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Working for a Small business- am I missing out?

By camis05 ·
I'm a recent graduate and am working for a small business - I am the IT dept. My daily tasks are combination of Level 1 Helpdesk and report generation for management. I'm also responsible for introducting new technology to the company. I'm concerned that because I'm working with a small company that I'm missing out on huge learnings in an enterprise environment. My main concern is when I'm looking for another job that my skills won't meet the standard skillset of an IT worker. Any thoughts on how to make sure I stay competitive IT worker?

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by amcol In reply to Big Picture

You get just as much opportunity in larger organizations to "check out different technologies". The difference is that in a larger company you typically do so for legitimate business reasons...prototypes and evaluations, cross-training, bench strength development, things of that nature. In a smaller company, with no oversight and no direction, you're more likely to bring in something new simply because it's new and cool. That may be educational, it may be fun, but is it really in the best interest of the organization? In a larger company, with (hopefully) the benefit of wise gray haired management, you can learn new technology along with the business components of what you're doing. A much more well-rounded educational experience, IMHO.

That's not to say the small company experience doesn't have its advantages as well. You may be more likely to learn self-reliance and better develop independent thinking patterns. Depends what you want out of your career.

You're off base in saying that as a manager you wouldn't "ask someone to do something that I wasn't willing to, or not sure how to, do myself". That's not management, that's supervision, and very low level at that. The days when a manager was expected to know how to do all aspects of every job in his/her department are long gone. It's actually a rather profound disadvantage to manage in this pay short shrift to the strategic and leadership components of your job. The essence of good management is quite simple...surround yourself with high quality professionals, then get the **** out of their way.

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One thing to think about...

by osumiller In reply to Big Picture

I was taught fairly early in this business to hold dear the thought that "You can do it, you've just never done it before." Almost all problems that you will face in IT are not unique to you. Learn to google, and you can go far. Take this time to really broaden your experiences and when the time is right, market yourself by the monumental tasks that you have been successfull in.

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Good money & opps?

by ebeck In reply to Nah

If the money is good and keeps going up, and he has more chances to try new technologies it would be better to stay longer. It really comes down to the company. A good growth company continually expanding offers a large amount of autonomous growth for an IT group. Moving too quickly into a larger company may lead to boredom and being in an specialization you don't really like (once the standard big biz structured way of doing it sinks in).
But when it becomes routine and stale, I agree get out and move on.

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A small comany

by zlitocook In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

Is a great place to start out! They do not expect as much of you as a large company would and you can learn ways to do things that you would have to ask or wait for a mentor to get back to you. This can be demeaning to you and others at a large comany can be, well mean if you dont know how to do something.
This is your chance to learn more then any where else, you can learn how a company will do things and what you are expected to do.
I like to work for small companys because it is easyer to get a job done and people like you because you do a good job!
Watch and learn!

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stick with 'em

by mmarkett In reply to A small comany

I agree with the sentiment that you should stay where you are for a couple reasons.

1. By being the go-to person in a smaller company it gives you an opportunity to get exposed to a wide variety of technologies and gain experience needed when/if you move on

2. Big companies may offer more opportunities but they also offer alot more beracuracy and more chances to get laid off on a whim. Most big companies are public and the ultimate boss is the shareholder, so if revenue projections aren't met the first place they look is to cut overhead (read - you)

You're making yourself invaluable to this company by doing it all, take it for what it's worth and enjoy the ride............

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The Grass is Always Greener ...

by Wayne M. In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

There are advantages to working at a small company and advantages to working at a large company. Each company is different, so focus on how you are feeling about the current situation.

Are you learning new things? Are you learning how to work with people? Do you like (or at least do not hate) going into work every day? Is the stress level within your enjoyable or tolerable range?

Get everything you can out of your current job. This is not a selfish approach; this will benefit both you and the company. After about two years take stock and look at advancement opportunities. They may be with the small company (it may grow) or they may be with a large company, but worry about that 2 years from now.

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Work Well -- Big Rewards

by w2ktechman In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

I currently work at a very large global company, but, I only support a small arena of the employees. There are several of us supporting 1 department.
Because of this, it seems more like a small company, and there are a lot of benefits to it. Especially customer satisfaction. People in this kind of environment are more appreciative than on a deskside team for the entire site or larger (trust me I have done that too). Job satisfaction is much, much better and I usually do not dread coming in.
But I still have some of the large company drawbacks, like reporting each call, detailed call text, counting how many calls I have on a day by day, week by week, and month by month basis. Cutbacks are not too uncommon either (large companies like targeting IT for cutbacks often).
Perks are that I do get training, even in things that are not really my job responsibility (more limited though). So, I guess I am in a pretty good position for now. But, as I only provide support for a small group, I am constantly being looked at for workforce reduction.
My advice to you is pretty much the same as many others, stay there for at least a year, and get some exp. under your belt. Find something that you would like to specialize in, or look into project management. While you are there, you will have days/weeks where you are really busy, and others where there may not be much going on. You can do some training at those slower times.

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by Simon Beck In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

Whether it be a small or large company, I always have the same outlook. Stay until I get fed up with the job, then look round for something new.

I don't see you missing out working for a small company. I personally prefer the atmosphere a small company has.

Ultimately it's up to you and how much you want out of life.

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Through the hoop little doggy

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

In my one man shop days. I was SQL server DBA, VMS and Windows Admin, senior devloper VMS and windows and webmaster, technical project lead, tea boy, code policeman, trainer, technical author, vendor liason and R&amp technician, overworked , underpaid deity.

So no you aren't unless you buy into the HR appreciation of our job. Don't think Master Of None, think multi skilled.

PS I'm not a one man shop anymore, concentrated client server development, being a one man shop is a lot of work and bugger all appreciation. But my one man shop experience has been very valuable.

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by IT Girl In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

i think when you're a recent graduate a small company is the best place to begin. you have a chance to sharpen up your skills as you donot get lost in the rumble as you would in a large company. small businesses as well, invest more in their employees (my experience) as you come out better for it. i am a recent graduate myself and currently employed in a small company and i love it. they are helping with any further srudies i have and there is afocus on developing me. yes it is in their best intrest as they gain from me knowing all this but i gain as well. if/when i do move on, i take alot with me. don't think of it for the money think of it for the experience. two years is a good time to stay if you really want to move from them. most places when they are looking for IT personnel they want at least 2 years.

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