Time was, being called a nerd wasnt a good thing.
By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star
Now, you wish you were one.
The Nerdery is hiring computer programmers like crazy. The aptly named company is hiring 100 nerds in 100 days for its headquarters in Minneapolis and its branches in Chicago and Kansas City.
Up to 25 programmers are expected to land in the Nerderys new offices under development at 17th and Oak steets in Kansas Citys Crossroads District.
They want nerds, but only top-flight ones nerds that shine in interviews and can master the NAP the Nerdery Assessment Test. Its a coding challenge given to those interviewed.
When software engineer Stan Butler was being considered for a job in Kansas City, They gave me a code challenge, a small project, to see how Id do it, he said. That was a lot more value than what I said in the interview.
Butler previously worked out of his home, writing programs for a medical software company. Working at the Nerdery, he said, provides camaraderie and easy access to a lot of very smart people well-versed in various disciplines.
Earlier this month, the Nerdery held a Kansas City open house for job seekers. Ninety aspiring Nerds came, said the companys communication manager, Mark Malmberg.
Competition to be hired is tough. As of last week, the Kansas City office amounted to six employees with three more scheduled to start in January and five more in the interview process.
We need a wide pipeline of job candidates, Malmberg said. Were looking for experienced developers. Its not an entry-level position. Its people who have done a lot of programming and can hit the ground running.
Last Friday, with 49 days left in its 100-day hiring effort, the Nerdery said on its website that it had received 1,167 applications, 585 referrals, interviewed 496, and hired 28.
The Nerdery, Malmberg said, isnt scaling back hiring because of the impending fiscal cliff. It plans on keeping its 430-plus employees nationally and adding more, expecting a 25 percent year-over-year revenue growth in 2013.
There is such demand for our services, he said. There is so much work out there for people who are good at this kind of thing.
What this kind of thing means is programmers skilled in .NET, PHP, iOS, Python and Wordpress.
To find the right talent, the Nerdery has gone national with its 100 nerds in 100 days hiring campaign. The company is willing to pay $100 for referring a good applicant to them and an additional $400 if the company hires the candidate you referred.
This market appears untapped for us, Malmberg said, explaining the Nerderys inroads in Kansas City.
The company has won a spot in Inc. Magazine as a Hire Power Award recipient, and has garnered several best-places-to-work honors, fueled by its home-based staff in Minneapolis.
The magazine lauded the corporate culture created by founders Luke Bucklin, Mike Derheim and Mike Schmidt. The three started a Web development firm in 2003 and renamed it the Nerdery in 2010, the same year that Bucklin died in a plane crash.
The company honored Bucklins memory by decreeing that every employee is a co-president, which is something he said in a staff memo shortly before he died.
According to Derheim, Inc. Magazine said, it means employees have both the freedom and responsibility to do whats best for the business, regardless of their rank and the company spends hours training new hires about what it means to be a co-president.
Malmberg added that the Nerdery wasnt just about grabbing good workers. The company gives back to the community, too.
Look for its Kansas City programmers eventually to be part of the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, a voluntary effort that provides web development services to nonprofits.
Company details are at Nerdery.com.
To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.