What is the single software company that you most want to work for? Why?

+21  A: 

FogCreek (Joel, are you listening?)

  • Brilliant guys
  • Fantastic work
  • Excellent job conditions
  • Small company
  • Incredible city... I <3 NY

Definitely, a place for people like me :)

Daniel Silveira
My I suggest http://jobs.joelonsoftware.com/ instead of SO?
Lars Truijens
I don't usually vote down, but "Joel, are you listening?" is too much for me. -1
Pablo Fernandez
+48  A: 


Every picture that I saw and every thing that I read about it seem a dream.

Mister Dev
my brother works for google, and it's every bit as wonderful as you would think, which leads me to the conclusion that they are going to lull us into a false sense of security and take over the world in one fell swoop
The world might be a better place if Google took over.
Max Schmeling
Might... until the powers of Google get replaced and they become the next overlord monopoly who would then have complete control over all our data. Nothing against Google... I'm just sayin it's worth thinking about.
Wes P
There was a day when I would have said Google. But I just don't trust them anymore. I think evil has finally achieved a beachhead over there. It was bound to happen eventually, especially for a company that makes its living off marketing.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Google's obligation to protect people's privacy: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
Yeah, it sounds great until you realize they're Agile. Goodbye, productivity.
+16  A: 

Apple, cause I think different too.

Yeah, you think differently, just like everyone else ;)
Jon Limjap
Joining a collective to be different? =P J/K
Quintin Robinson
me can think different and grammar badly plus!
Steven A. Lowe
You laugh because I'm different... I laugh because you're all the same.
You are not very different if you spout cookie-cutter responses.
Albert, Like is a like a box of chocolate. And some of them have gone off. Although I quite like Macs.
removing one button from mice make people to think different.
dr. evil
Yeah, even this Apple fan boy hates their mice.
Why does apple hate adverbs?
Rob Lachlan
I hope for your sake you intended all this as ironic ;)
+104  A: 

My own company. (For what I would assume are obvious reasons.)

Geoffrey Chetwood
Not that obvious?
Geoffrey Chetwood
Running your own company is by far more stressful and time consuming, but a lot more rewarding, because every small success that is short lived at a company you just work for, is a huge success to you as an owner. I guess it is a larger feeling of creation.
Geoffrey Chetwood
...which (company) is? (I meant)
Daniel Silveira
@Daniel: Use your resourcefulness there my friend.
Geoffrey Chetwood
Being a salaried employee without a bonus structure, it's kind of tough for me to get excited when my current employer does well. I keep thinking how exciting these things would be if it was my own company.
@polara: Just remember, with the good comes the bad. Often a lot more bad than good.
Geoffrey Chetwood
if you own the company, you only have to work a half-day - and you get to choose whether it's the first 12 hours or the 2nd 12 hours ;-)
Steven A. Lowe
@Steven: Good one. But only 12 hours? I will trade with you any day!
Geoffrey Chetwood
If I owned my own company, I sure as hell wouldn't be doing all the work. I read "EMyth Revisited" which is why I don't own my own company - yet.
Jeff O
+24  A: 

Microsoft because they have been around for a long time and the Redmond building looks like it would be amazing to work at.

Do you mean Redmond?
Geoffrey Chetwood
Richmond, Virginia nice place work for years lots to.
Chris Ballance
+2  A: 

Second Google because of the fantastic talks I've seen at Google Developer Day 2007 and GDD 2008.

Rob Wells
+1  A: 


Because everybody seem relax and young

+1  A: 

Some NGO. Non-commercial work without annoying customers that actually makes a difference besides on my bank account must be great.

+10  A: 

My own.

Nothing like not having to take crap from ANYONE.

