I am relatively new to the software industry. I have about 6 months college project experience and about 2 months actual industry experience for a small company. In this company i was exposed to technologies such as Struts, CVS,JSPs,Servlets and most of the Java/J2EE technologies and some of the backend stuff like SQL server. This is a product development company. I had already started coding and was doing good work in this company but I got another job offer from Lockheed Martin but with the same pay. I decided to quit my current company and join Lockheed as I felt that my current company although had very talented people, but was not organised in doing their work. And now I have joined Lockheed, but because of the technology exposure I was getting in my current company, I still work for them part time from home.
I am not very sure of the kind of assigments I will be getting at Lockheed but I presume that for starters such as I, I would not be exposed so much and it would involve more of documentation(requirements gathering,specs writing and prototyping) work rather than actual coding. I would of course be able to work later on the coding part but that would take minimum 3 - 4 months.
So I want to ask is whether I should continue to work at Lockheed or for the smaller company as I am really confused. I know if I ask, i will be given an oppurtunity to work in my current office again.
My goal for the next 6- 8 yrs is to become a software architect in Java/J2EE technology.
One of my friend suggested that i work for a small company initially and then when I do become more experienced I could maybe switch over to a larger organisation.
I would be grateful if there are any advices or suggestions.
I think there are a lot of strengths and weaknesses to either environment.
However, let me skip to a more important fact, working at Lockheed Martin is a big deal and a great career step. Even if you may not like the large company environment as much, it still worth doing for a couple of years or so. Many other big name companies will see that on your resume and take instance interest.
Now, I'm not saying working at a small company is bad. It's mostly about what kind of experience you can gain at any place. At the same time, it's good to have some big names on your resume. I know that, despite being a huge employer, having Citigroup experience has been a big boon to me.
Also, you have very ambitious and aggressive career goals. I'm not saying making architect in 8 years is impossible, but it becomes a lot more difficult if you are not in a company with a strong technology focus that also offers upward mobility. A good example, since leaving a former employer I have since moved up beyond all of my co-workers in my career ladder. The only person I have not moved beyond is my manager. Some of my co-workers were extremely skilled. They are not moving up because they are incompetent, they are not moving up because they work for a retail company that doesn't really offer much of a technology career path.
Something to consider. Personally, I think Lockheed is going to open doors for you. It also has a reputation for being tough to get your foot in the door. Maybe things have changed, but I can't really see that. They have always seemed pretty insular. Not taking the job may be throwing away an opportunity that will likely never present itself again.
I am really grateful and thankful for your advice. As you have mentioned, I think you are right and that I should give it a try for atleast a year. I am quite young and I guess one year in LM would add a good experience in my resume and I hopefully should not lose touch with the technology.
Moreover its possible that they may not consider me worthy of their organisation. So I'll give it my best shot and then wait and see what happens.
May not be all that bad. In some ways they may be testing you to see if they want you to work in development. If you can do good at the other tasks, which really are foundational to software design, you could be proving your worth.
Might be worthwhile after you hit that 3 month mark to start hinting around about more challenging work.