There are nearly 525,000 software scale-ups in the United States, and each one regularly competes with large corporations and enterprise organizations for talent acquisition, specifically for engineering roles. Common stereotypes of startups, like lower salaries, limited room for career advancement, and lack of resources, make recruiting for these positions especially difficult for those smaller businesses. But despite certain risks associated with scale-up life, there’s a steady stream of talented individuals taking that leap of faith by leaving their enterprise job to advance their career at a software scale-up.

One of those people who took that leap is me. A year ago I left my role as an electrical engineer with PTS Diagnostics, a medical device manufacturer, to pursue new career aspirations with Greenlight Guru, an Indianapolis-based medical device quality management system (MDQMS) software scale-up company. Everyone has their reasons for pursuing a career change. Here’s why I made the switch and some lessons I learned along the way.

Are you making a difference?

I was happy with my job, and of course, loved the intricacies that drove me to pursue a career in engineering in the first place. But I wanted a more interactive environment. I wanted to see the difference that was being made by the work I was doing on a daily basis. I knew I’d likely have to look at a smaller company to see those changes explicitly, which is the first reason I began considering life at a scale-up.  

Value company culture

I’ve always wanted to work at a company that values its culture. Not just a company that has their core values listed on the wall in the break room, but rather a company that truly believes in its core values, evidenced by the employees who stand behind and reinforce them day in and day out.

At Greenlight Guru, we have three core values:

  • Be innovative in everything we do – Because the rules and regulations medical device companies must follow are always changing, it takes creative and innovative solutions to keep our customers one step ahead. We pride ourselves on providing innovative and quality solutions for our customers which is why we build our entire culture on this premise.
  • True Quality is key – The very top-performing medical device companies view quality as a competitive advantage and embody it in every operational function of the organization. It is the responsibility of the entire company, not just the quality department.
  • Fanatical customer support – No issue is too big or too small. We believe in providing fanatical support to all of our customers. Your success is our success. We are very passionate about what we do and take improving the quality of life through our customers very seriously.

Of course, these values sound good in theory. But I can say during my time at Greenlight Guru, it’s very clear each of these values is important to every employee. From our CEO down to our entry-level hires, these values are constant throughout the work we do. It unites us as a team and helps us provide the best possible medical device QMS software solution to our customers.

Stick with what you love

Staying in a similar industry was also important to me as I looked for a change. I was working for a medical device manufacturer, and I really wanted to stay in the medical device field. Greenlight Guru was a perfect fit because of their medical device focus, but also provided a new perspective since we focus on a niche aspect of the industry.

Just do it

The main lesson I learned when changing careers, and ultimately making the leap to a scale-up company, was to just do it. It sounds easy, but many people weigh the pros and cons for months or years, meanwhile missing out on potential opportunities that are not guaranteed to last. I went into this job change knowing if I really didn’t enjoy it, I could always look for something else. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.

If you want to have a more rewarding experience in your professional life, you have to take the first step of exploring what’s out there, and not being scared to act on it if it feels right. If you’re worried about enjoying working with your peers, know you can create the camaraderie with coworkers in a smaller business the same as you can in an enterprise company. Be open to new ideas surrounding employment opportunities, and allow yourself to take risks. That’s what it takes to end up with a career you really love.