Tech’s Consumer Firms are Changing How We Live

The products we use on a daily basis shape our opinions of the companies that produce them. Be it email, e-commerce, or trying (sometimes in vain) to build the next great App Store juggernaut with a company-produced SDK, products frame experiences.

So many tech companies have become almost exclusively consumer-focused, even if they continue to maintain business-centric arms. When we built the Ideal Employer survey, we decided to include a separate breakout of those consumer-focused tech firms.

Google topped the list, and that’s no surprise: the company’s products (including its Android, Chrome, and Gmail platforms) serve billions of people and must offer features both powerful enough to get things done and simple enough for anyone to understand. That sort of interesting challenge is a key driver for tech pros of all demographics, and helped the search-engine giant seize that top spot. (Google dominated many of our breakout lists thanks to its mixture of solid pay and benefits, along with great culture.)

Coming in second place was Amazon, which touches pretty much every part of the consumer experience, from e-commerce to gaming to cloud to (real world) grocery shopping. Not only does the company dominate online retail; it’s also pushing into new areas that could turn into consumer-centric powerhouses, including artificial intelligence and digital assistants (case in point: the Echo hardware with its Alexa digital assistant baked in).

Google Bikes
If you work at Google, you can ride one of these bikes!

Although Microsoft now makes a substantial amount of cash from cloud infrastructure for businesses, it managed to place third on our list. The company’s consumer efforts include not only Windows, Office, and other branded platforms, but also the XBox gaming platform.

Peter Yang, co-founder of résumé-writing service ResumeGo, has spent considerable time around Microsoft employees. “Microsoft has its foot in just about every technology niche out there, so employees have the option to work on a plethora of different types of projects,” he said. “Employees are able to move from one area to another without losing seniority or worrying about a dip in salary. There is also no state income tax in the state of Washington where their headquarters is located, so employees can to keep more of what they earn.”

Facebook makes a strong showing in fourth place; the company, which is expanding from social networking to cutting-edge areas such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence (A.I.), is similarly known for its strong culture, which its senior executives have spent much time and care fostering over the years. Even the newest employees are given a degree of autonomy over their work that encourages them to think creatively and take risks; the office environment is tailored so that people can produce their best work.

Adobe Systems makes an appearance on this list in the fifth slot; as an older firm, it obviously has a well-developed culture that appeals to tech pros. The company’s products, which allow millions of users to run websites and manipulate images (among other tasks), enjoy widespread popularity; when you work on code at Adobe, you know you’re potentially having a huge global impact.

LinkedIn, Epic Software, Nintendo, Yahoo (now known as Oath) and PayPal also appear in the rankings. Clearly, these Ideal Employers offer tech pros a mix of the culture and benefits they need, even if they all serve radically different audiences. Plus, given their name-brand recognition, all look good on a résumé.