Software organisations as a place to work

Ruby Kolesky & Laura-Jane Booker
Ruby Kolesky & Laura-Jane Booker

2: Software organisations as a place to work

Software organisations are a type of technology company that focus on building software products. Software products are also sometimes referred to as applications (apps), programs, or platforms.

Some software organisations build products that every day consumers use. A few great examples are: Instagram, Gmail, online games, and your banking app. Others might build products for companies which their employees use. A few examples are: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, an accounting system like Xero, and a Point of Sale (POS) system.

Software organisations, along with many other tech organisations, tend to pay well and offer flexible working arrangements.

Putting effort into creating a culture that is fun to be a part of is becoming the norm and not the exception.

Best of all, due to the skills shortage and variety of roles, many people’s careers progress faster than they would in other industries.

"Working for Joyous is more fun than you’d imagine. We do lots of activities to get to know each other and build relationships. People are always willing to support me which takes a lot of stress out of the equation.”

Salaries

Most roles within the tech industry are well paid. Entry level salaries are often between $60k-$75k per year. These roles (such as a software engineer, or a software product manager) can lead to salaries of over $100k per year within five years – without manager responsibilities.

Many high performers achieve salaries of over $100k within three years.

With manager responsibilities - meaning people report to you- roles go beyond $150k per year and as high as $250k+ depending on the role and organisation.

Ways of working

One benefit of working in tech is that often you only need a computer and a desk to do your job. Therefore, it is common for organisations to offer people flexible working arrangements.

Many will allow people to work fully remotely on a permanent basis, meaning that as long as you have a good internet connection, it doesn’t matter where you live.

Others offer a mix of working from home and working at the office. For people working at home, equipment is often supplied.

Collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are commonly used for people to work together remotely. New starters receive plenty of on the job training and mentoring in their first year.

And for many organisations, fostering a mentoring culture is how they develop their people, thereby helping them to progress their career.

Career progression

As mentioned before, due to the skills shortage and variety of roles, many people’s careers progress faster than they would in other industries.

Most roles have levels of seniority that help set a common understanding around responsibility, expected throughput and salary. Most commonly, there is junior (sometimes referred to as associate), intermediate and senior.

Fig 1. Levels of seniority.png Figure 1 - Levels of seniority

Typically, you’ll stay at one level between 1-3 years depending on how fast you develop. Beyond that, there are opportunities to shift into other areas, for instance from an engineering role into a product role or data science role.

There are also many opportunities to become a team leader, and further leadership opportunities beyond that.

Culture

Many tech organisations are focused on building a diverse culture that is inclusive of all types of people. They are striving towards a transparent, open environment – one where everyone can participate in the conversation with an equal voice.

From a social perspective, many make an effort to hold regular social events, and create opportunities for people working in different locations to get to know each other virtually. It is common to be invited out for a lunch, or enjoy a sponsored lunch in the office.

Often there are also smaller social groups that are formed around common interests such as board games, or sports teams.

Perks

Depending on the age, stage, and values of an organisation, many also have a great set of perks. Health insurance, free counselling services, parental leave benefits, and additional days off are becoming more common place.

Many also have benefits for further learning and development opportunities such as study benefits.

Finally, earlier stage tech companies, known as start-ups, often have an employee share scheme. These shares have the potential to become worth a substantial amount further down the track if the company succeeds.

When selecting an employer, make sure you take the time to understand their perks. It might help you get a sense of what it will be like to work for them.

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