Want to Work at a Startup? Master These 10 Skills

What is one tech skill anyone interested in working for a startup should learn?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. How to Run an A/B Test

Aaron SchwartzThe “tech” in an A/B test can be as simple as adding Optimizely to your site. At its core, Optimizely allows you to compare two or more alternatives to figure out which is the best choice. In all companies, but especially startups, data wins. Present your ideas with data that validates them and you’ll have a ton of success helping your company grow.  – Aaron SchwartzModify Watches


2. Growth Hacking and Analytics

Peter CenaGrowth Hacking is certainly way more than one “skill,” but it’s certainly the one thing anyone at a startup can leverage daily. A great place to start is GrowthHackers.com. I think the mix of learning analytics and a little bit of code is invaluable for anyone in a startup.  – Peter SenaDigital Surgeons



3. Basic HTML

Reza ChowdhuryLearning basic HTML using some of the free tools available on the Internet will save you a lot of heartache moving forward as you will be able to understand the basic structure that goes into building applications and websites. You’ll likely not be able to code anything from scratch, but you’ll be able to manage small changes here and there and speak intelligibly with your technical team.  – Reza ChowdhuryAlleyWatch


4. Google Analytics

Brooke BergmanUnderstanding website traffic, including the nuances like demographic information, behavior analysis and the SEO bringing in visitors, can go a long way to prove your worth in a startup environment.  – Brooke BergmanAllied Business Network Inc.




5. Mind Mapping

Marcela DeVivoThe ability to organize and structure projects or tasks and to break everything down into cohesive units is essential when working for a startup. Fire up a tool like MindMeister and start playing around with different mindmaps. From organizing website infrastructure to creating marketing plans to allocating resources on projects, mindmapping is an essential tool in the startup world.  – Marcela DeVivo, Gryffin Media


6. Survey Software and Customer Feedback Tools

Robert de Los SantosAll companies need customer feedback in order to improve their products and services so that they can grow. Surveys are a great way to ask your customers what they like or don’t like about your brand and how your products or services can be improved. Companies like Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey offer free survey tools that can be integrated with your website or email provider to supply valuable insights.  – Robert De Los SantosSky High Party Rentals

7. Visual Data Plotting

Sam SaxtonSharing data across teams is essential for startups — and works far better when it doesn’t mean combing through black-and-white Excel columns. Some intermediate mastery on mapping data visually will go a long way in communicating wins and losses.  – Sam SaxtonSalter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs



8. Photoshop and InDesign

Cody McLainThese are skills that would mostly be outsourced and cost the startup a lot of money. If there’s any one skill that’s needed now more than ever I would say it’s graphic design. It’s almost impossible to learn that without knowing a little about HTML. As a matter of fact, it’s even better to know how to create web friendly graphics that can later be used on the company’s social media and in-web content.  – Cody McLainSupportNinja

9. How to Use a Few CMS Platforms

Kumar-AroraYou need to learn how to work a few content management systems like WordPress, Squarespace, or Joomla. This is useful if you are starting your own venture, working for a small business, or just to share content online. It’s an easy skill to learn that doesn’t require intensive training. Thesedays a website is the new business card, so it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored.  – Kumar AroraAroridex, Ltd.


10. Data Analysis

Firas KittanehFolks who work for startups should know how to fully utilize data analysis software, whether it be Excel, SPSS, or STATA. In addition, the ideal startup employee should be able to think creatively about data like a scientist and answer questions that haven’t even arisen yet. Bringing new insights and interpretations to the table will greatly increase the value of the metrics you collect.  – Firas KittanehAstraBeds


Share This Post

The Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.