Dima Korolev has worked at Google, Facebook and Microsoft, so he’s got a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of each company as an employer. He worked on search quality and Gmail reliability at Google for a couple of years, then went to Microsoft, again working on search quality and also airfare prediction. After that, he moved on to Facebook, where he spent about a year working on spam issues. Then he decided he’d be happier working for startups.
Business Insider interviewed Korolev about his career path, especially the time he spent working at three of tech’s biggest brands. From the post, we learn:
- Google is a great place to start your career, “an amazing place for a junior engineer to learn.” Google’s culture lends itself to education on the job, Korolev says, because you get to work with smart and experienced people who are happy to help new people learn.
- Facebook emphasizes results over processes. The company “tries hard to look like a small organization, and they succeed…. There’s not much structure in engineering. There aren’t procedures in how to work with the code and site.” Korolev describes Facebook as “a lot of independent teams who are using their own methods to keep it running.” But, he notes, that kind of approach isn’t for everyone.
- It probably comes as no surprise to hear that Microsoft’s more buttoned down. That doesn’t mean it’s not focused on its workforce, though. “Once you join the company, they want you to stay, and they’re there to support you,” Korolev says. The company’s a great place for people who take a long-term view and aren’t afraid to push their ideas.
Korolev observes that corporations and startups have a lot in common “if it’s apparent to everyone that a project has to go where it’s going.” The differences become apparent when a project gets into trouble, or has to morph: Big companies can allocate more resources to an effort, or refocus it, or shut it down with few consequences. At startups, time and financial pressure are going to raise the stakes for everyone, often with the company’s very future at risk. “Many times it just doesn’t work,” he notes. “Which then you have to find a new job.”
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