The recent years have seen a burst in the number of students opting for engineering for their bachelor’s degree. That is because for the better part of the previous decade, engineering has proven to be a reliable field. This reliability is in terms of job security, which for most intermediate students is the first criterion while selecting a career path.
But the picture has changed in the past couple of years. With many previously promising job options becoming redundant, and the new and shining IT industry quickly becoming clogged, engineers without jobs have become common.
But a fading way of doing things always makes way for a new one. And the newest one on the block is the startup culture. When you first think about it, you don’t see what could go wrong. Glorious rags to riches examples like Flipkart, Paytm, Ola, etc,(here is a list of the top 100 startups in India in the year 2016 for your reference: https://yourstory.com/2017/01/india-100-top-startups-2016/) combined quickly with the desperation of the unemployed engineer. Very soon, every other B.Tech degree holder wanted to start something up.
But we need to look more closely and carefully. Because the stakes are often everything that the entrepreneur has to offer and we don’t want that to amount to nothing due to a rash decision. We need to pro-con the situation.
Startups, the ones that aim to emulate success stories like the ones that inspired them in the first place, need an idea to begin with. The idea must be unique, something the world needs, something that solves a problem faced by a large number of people. Sounds simple enough. But unique, easy to execute and potentially profitable ideas are hard to come by. And it is hard to be the pioneer in this market buzzing with ideas. You will most likely walk on an already trodden path, and that means competition. Even completely new ideas don’t always spell success. It might not play out like you planned.
But it doesn’t just stop there. This, in fact, is the biggest misconception, that all you need is an idea. That is not the case. The next most important thing is capital. This can prove even harder to come by. And considering we are talking mostly to young fresh undergrads, large amounts of money can be hard to come by. Loans are an option, but your confidence in your ability to pay it back is a big factor.
Next comes staff. It can be difficult to hire a reliable and dedicated work force, given that you can’t guarantee a stable and high salary, long term job security, and other related benefits. Because startups can’t offer these, they find it difficult to assemble a good work force.
And the market will always be hostile to new competition. Competition also applies to established companies. But having a share in the profits means an equal share in the losses. Being the one at the wheel can prove a bittersweet experience. And startups have it harder due to lack of experience.
Also, apart from your idea, whatever that may be related to, you need to have good business sense, or hire someone reliable with good business sense, maybe with a degree in business administration. That, again, can be tricky.
But there are many benefits. And all the hardship and risk might just lead you to success.
The conventional job market can prove rigid towards change at times, and your new idea might not be accepted openly by your bosses. And there is always the risk of you not getting the full credit for your idea. If you have an idea, and you have such doubts and fears, you might want to consider startups seriously.
The world, specially with regards to science and technology, is changing fast. Many fields that look promising right now might become redundant 5 years from now, taking down with it many secure looking jobs. So your seemingly crazy idea could be the way to go.
There is always the charm of being your own boss. Not having to follow orders. And it doesn’t seem like there is as much money in the job you will most likely get as is in running your own business. But this is a tricky one. You should think this one out very carefully, and only invest when you are absolutely sure.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, there will always be those who aren’t cut out for the 9-5 jobs, the ones that have a different pattern. If you are one of them go for it by all means. 10 years down the line, you might just end up speaking at the Harvard commencement!