Five years into my career, I’ve had experiences working in-house at small and large companies (Kickstarter & Amazon), at a mid-size agency (Beyond), and even an incubation firm (BCG Digital Ventures). Take a look at some of the benefits of each, and my advice for making a decision.

Agency Pros

In-House Pros

Which should you choose?

Here’s my take: work at an agency if 1) you’re interested in shorter, quicker projects, 2) you’re looking to work with a variety of different companies and problems, or 3) the agency you’re considering specializes in a particular skill you are passionate about focusing on (i.e. user research or augmented reality).

While getting diverse experience at an agency might be a great way to grow your portfolio, the trade offs tend to be salary and work-life balance. You also may be juggling multiple clients and projects at a time, which some people love, and some don’t. It comes down to your personal preference!

If you’d rather 1) own a specific problem area, 2) work with your peers towards a common goal, and 3) move at a steadier pace, then you may be more suited for in-house work. I personally found the slower pace challenging when I transitioned from an agency to an in-house role, but the key for me has been to identify other new opportunities in my organization.

I hope this is helpful for anyone to decide. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!