Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work in two startups. The first startup was a 9-person developer tooling company where we were able to stay competitive with bigger players in our vertical. As a junior software engineer at the time and the fifth member of the team, I was grateful for the experience that allowed me to wear multiple hats and fully experience the challenges of building a startup from the ground up. The second startup was a growth-stage company where I was able to experience scaling a sustainable business after finding product-market fit.
In my previous post about working in startups, I highlighted the benefits of working for a startup, especially if you are early in your career. However, it is important to note that not all startups are created equal, and the company's culture and team's ability to mentor and train junior employees are crucial factors to consider before accepting a job offer. It is essential to do your research and ask questions during the interview process to ensure that the startup's culture and goals align with your career aspirations.
If you've decided that working for a startup is the right path for you, keep reading for some of my tips on how to land a software engineering job at a startup.
- Work on open source projects. Especially if the startup has any open source projects, start contributing to them.
- Reach out to past or currents asking for more information and for a referral
- Check job boards such as AngelList, Wellfound, and Indeed for startup job postings.
- Attend networking events and conferences to meet people in the startup community and learn about job opportunities.
- Build a strong online presence by creating a personal website and GitHub profile showcasing your projects and skills.
- During the interview process, ask questions to learn more about the company culture, the team, and the role you will be playing and whether they have the resources to train a junior developer.
- Be open to learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities, as startups often require employees to wear multiple hats.
These were some of the steps I took to secure my past positions as well as offers from other companies. Remember, not all startups are created equal. It worked for me as the benefits outweighed of the early grind I had to put in. Not everything is set in stone in a startup but I thrive in a bit of chaos as well as I enjoy implementing different processes. The biggest advantage for me is two-fold - startups are often more flexible in remote-work which is a non-negotiable for me as traveling and nomading will always be a part of my life and secondly I have an immense interest in learning how startups are built.
Let me know if these tips are helpful and if you need me to expand on any of them!