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Would a developer/tester position at Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. (any large tech. company of which most people have heard) be more valuable on a resume than working as a developer/tester somewhere where tech. isn't the main objective (shipping company, restaurant chain, insurance company, etc.)?

Let's say you have two offers, and you only plan to stay with whichever company for 5 years, before trying to get a better position at a different company. One at Google that has a starting salary of $60,000, and one at some insurance company that has a starting salary of $80,000.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... with university's, if someone graduates from MIT or Carnegie Mellon, they can pretty much get a job anywhere. Does someone seem more valuable after having worked at a company like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.? In other words, would taking the lower paying job be better in the long run since it's at Google, or would it be better to take the higher paying job at the insurance company?

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closed as off topic by Walter, Mark Trapp, pdr, StuperUser, Dynamic Oct 15 '12 at 19:11

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I don't think school names count for much when you are hired as a developer. The first thing any interviewer will do is sit you down and ask you to solve some problem (on the whiteboard) if you can't do that you are not going to get the job. – Loki Astari Jan 14 '11 at 5:46
@Martin Some HR people and IT Managers does care about the school, altought I agree it shouldn't... – umlcat May 9 '11 at 20:57
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The "resume-value" is immediately associated with the ability of a company to communicate to their employee an amount of professional knowledge and improve their professional skills.

Google/Microsoft are definitely better at it than some insurance company.

Their knowingly strict hiring processes is another "reference" to their employees, a guarantee that the one has some minimum level to have been accepted.

This is however dependent on what you do there. If you don't get to do much development, then your growth may be limited. There have been cases people came to those big and quickly left soon afterward completely frustrated.

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One of the things about the first job is you look only at the salary.

$80K Vs 60K

You're pure salary is about 1/3 of your cost to the company. The question is where the company is putting the other 2/3. What other benefits are you getting out of it.

  • What's the difference in cost of the medical plans
    (not a high on the thoughts of a college grad but its important).
  • How many vacation days (Do you care if its 5 or 15)
  • Whats the dress code (OK not that big a deal for a first job)
  • What education are they going to give you (I know you thought that was over. Ha Ha)
  • What are the office perks
    (free food? free dry cleaning. These are all minor but motivating)
  • etc All the intangibles add up.
  • Oops nearly forgot Pension
    • Pension
    • Options
    • Bonus
    • Employee stock purchase plans
    • All things worth asking about in the interview.

Using the first job as a stepping stone is fine. Its not really who you work for, but what you did while you were there. How do you improve yourself. Do you get exposed to new technologies. How much responsibility did you gain while you were there.

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+1 for mentioning education. – Adam Lear Jan 14 '11 at 13:23

I would say a $100k is worth more than saying you worked at Google. The type of work you did is more important than where you worked. Where you went to school certainly helps getting that first job, but after that experience holds more weight.

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I think the experience you'd get at Google (or a similar tech-oriented company) would trump almost anything you'd ever do at an insurance company in a software development capacity. – Adam Lear Jan 14 '11 at 4:48
I don't know if that is true. I can see plenty of opportunities for web development, database development, rate quoting software, data mining. I think you would be surprised what's out there. – Pemdas Jan 14 '11 at 4:58
@Anna Lear: I completely disagree. The problem spacers are different. I would not give an ex-google employee any better chances than a ex-GEICO employee. I am sure they have to be just as professional and diligent in their work. I bet they were given just as many challenges. As a result I am much more interested in what they learned at each position and how they think it is useful. – Loki Astari Jan 14 '11 at 5:59
@Pemdas @Martin York: Interesting points, thank you. I'm still coming at it from the overall dev culture perspective. It seems to me that for a new developer, a more software oriented company may be beneficial as they usually have a better emphasis on the software development rather than whatever their actual core business is (i.e. selling insurance). But you're right, this can definitely vary. – Adam Lear Jan 14 '11 at 13:22
I also think it's better in general to have a Google on your resume than to have "random company X". Sure there will be particular hiring managers who understand that it's the experience more than the place that counts, but I don't think would be the case in general... – Dean Harding Jan 14 '11 at 15:10

It does not matter whether you work at Google, Facebook or whatever is the flavor of the season. Of course, that you got in there implies a certain amount of intellect but beyond that it's the quality of the work that you do that counts.

I think you should just concentrate on doing quality work, and work in a place where your work has some impact on the company performance.

Don't just accept a $100K desk job where all you do is make some minor incremental changes to the software and fix that occasional bug. That's what eventually makes a terrible resume.

It's also a good idea to explore related technologies that you are working in, frameworks, what's happening in the same space in open source etc.

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Of course it matters... at least to companies that value such things, and there's plenty of companies out there that do.

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