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Learning has a way of increasing job satisfaction and giving you opportunities for larger scope in the future. You can get that in big tech too: my first four years out of college, I was fortunate enough to have some incredible teammates who seemed like gods, and they taught and showed me things it would’ve taken me years to learn on my own, if I ever did.

But then I switched teams and stuck around for 5 more years before leaving out of boredom. I joined a startup, and learned far more in that first year than the last five years in Big Tech. In the span of two years I went from not really knowing how SSL worked to being the architect and primary coder for a couple kubernetes deployments with a few dozen services.

The thing about big tech is that you become super specialized. Sometimes that’s fine, like if you’re a kernel hacker earning $$$, but if you join the wrong team then your world just shrinks.

I don’t ever want to go back to working on a tiny piece of something, even if that something has millions of users. Even if nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, and everybody’s gonna die, I still like the feeling that the work I do somehow matters to the people using the product.

So a dev team of less than 10 is probably the sweet spot for me.

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