I am a 1982 year guy, country: Poland..
I am just starting my career in
IT as a Java programmer. Indeed
I got a positive feedback from two of two in total companies I've been to on an interview. (I live in a small City (Poland) and there aren't many more companies of that kind in the place). I would be working with Java EE, EJB, Hibernate and Spring in both of the companies. The problem I have is with the choice of the one which would most probably give me good start into the IT industry. Below is given brief description of my abilities, the long-term goals I want to pursuit, and of course the important facts about these companies. I would very grateful for any advice.

I am in the middle of my MA course. My strongest skill is in JavaSE. I have a knowledge of the several most common APIs. I am currently developing my own project from the ground (i.e. requirements analysis, and functional project) up in a cascade manner. I have also knowledge in other technologies. C/C++, Pascal, SQL, UML. I have no job experience. My pursuit is to become more and more knowledgable and skillful in the area of software development. I mean it in general - all software life-cycles are very interesting - especially I don't specify any specific technology I want to work with (well... I'm keen on Open Source).

Both of the comapnies are involved in making and integrating the software for individual businnesses. The software is made for the purpose of easy and efficient businness information circulation in distributed environment. MRP, CRM are some of the therms used. That software is made, as I mentioned earlier, for the JavaEE platform with extnsive use of EJB, Hibernate, Spring and others.

The first company is an italian one, which started its businness in 2003. In Its initial department in Italy are made actually all of the work but the programming. The programming job is delagated to the department where I might start working soon. That department operates since 2006 and consist of 10 developers. Rather small bussinnes I would think.

The other company is... one person company. He started it 5 months ago. He's developing now a software for some furniture maker - with monthly reviews, harmonograms and pays. He published the job vacancy info over 2 months ago, and... I was his first candidate, though very successful - he told me that (that is a kind of information people ususally try to hide)

Both companies interviewers made a very good impression on me. Both companies have a well designed websites. Well, this might not be very important factory of course, unless... we are talkin about one-person-company - and his website looks as if his company was SOMEWHAT bigger, which I think speaks very good about him.

Okay. Now here's my problem: which company to choose to start my career with? Well I got some pieces of advice already, which tell me to choose the bigger one, with some position and experience in the industry (the italian one). My friend (with longer experience) tells me that there are much better chances, that I will learn THE GOOD PRACTICES in that company THAN with that guy, who is just starting. Well this might be quite true. However certainly it doesn't mean that there are NO ANY chances that he has got a good experience and will try to run the businness in professional way (as opposed to amateurish ad-hoc practices) - it's just less likely.

I got VERY GLAD, when during the interview I got to know that I would be his first employee. I would have much more contact (and closer contact) with an excperienced developer than if I worked in a team! :) The other pros of that position is
the fact that I would have an opportunity to get involved in all of the software life cycles - NO just the coding and unit testing. Even more... watching close how such business is being run. Well... on the flip side I agree that It would be best for me to anyway engage in coding only NOW - NOT TO DO EVERYTHING. Still another one pros for one-guy-company: immediate impact of my work on suuccessfulness of the businness, feeling of close involvment and what's best - enjoyment of building something from grounds... :)) Hmmm sounds too romantic?? Maybe. Maybe You could give me Your opinion, please?

If you came to this point reading through all this looong article - Thank You!

Bartek (Balet)

Recommended Answers

All 9 Replies

You can work as freelance programmer then.

Well, I am very happy with these job offers. Even more : my first dream has come true! The high time to work towards next one now!

What's crucial here: I need badly some work with a face to face contact with the team. I have learned myself for good tqo years myself just on my own. With a bit of mentoring from my brother (experienced IT professional). I am fed up being locked up in my room. What's more how can I learn and pick up the best practices in the industry not being with people.

I don't think you can lose which ever you go for. A small company gives you hands-on responsibility in a real-life situation, which is very valuable. And like your friend says, a big company helps you learn good business practice, which will also be needed at some point in the future I imagine.

I think that for the kind of freedom you seem to want, the Sole Proprietorship business is the way to go, they usually are more flexible than Small-Medium Sized Companies that have been around for some time.

But all in all, the decision has got to come down to you, and what is most important is for you to do what you want and love to do. Just my 2 cents, remember, "You rise and fall by your own actions". All the best!

It's really about what you're looking for and how comfortable you are with risk. The italian company sounds like the sweet spot for a medium term programming job. It's large enough to be stable, but not so large you'll be unimportant. Where the single programmer job is riskier but has an opportunity to start from the bottom with the company. If that company hires 10 more people you'll be the senior programmer, if the Italian company hires 10 more people, you're still a code monkey.

My two cents is that if you have a year or two left in your masters the smaller company could be a good thing. It will probably give you more flexibility for school, and you're probably going to be looking for a better job when you get your MS anyway (unless this company takes off under you) so the risk probably isn't such an issue.

You might be able to take the Italian job and do a little freelancing with the other guy. Give you some extra cash, shield yourself from instability in the small company, keep your option open at that company if the larger one doesn't work out, and put you at the top of the list down the road if he starts expanding.

Thank you for your advice!
My decision is: the Italian company.
The most important factor was the PEOPLE.

As I mentioned I am desperate to start working with people - I want to get into the Industry - I don't want to stay in my room alone and to ask endless questions on "what would be better" to the wall oposite to my desk...

In that small comp. I would have contact just with one guy. Here I will have contact with more of them. Better chances to meet somebody I would really feel good with, maybe even a friend...

The downside of this decision is something I didn't actually mention. I might start the job in some point in August. If made the other choice I would have already been employed for two weeks. And there are still (of course) little chances that I might not be taken to that Italian company - if it turns up for them that they do not need anybody. Certainly as I was told these are little chances - so everything should go allright.

And there is still a good chance that the guy from the cmall comp. would still need me (he had very serious problems to get anybody even interested in the job offer)...

That's life I suppose. You can't get away without any risk. Not in this industry. Do you agree??
Well this is actually something which gives some spice to your life. I would die from boredom if had just one job till 65 in accountancy (the latter factor is actually more than deadly...) :-))

When I spoke on the phone with the guy from the Italian comp. - I said would like to get started a bit with those technologies they use, and which I don't know at all.
(jsp, jsf, jpa with hibernate, getting familiarized with eclipse) . That is before I start working for them - to become even more potentially attractive worker.
Thus I spent most of my time in working with java now.

and thanks again for your advice

Good to hear, and well done, all the best. Hope your career progresses well.

Thanks! :)

Hard not to admit that the learning just on my own, what I'm doing now as to prepare best for the up-comming employment and to show myself off from the best -

Millions of (detailed and more general) technical questions crowds in my head, even more than ever before, and uncertainty of whether I will prove capable enough to the job. I have had very little opportunities in my life to compare (and compete) with others in the area I am mastering.


I want to be a Java programmer too. Just because I like it .Thanks for sharing your experience !

Well that's a tough question. If you're a risk-taker, I might go for the single-person company, because you could move up and get in on the ground-floor of something that might be really big someday. I see a lot of potential in something like that, but on the other hand, a one-person business is more likely to fail, so there's where your risk comes in. The small business would be a safer bet, but high-level corporate positions might already be full, the owner might already have a right-hand man - possibilities that you could have for yourself with the one person show. So, I think the question you need to ask yourself, all other things being equal, is how much of a risk are you willing or able to take?

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