This isn`t interely true, actually. You have to take crap from customers in that case.
Daniel Silveira
Indeed. Running your own company is not easier at all. But a lot more rewarding IMO.
Geoffrey Chetwood
Not only do you take crap from the customers, but from the other employees also. Unless you plan on running a one man show the whole time.
You are responsible for everything, so you take crap from customers, your employees, and take crap for the crap your employees do. On the other hand, if your good and lucky, you take a lot of good things too.
Artur Carvalho
you do have the freedom to fire people that annoy you, including customers...
Steven A. Lowe
Eh.. It's really not that easy Steven...
Yep, Although is not easy nevertheless. Even if you are your own boss, your client also become your new boss...
Alex. S.
Atleast you are rewarded more when running your own, even if you have take crap
I have my own software company, and it is good. However the reality is that I now have LOTS of bosses, some of whom are even more important than a normal boss would be since I have more to lose now. However... There have been a few really bad clients who weren't that important, and I have indeed been known to tell them to get lost. :)
Brian MacKay
+5  A: 

Not a specific company per se, but I'd love to work in an Open Source lab somewhere.

Steve Baker
Open Source lab? Like your mother's basement? (I KID! I KID!)
Geoffrey Chetwood
Perhaps http://osuosl.org/ :)
Nick Sergeant
Hey, basements rocks!
David The Man
+6  A: 

I would like to work for the company that I currently work for because I don't want to get fired for saying that I would like to work for Google or start my own company.

+1  A: 

Google - unlimited chocolate, good food.

The best out of many other excellent reasons.

Vincent McNabb
Unlimited chocolate == unlimited waist line
Jason Z
Unlimited chocolate | really fast metabolism == slim waist lineBut arteries will still get hammered, it's just not visible to the outside user.
Vincent McNabb
+16  A: 

37 Signals. Because they wrote the book on smarter, more agile software development. Literally.

Nick Sergeant
+2  A: 

I would love to remain self-employed.

I have waaaayyyy too many interests to just stick to just one place. Provided you can build up your own revenue stream (i.e. a stackoverflow type of business) where the cash comes in and you can pursue your own interests, that would be a dream come true.

Imagine working on game programming one day, then working on your own compiler the next, then the day after some peer-to-peer client, then the day after hacking into the email accounts of bible thumping alaskan governors. Rinse, repeat. Never get bored, always learning something new.

True, you will miss out on the human interaction, but as we get more and more networked and video conferencing gets better, this becomes less of an issue.

You still have to find someone *willing* to video conference with you.
+6  A: 

Google - There's something about working and being around educated people that brings out the best in me. I love to learn and having 20% of my time available to work on pet projects in addition to being able to work with the rest of the staff is icing on the cake.

Chris Ballance
+1  A: 

FOG CREEK. because they treat developers as Rock Stars! ;)

Decio Lira
+33  A: 

The Umbrella Corporation

...because I want to make zombies.


Chris Pietschmann
HAHAHAHA... Funny, But not a software company.
Daniel Silveira
They have hired software developers, though. "Mother" anyone?
+2  A: 

EA, it's in the game

Sellout! EA == DRM! Don't work for The Man! Free love for everyone!
Also you need a dose of self-preservation. They treat their employees like crap!
Seriously. I've known people who work there... and heard the stories. I'd stay away from them.
Joel's book includes a great chapter written by ea_spouse. It may change your mind.
Richard Morgan
+4  A: 

Rockstar Games. They look like they have some serious fun.

Geoffrey Chetwood
+3  A: 

I'd like to work for USAA. Although not a "Software Company" they do a lot of in house stuff. They are a financially strong company, consistently rated one of the top employers and San Antonio seems like a nice place to live and work.

I used to work there, way back in the late 1990s. It was an amazing place to work. I miss my friends there.
Robert S.
What kind of language they use? I`ve heard they use a lot of PowerBuilder. Is it true?
Daniel Silveira
What is USAA? I visited the web site but I couldn't really tell what/who they are, beyond financial services.
@erickson USAA is an insurance and financial services company for current and former members of the US military (and I think their families).
John Meagher
@John Meagher Yes, they have a bank (i think anyone can belong to) and the insurance and other services are for service members/[email protected] Silveira From the job listings, it looks like alot of J2EE.
+16  A: 

Blizzard Entertainment, the best PC game company ever.

Erick B
Definitely. How cool would it be to tell people you made StarCraft or Diablo II? Instead of "I get stuff out of databases, edit it, and put it back." :(
I'm surprised more people haven't said game companies. Sometimes I wish I had learned other programming languages in college and didn't hate Physics!
I get the sense that game programmers get worked to the bone... but I'm really curious about a game studio that has released nothing but instant classic titles, year after year.

