Product Companies vs Service Based Companies : What should you choose?

A few months ago I had a discussion with one of my friends about working in product based companies. My friend had a pretty interesting career curve — Engineer to Business Development Associate to Social Media Manager to Marketing Analyst to Product Manager. I was looking at career options and wanted inputs about working in product based companies. Along the way I found out that people who work in product based companies have some misconceptions of service based companies as well. For example, my friend thought that manager designations were handed out easily in service based companies and wondered about what they actually do.

Here are the facts (based on my research):

Product based companies generally involve a lot of creative work and do not have a “set of rules” to adhere to while doing their work. A huge premium is placed on ability to innovate and contribute to original work. If you are someone who likes their duties clearly delineated, product based companies are not for you. Scrum (an agile methodology framework) is used to measure incremental progress. Product based teams are smaller compared to those in service based companies.

Service based companies typically provide support for the maintenance of a product/project and the people engaged in supporting the product/process typically execute their roles by providing proven solutions (as per SOP) for the issues they handle. Creativity is usually limited to teams that are involved with automation or process re-engineering .Techniques like Six Sigma and Lean are used to identify and implement process improvements. For Technical Support projects, much importance is attached to the certifications completed. The type of troubleshooting is usually confined by the framework of the product supported.

The challenges faced varies depending on the business,company and the domain.So, whether one works in a product based company or service based company, both make contributions to the bottom line of a business.

Though, I have never worked in a product based company it appears to me that people generally would be happier while ideating,creating and executing rather than just executing (which happens more often than not in service based companies).

At the end of the day, you should pick what excites you and what you CAN do and continuously evolve towards becoming a better version of yourself.

So,wherever you get to work,remember that your current job does not limit the future path of your career; it’s your thinking that matters. There are no better options just options.


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