Freshers and employees are frequently perplexed about what it’s like to work at a startup. I worked at a startup for 4 years before starting on my own. I was the 12th employee when I joined, and the company had 44 employees when I left.
Startups can be of two types: one that is funded and another that is not funded.
Whether a startup is funded or not, there are a few skills that investors expect.
1. The ability to learn at jet speed
Startups typically work on an idea. And everyone, senior or junior, needs to figure out how to convert that idea into an application or process. And there is no defined path that you can think through.
So whether it is technology or a domain, you should learn at jet speed to know how to do it. not only how to do it but also the best way to do it in terms of technology and usability. In these scenarios, your timing may not work well. So official work timings like “I will log in at 8:30 AM and log out at 6:30 PM and catch my bus” may not work.
And since the seniors are also in the same type of environment, they may not have time to tell you what to do; rather they will be very comfortable if you have done your own research and learning and show them something that they can see and believe.
2. Forget training or teaching—only reading, learning, and experimenting
A fresher should completely forget the words “training” and “teaching” to sustain speed. They should inculcate the habit of reading things much faster and also experiment with how to use the things that they have learned instead of how to tell what they have learned.
The Indian education system is all about how to read or listen to the teacher and reproduce it. But here you should quickly experiment or figure out where whatever you read is applicable, see how to apply it, and quickly confirm that the application is correct.
3. Learn more about the domain you are in
Traditional large corporations provide detailed coding specifications as well as extensive coding guidelines. But in startups, there won’t be anyone who can convert a prospective idea into a detailed specification. So you are expected to know the details, and that requires an extensive study on the domain side.
So you need to have the habit of learning the domain faster along with the technology so that you don’t make simple and silly mistakes when you deliver your work.
And when you are developing an idea, no one will give you the specifications or requirements. It is the team that comes up with the features that you need to develop, and everyone is expected to come up with ideas.
So all in all, “Intense Learning” is the only skill that you require.
4. Sense of Urgency
For every task that is given, it is not like a project manager will plan ahead and give you time to buffer. But life is all about accepting the fact that your manager expects you to deliver things yesterday after informing you today.
They are expecting you to proactively anticipate that he may require something and be ready with it so that they can make faster decisions and move ahead.
5. Ability to Stay Longer in the Company
Since they are expecting highly skilled people and developing them is a challenge, startups may want you to have more staying power and be emotionally stronger than at other companies where there is always a backup.
In real startups, every day is like an exam day, where everyone is busy and trying to cover the syllabus overnight. At the same time, you do not know for how many months this sense of urgency will continue.
The above may not be applicable to companies that are creating this kind of environment.
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