Rockstar North, they make great games and are based in Scotland. Perfect for me!

+4  A: 

I would enjoy working at Microsoft as I have used their tools for a long time and my friends who work there love it. I also love the Seattle area.

I would also probably enjoy working at Panic. Making Mac OS X software is a lot of fun.

Robert S.
+2  A: 

Sierra On-Line, circa 1990. That, or Infocom in the mid 80s. However, since I missed those two boats, I guess I'll take what I can get without having to move from Sacramento to the greater Bay Area. (Not a San Jose fan, personally.)

+69  A: 

Jeez are you guys real programmers?

I would rather not work. I'm lazy by nature.

I second, third, and fourth this!!!!
LOL! We are programmers because we are too lazy to do anything else. :p
I code, therefore I eat... find a way for me to eat (well) without working and I'll do it.
If you were real programmers you would not call programming work.
...because anyone who is good at something automatically loves doing it 8 hours per day. Bah, whatever.
+15  A: 

Stretching the definition of "software company" here, but I'd say Pixar.

Not stretching the definition **that** much - most animation houses have in-house programmers who write custom tools, shaders, etc.
Sherm Pendley
Not a stretch at all. For every film, Pixar has to solve new technical challenges, and it takes programmers (among others) to do that. I'd love to work for Pixar.
+18  A: 

A company where I can make a major difference (my current company falls into this category) - sounds like a cliche, but very true for me. I don't really want freebies or food or huge benefits (although that all is nice), all I want is to be able to influence things, and be satisfied at the end of the day that I did.

+24  A: 

id. The opportunity to work with/learn from Carmack would be incredible.

His code is notoriously opaque -- randomly breaking out into bursts of assembly. I think he's one of the most impressive figures in programming, but I'd worry that I could never keep up with him well enough to learn.
+9  A: 

Valve. For me it's the best. But i can't, they're in the US, and i'm not going to live in the US.

I'm going to be 1 floor above Valves office later today, I'll stop in and tell them to move out of the US.
And, do also ask them if GLaDOS is making a appearance in Episode 3? :D
Adhip Gupta
That's a good point. Lots of the companies mentioned here are in the USA. Maybe I (we?) are making a big deal out of things, but I don't feel like travelling there either.

Any company that's inventive enough to strangle their software with miserable short-sighted DRM limitations that annihilate the user experience.

As short-lived as my tenure would be, I would become an pillar of internal opposition to these ideas.

(Adobe really crapped on my respect for them when I couldn't install CS3 after having been a part of the CS3 Beta)

Pete Karl II

Namco, Midway or maybe Activision, in the late 70's and early 80's.

Today? Google, or anyone else with the foresight to implement their 80/20 work policy.

Failing that, I'd happily settle for any company based in The Netherlands :)

+3  A: 

I'd like to work for my own company that provides consulting / products (yes both), and uses the profits to train Haitians (they have an 80% unemployment rate) to program, and then use the profits from such endeavors to feed into more training of Haitians until that 80% unemployment rate is far less :-D

Why - Because it would be an opportunity to help people living in destitution, and I know some people there who would be able to help with such an endeavor.

not to be a party pooper, but how do you train Haitians to program when the average education level is 2nd or 3rd grade (elementary school)? Do you put them through 9 more years of school and 4 years of college first?
Steven A. Lowe
np -- I happen to know the coordinators of a school district for elementary through high-school. The training would start post-HS, and would be very practical in nature (e.g. stay away from the Gen Ed Req stuff that is possibly of value when higher on a Maslow hierarchy of needs).
+2  A: 

OLPC or any company where I could have a fundamental and positive impact on the lives of the users of the product.

+3  A: 

Either Panic or last.fm - because I love Panic software and music

Plus 1 for Panic. Great Software.
+2  A: 

Currently, my current employer Symbian Software Ltd.


(soon to be Nokia)

+4  A: 


Don't laugh. Like China, they took a breather for a little while, but they're coming back stronger than ever. Once the world economy crashes and there's no more electricity, we'll see who makes jokes about punch cards.

Just kidding. Google, of course. Or Microsoft, if Bill is watching. Love me some Microsoft.

