Do Most Technologists Work for Big or Small Companies?

Tech giants such as Microsoft and Google employ hundreds of thousands of technologists. As new data makes clear, however, the majority of technologists actually work for small companies—between two and nine employees, in many cases. 

That data comes from the latest Stack Overflow Developer Survey, which asked almost 55,000 employees about the size of their employer. As you can see from the chart below, only a small (but somewhat significant) percentage of respondents worked for a company with more than 5,000 employees:

Your company’s size can impact your career in any number of ways. The tech giants obviously have the resources to pay premium compensation for talent; a software developer at Google, for example, is likely to make significantly more than one at a small startup that’s perpetually strapped for cash. Larger companies also shower technologists with perks and benefits that smaller organizations simply can’t afford.

However, smaller companies offer autonomy, speed, and flexibility that tech giants simply can’t match—which is one of the key reasons why many technologists leave companies that grow too big and bureaucratic, no matter how fat the paychecks. At an organization with only a few hundred people (or even fewer), a lone technologist can make decisions that have a wide-ranging impact not only on the tech stack, but also the overall strategy.

According to Dice’s latest Salary Report, technologists aren’t as interested in “fancy” benefits such as an on-site gym as they are “basic” ones such as healthcare and PTO. That being said, there’s a “benefit gap” between what technologists want and what employers are willing to offer. For example, 68 percent of technologists say training and education is an important benefit, but only 45 percent received it from their employer (a 23 percent gap). Meanwhile, 80 percent of technologists say that 401(k) matching/pension is an important benefit, yet only 65 percent can access this benefit (a 15 percent gap). 

No matter what the company’s size, you can often negotiate for what you want when coming onboard. The key during such negotiations is to show how a benefit can improve things for both you and the company. Education and training, for instance, can not only boost your skill-set, but also improve the company’s attempt to deliver on its overall tech strategy.