If you feel paralyzed at the thought of focusing on a specific role area, don’t! First of all, there is a lot of overlap in the skills needed to succeed at a number of roles. Also, just because you launch your career in one field doesn’t mean you are locked into doing that for the rest of your life. In fact, it’s very likely you won’t!
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to go wherever you can create the most value. Starting off your career in a role that you can absolutely crush will build a solid foundation and open the opportunity to grow into other roles in the future.
Every company has specific products or services—and it's up to sales to sell those things. A salesperson develops relationships with customers and partners. They have to overcome objections, negotiate prices and terms and often work internally to be sure their customers orders are filled. You don't have to be an extrovert. If you love building relationships and interacting with people, this could be for you.
At the simplest level, marketing is the process of getting customers interested in your product. It could be done through many different avenues, usually depending on the type of business. Most marketing roles can be boiled down to two types of roles—technical or creative. Marketing is a great place to launch your career, whether technical or creative, because it's often focused on learning about the customers and the business simultaneously. If you love answering "why" or you love creating, starting your career in marketing just may be for you.
Operations is managing and supporting the inner workings of a business to help it run efficiently. Working in operations often means taking care of background activities and creating process to minimize manual or repetitive work. Even if you aren’t front and center in the company, your work is essential in customers having a good experience.
In operations, it’s important to not only be a planner and an optimizer, but also someone who is constantly hungry for improvement and eager to learn new tools. If you have all of that, you’ll never be without a project. If you're organized, like to figure out how things work, and fixing things, then you might just be cut out to launch your career in operations.
Customer success is all about building relationships to ensure the satisfaction of your customers. Retaining customers and making sure they're satisfied with the value they receive is imperative to the livelihood of a business. This role is all about trust, communication, and creative problem solving. If you enjoy helping and interacting with other people, you may be a perfect fit to try out customer success.
Designers at most startups tend to fall into two categories: Graphic designers and UI/UX designers.
Graphic designers make graphics for the company. This can include posters, magazines, book covers, ads, social media assets, signage, icons, postcards, packaging, t-shirts, logos, etc. They help the company communicate their brand and products in a visual way.
UI/UX designers work with software engineers and product teams to design user interfaces. (This page was designed by a UI/UX designer!) They help users achieve their goals via design by making sure every step of the process makes sense and makes sense with how users are approaching and using the product. The best UI/UX designers make you feel like the digital product you are using was designed specifically for you and was a delight to work through.
Software engineers build software. This is primarily through writing code to run on various platforms, from the web, computers, and phones, to cars, microwaves, and airplanes. It isn’t all about writing code, though. Other aspects of software engineering include: Architecting solutions, implementing and testing those solutions, debugging problems they find, deploying the finished product, and maintaining and improving that software over time