They got some MAD chess skillz! (IBM, I mean. Not China. They got mad "go" skillz.)
Probability suggests that China's got MAD everything-skills...
Yeah, we're doomed. I'm glad I've got some head-start experience translating apps into Chinese. Unfortunately it's traditional Chinese, which means Taiwan, which means I'm still ultimately doomed.
+6  A: 

Blizzard Entertainment. You know, the people that made Diablo and Warcraft.

I would not turn down an offering from Google, of course: every product of theirs (made/bought) contributed in making my life a bit easier (google, maps, docs, blogspot, code, sites, picasa...)

I hear Microsoft is not a bad place to work into either.

Manrico Corazzi
+1  A: 

Bungie, the people who brought you Halo, Oni, Myth, Marathon, etc. They're a talented group of fellows and it would be great to work with some of the best.

Zee JollyRoger
Yes, this would be great.

Remobjects. It must be great to work at a place where really good stuff is made.

Remobjects makes Oxygen/Chrome, a .NET Object Pascal + serveral other amazing products.

(No I don't work there, I don't even use Oxygen. I just wish I worked there)


Google -

1/5 of every developer's time is spent on sanctioned independent projects. In other words, they build procrastination into their workday.

They provide free daycare and food for their developers.

Their headquarters are outside of the city, in a nice place to live.

The products they have been producing kick butt.

David Wees
+3  A: 

ESA - I'd love to work at a place where systems worth billions of dollars would rely on my code. What's the worst that could happen.

+1  A: 

Anyplace where I can work on something new and different. I guess I'd really enjoy the opportunity to advance as well.

Alex Gartrell
+3  A: 

Microsoft, definitely, since they seem to attract some of the brightest people in the industry. It's always preferable to work with people smarter than yourself, who you can learn from.

Google is an excellent choice when it comes to working with very smart people. But for me, I'm a Microsoft technologies kind of guy, so definitely have to say Microsoft.

Besides, MSoft is such a huge company, you could work in many vastly different groups and on very different types of projects. Almost like working for a dozen different small companies throughout your career.

Sean Sexton

ITA Software: they do highly algorithmic stuff.



I would love to work in a company that is making all us Indians proud.

+7  A: 


John Nolan
Oh god no... I can't think of anywhere worse to work! All the Fowlerbots preaching their half-baked ideas about the One True Way to do software development. Thanks but no thanks!
Greg Beech
Haha Fowlerbots, I love it. Would love to hear more.
John Nolan
The working environment is really good there.

ESA, NASA, or Lockheed Martin.


Google/ ID/ Blizzard


I'd like to run my own software company, both having a few products on the line and consulting services.

David The Man

The first thing that came to mind is Google. I am just waiting for them to call me and no I am not holding my breath. :D

Brian G

My own. I will not stop trying to build my own company until it is successful. In the mean time I work diligently for whomever pays me to develop software.

For those that want a more conformist answer: I would mimic a few existing companies when I start hiring for my own company. Construx always looked like a good place to work for me, but I am happy where I am for now. http://construx.com/Page.aspx?nid=38

They used to have 6 weeks off paid vacation, plus the week of Christmas/New Years. I guess they are buckling down - only 24 days PTO now...


I am actually really happy at my current company (I am working in the industry of my dreams for one of the most renowned companies and it's great), but I think that Working on the .net Team at Microsoft could be really interesting, especially on the teams behind MVC or Entity Framework.

Michael Stum

Microsoft. Cos they offer free cocaine. (I think I read that right.)

Also, They can make amazing stuff somethings.

I'm sure they're really make amazing stuff with all this free cocain they offer
Mr. Brownstone

I'd like to NOT work!!! Sorry about bringing this mess up again :)


NVIDIA of course.The king behind almost every game. I just love it.

But you really need to work hard to get into it.They have got very tough selection process though.


pujia.com of course. They got a very bright future

Mickey Shine

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


37 Signals, even though they are not a coldfusion house. Because I love their philosophy about simplicity in usability.

I mean they have done many articles explaining on why they would rather offer fewer features of an application, that were extremely well done, then 100's of features so-so done.

This is also why I like and respect google. They get simplicity or minimalism in usability.

And I really like and respect that.