Common trends I see include gourmet snacks and meals, napping and Zen rooms, regular happy hours and subsidized parking and transportation costs. Larger, more established startups offer more practical services, like on-site laundry, car washes and access to doctors and dentists. Some startups will even cover 100 percent of their employees' benefits, offer free genetic testing and put money per month toward wellness activities like gym membership fees.That all-inclusive lifestyle comes at a cost. Startups often make steep demands on your time, with employees sometimes working 70 hour weeks (if not more). That’s not even during an Agile sprint; startups are frequently trying to get off the ground after taking venture capital, so the long weeks may have no light at the end of the tunnel. Download Dice's Salary Report Now!
Working at a startup is exciting. It’s also dangerous; no other type of company seems more open to disruption than a tech startup. Here’s how to know if it’s right for you. First, what is a startup, technically speaking? The dictionary defines it as “a business or an undertaking that has recently begun operation.” Speaking to Forbes a few years ago, startup founder Adora Cheung of Homejoy was bit more romantic, calling it “a state of mind.” Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham told Forbes that a company five years old can safely be called a startup, but that moniker “would be a stretch” at a decade old. Before its shutdown/acquisition the other week, light-field imagery company Lytro, founded in 2006, was considered by many a startup. Lytro sold to Google, after years of big promises to "disrupt" the photography market. By all accounts, it’s an ‘acquihire’: Google gets talented engineers, but has no plans to keep offering Lytro's product or services. That’s a fate that many startups (successful or not) meet. Ann King, co-founder of talent-matching company CVPartners, advises that working for a startup should be about the experience, not the moonshot (i.e., the big money you could potentially earn if the company goes public or is acquired). “It's important to pick a company or role where you not only feel challenged,” she tells Dice, “but also offers you the chance to learn from a mentor or manager that will help you grow and develop in your career.” Aside from big promises to change the world via their Uber-for-[insert service here], startups have to compete for talent at the bottom line, as well. The Dice Salary Survey shows the average income level for tech pros is reaching a plateau of late, with benefits becoming a new measuring stick. From King: