If you’re a fresh grad in the tech industry and have aspirations to start your own company one day, there are only three options you have:
- First one’s obvious – start a company right away. Cost of doing a startup is low, and you chalk up a ton of learning. There are a lot of caveats here:
- Only do it if you have an idea you are willing to dedicate a majority of your next 5 years to.
- Only do it if you can afford to financially (read: no student loans).
- Doing a startup doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn everything you can about the business world. READ.
- Second is to learn how to build. I am not talking about working on one small part of a large technical system. I am talking about learning something end to end and seeing how it behaves in the real world. Often, these kinds of projects will only be available at small or mid sized startups.
- Third is to learn how to sell. Sales are the weakest areas within a typical tech startup in the early days. Master this skill and you will be invaluable to any company (and eventually to your own startup).
You’ll notice that to do #1, you need to do #2 or #3 anyway. For whatever reason, if you can’t do #1, focus on honing your building or selling skills. Having been part of large and small companies, it becomes very evident that these are the two bottleneck areas – things that the companies’ success or failure depends on. Don’t get me wrong – support functions like marketing, finance, analytics all go into better decisioning, but ultimately, all of the support goes into building or selling, so why not start your career there? That’e where you get your hands dirty.
Also read up on Andy Rachleff’s post on how to build a career in tech.