more in 2 months at Proxyclick than in 2 years at my previous company.

In a big corporate company, it could easily take 1 or 2 years before a new feature is approved and the IT team can get started with its development. The approval process consists of risk assessments, greenlighting from many different people in the company, general discussions and discussions around the budget.

E.g. I was working on a critical billing system; we could not push very big changes as it was considered risky. In total, we averaged about 4 releases a year.

Testing was done only manually, and took several months before a release.

On the other hand a startup is usually flat-structured, meaning less barriers to greenlight a new development. At Proxyclick, we average a new release every month. In some cases we even give early access to new features to interested users for beta-testing.


2. More responsibility

Joining a startup means that your work will have an immediate impact on the end-user, the customer.

Naturally, the smaller the team, the bigger the influence your role has. Of course, it also means that can be more challenging as well :-)

Within my first few weeks at Proxyclick I had the chance to develop the Slack integration feature from end-to-end. I designed the web server, the slack bot and the front-end integration into the web app.

Being responsible of the whole project was exciting!

blog-reason-work-startup-developer-slack.jpgSlack integration


3. More impact in the decision-making-process

From my experience, in a big firm, the specific details on how a feature should look are decided by the design team. Then the IT team is informed and starts implementing.

In a startup on the other hand, teams are smaller. Everybody’s feedback is considered highly valuable and it’s feasible to collaborate and get insights from different departments (marketing, design, IT) quickly as well.

Our developers constantly brainstorm together to improve the user experience and challenge each other’s view point. Everyone’s encouraged to voice ideas and we’re all active in the creative process.


4. Able to work on many different projects

I am doing front and back-end development. And yes, working in a startup means I am involved in many different projects simultaneously.  

I’ve been at Proxyclick for just under 4 months and this is what I’m up to:

  • Emergency list - this feature gives you access to your list of current visitors, anytime, anywhere. In case of an emergency, you know who’s in your building in seconds.
    • Visual changes and performance improvements
    • Revamp of the visit details


Emergency list


  • Delivery feature (upcoming) - this feature allows delivery guys to enter the name of the recipient on the kiosk and be off without losing time
    • Back-end development
  • Slack integration - this feature allows you to receive and respond to host notifications directly in your company’s Slack
    • Development from end-to-end including web server, the slack bot and the front-end integration
  • Other
    • Migrating web pages to Angular to improve web app performance
    • Enhancing analytics collection on the web app
    • Development of a very cool bot-integration (unfortunately confidential, so I cannot share more ;-))

You’ll never get bored, that is for sure.


5. Fun work atmosphere

The work-hard-play-hard mentality I imagined at a typical startup is something I was definitely able to experience at Proxyclick.

That’s how I ended up skiing down the office stairs during our take on the mannequin challenge!


Mannequin challenge at Proxyclick 


I also became a member of the fun-team, a group formed during our company Barcelona trip where Lean principles were applied. Now we plan monthly fun after-work activities for the entire staff.

Our first activity was an office board game evening, and we’re now thinking of a virtual video gaming session to also involve our remote colleagues.


Give it a try!

Working in a startup means: More impact, more liberty, more fun, but also more challenges. It may not always be easy, but it has consistently been stimulating and exciting.

Being involved in so many development projects in such a short time frame made me realize how much additional experience and knowledge I gained which would be much harder in any other context.


Each team member has an own toolbox to store his/her belongings


Maybe the startup environment is not for every developer.

However, I certainly recommend it to anyone who seeks to advance their skills and have a chance to make a big impact with their efforts...


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