I am 24 and I have been working as a programmer for about 5 years (I skipped university/college, got intership right after school and I got hired permanently).

I have been thinking about starting my own to tackle a problem my parents used to have. I have enough saved to last me about 2 max 3 years.

My question is in case I fail (let's be honest, it happens) and I need to get a job. How badly my career would be damaged, how hard it would be to find another job?

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    No need to be honest. According to Fortune magazine, up to 60 % of startups fail. If there is a recession, it can rise to almost 80 %. But I believe that's because people are forced to start businesses without the drive and skills for it when no one is hiring. – Juha Untinen Jun 9 '18 at 16:08
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    No an answer to you question but... 24 is a great age to do risky things if you have no dependants, long time to save for retirement, etc. – Ben Mz Jun 9 '18 at 22:25
  • Many people do their start ups as second jobs. You can work on it over evenings and weekends without having to quit your existing job. This would be worth considering especially if your start up needs several months of development of an MVP before eving attempting to aquire beta customers. – Glen Pierce Jun 10 '18 at 5:26

I don't think it will damage your career at all. If you would be interested in working for another startup in the future, having startup experience would be a huge asset. Not all programmers do well in an environment where they have to do work outside of their specialization or have to accomplish something useful with vague and/or shifting requirements, so other people who run startups might very well leap at the chance to hire someone who likes that kind of work.

You could run into people (if you look for another job as an employee) who will be worried that you'll just ditch them when you have enough money saved up to try another startup, but it's pretty simple to say that you tried the startup thing and discovered it's just not for you. Note that that doesn't have to be strictly true, I don't think employees are any more obligated to disclose all of their potential future plans any more than companies are obligated to give you months of notice that they're going to lay you off. Even people who do plan to stay at a given company for the long term change their minds.

Now, what really could damage your career is if you spend months or years on your startup and end up with nothing to show for it. So, uh, don't do that :) But seriously, as long as you have a reasonable amount of code to show potential employers, you'll be fine. And keep in mind that running a startup involves a huge amount of non-code work, so you don't actually need a huge amount of code.

End of advice about what you actually asked, beginning of advice about starting your own startup:

Please please please don't quit your job immediately. Build a teeny tiny proof of concept (maybe a checklist or a mini-course or a small tool) in your free time and see if anyone is willing to give you money for it. Friends and acquaintances saying your project sounds cool is not enough, you need people who are willing to part with actual money before you even consider quitting your job. It's extremely common for friends and acquaintances to tell you your product is great when they would never actually pay real money for it because they're too nice to say they don't care about the thing you built. If you need more time to work on your product, see if you can negotiate a shorter work week in lieu of a raise or something.

edited to fix a typo


The impact of a startup on your career depends on the choices you'll make as its founder. If you show that you have been able to build a team, a product and a customer base, even if you fail your experience will make you invaluable to most employers.

However, not all companies appreciate "entrepreneurial spirits", so it also depends on who you would be looking to join in the future, case by case. Probably introducing yourself as a former entrepreneur will help filter out micromanaging environments, and that will also be a plus.

If you have a budget and a timeline, I would recommend going for it.


If you think about starting a company, your concern shouldn't be how this will affect your employment chances, your concern should be whether you have a chance for success.

You want to tackle "a problem your parents used to have". How many people have this problem? How much are they willing to pay for solving the problem? How many of those with the problem, and willing to pay, can you reach? How much does it cost you to help each one? Does your idea create a profitable business if everything goes right? One that pays you more than spending the same time on risk free employment?


What kind of career do you want to have in the future? Do you want to try to climb the latter in a company or you want to make your own path?

If you are a front-end developer, jobs as freelancer won't be hard to find even if your project goes south.

Honestly, I would advise before going in an all-in in your project, keep your job, and invest all your free time to do an MVP (minimum value product), test and get feedback from the market before releasing the security rope (actual job).

It is always easy to say that I can stay 2 years living out of my savings but causes a huge frustration, every month that passes and you see your saving getting smaller, trust me it stresses you.

You are young and motivated, I am pretty sure that you will be able to manage both things at the same time, you will sleep less for sure, but I believe that is manageable to keep your job and build your proof of concept at the same time.

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