My Education: BA, Economics
My Prior Experience: I was a computer programmer working at a small company that made home finance software.
My Company: We create specialized computers and software that allow telephone callers to interact with databases of information. For example, a nurse might call one of our systems to check on the status of a medical claim.
Job/Career Overview: Because I work for a small company, I get to work on a variety of projects each day, most of which I like, some of which I hate. As a manager, whenever possible, I try and have someone else do the projects I hate.
My best days involve working with customers on the design of their systems. I like to work on small projects that can get done in a short span of time - "short" meaning "under thirty days." Building things is cool. But I also do lots of technical sales where I talk with prospective customers and discuss how we could design products that will help their business. I like to do this too. I do not like paperwork, doing taxes, bookkeeping or anything that isn't directly building the business.
Although the products will be completely different, there are lots of small technology business that you might enjoy. Some may make you rich. Some may make you happy. Try to find one that does both.
More Insights: Big companies suck and offer no more job security than small companies. And then there's working for the government, but working for the government blows.
When you leave college, you may be the most technically advanced person at your company! Software technology in particular changes at a furious pace. Always keep learning and mucking around with new stuff.
Don't be a mushroom. Try to meet as many real customers, prospects, other technical people, as you can. Chances are the company you're working for won't make it, or your job will get boring, and you'll need to switch to another one.
As you continue to work, remember that really good project managers are pure gold and we'll always have job opportunities. 90% of being a good project manager is asking people what they're going to accomplish during the next week and then asking them if they've done it. Always make sure you have the power to fire someone or get them off a project.
If you're over 16, try to avoid ever taking dead-end jobs.
Learn to write well. Read the Economist.
I rate this career 7 out of 10.
the best parts of the job are product development and design, working with new technology, working with other technical people, my flexible schedule and the rapid completion of projects.
The not so hot parts of the job are the sometimes long hours and sometimes rocky finances and having to do stuff, on occasion, that in a larger company someone else would do.
With any small tech company follow the advice below. Just trust me on this:
1. Don't be afraid to bail.
2. Keep your home finances manageable so you can exit and survive for a few months without a job.
3. Always try and get some stock (or options) in the company.
4. The person who is running your company has no idea what he or she is doing, but that may not matter.
5. Making rapid bad decisions is almost always better than delaying a decision.
6. Pay your taxes.