Best Practices

What a Small Agency can Offer to a Senior Developer that a Big Corporation Cannot

Senior developers are at the top of the hierarchy in the development field. As a senior developer, there are high chances that you have championed numerous projects, planned deliverables, and mentored many teams. However, it is not unusual for senior developers to face a significant dilemma regarding their next career path. This often involves having to choose between joining small companies or large corporations.

There is no doubt that large corporations can be advantageous. The benefits and structure provide a semblance of balance. However, small agencies equally have extensive benefits, particularly for senior developers looking to make an impact and work on exciting projects.

Why You Should Opt for Small Agencies

Ability to Make a Difference

Small agencies often operate on the strength of small teams. Thus, as a senior developer, you will likely be involved in impactful projects that make a significant difference in the market. While senior developers are undoubtedly at the top of the hierarchy in large corporations, the work executed by these developers can easily be lost in the storm of similar tasks. Tasks are split across teams, thus, you would find that your work might only have minimal impact in the grand scheme of things. The narrative is largely different in small agencies. There, you can get involved in building products that will ultimately be released to the market to solve users' problems. Your insight and experience will be beneficial in guiding the company in building a viable product. 

More Flexibility and Autonomy

In most cases, small agencies are better to achieve flexibility and some form of autonomy. This is particularly vital for senior developers that have worked endlessly within the fixed structures established by large corporations. Such developers are often looking out for opportunities that provide enough flexibility to achieve work-life balance at that stage of their careers. Small companies are well-positioned to provide such benefits. Many of these companies provide remote work options to employees. Also, joining a small company as a senior developer gives you wider autonomy. As stated earlier, senior developers work within fixed structures at large corporations, and this reduces autonomy. 

Ability to Wear Many Hats

As a senior developer at a small agency, your roles are not necessarily restricted. Many small agencies do not have the resources to hire multiple developers with senior-level experience, thus, you will likely have to delve into many tasks. However, this gives you ample opportunity to work across numerous functionalities, especially within the context of small agencies. 

Wider Leadership and Mentorship Opportunities

While there is no doubt that large corporations give senior developers mentorship opportunities, such mentorship is often restricted to specific teams. However, senior developers in small agencies have the opportunity to mentor teams working on varying projects. Also, as stated earlier, small agencies rarely have multiple senior developers on board. Hence, you will likely have numerous leadership opportunities in a small agency. You will also have more opportunities to directly impact junior developers since you will likely be working closely in small teams. 

Fast-paced Environments

If you are a senior developer who has worked extensively in large corporate organizations, you would agree that monotony is not uncommon. You would often be delegated specific projects to work on for months. This situation is largely due to the availability of enough human capital to spread tasks as much as possible. However, small agencies are more agile and fast-paced. New tasks and nuanced problems regularly arise. Given your position as a senior developer, you will likely be heavily involved in solving those problems. Thus, if you intend to work on exciting and less monotonous tasks, small agencies are likely your best bet. 

Choosing the Right Small Agency to Work For

Understand Their Expectations

Small agencies are constantly seeking ways to maximize their few resources to compete with established companies and achieve ambitious goals. However, it is important to understand the scope of an agency's expectations before deciding to work for them. This is because some expectations might not necessarily fall within the scope of responsibilities you will be comfortable undertaking. Companies that propose large workloads or vague responsibilities might not necessarily be suitable for you, especially if work-life balance is your priority. 

Conduct Research on the Company

Unlike large corporations, some small agencies barely have any credibility. Joining such companies can be a huge mistake, as the agency could ultimately fold up. This could easily land you back in the job market with minimal security. Thus, you must thoroughly research the agency before accepting an offer. Check out the founders' credibility and possibly their funding background. These insights will help you make informed decisions on whether the agency is worth investing your experience in. 

Ensure You Believe in the Product

The crux of every agency is the product. The agency's growth prospects are solely dependent on how much traction the product drives in the market. As an experienced developer, you will undoubtedly be able to make sound judgments on products that are likely to be successful and products that will ultimately fail. However, you must pitch your tent with a small agency only when you believe in the success potential of the product. This is vital because the company's survival chances can be drastically reduced in the absence of market acceptance or a strong user base.


As a senior software developer, your skills are undoubtedly in high demand in the labor market. However, you need to be intentional about choosing a suitable work environment for your next career path. Small agencies can provide a suitable environment for your next-level career goals.

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