The Nerdery

The Nerdery – Why Work For Us?


We've outgrown seven offices since we started in 2003 and are bursting at the seams with technical experts because we've faithfully pursued our vision: be the best place in the world for nerds to work.

It comes naturally to us, being founded by three programmers, to make a nerd-friendly environment – that's what we've done for our hundreds of employees.

Sure, we have a dog-friendly workplace, a perpetual chess tournament and a 250-seat Rock Band venue, but the most critical ingredient in keeping an army of technical geniuses happy (other than caffeine) is compelling problems to solve. Luckily, our unique business model ensures that we never run short on interesting problems to sink our teeth into.

We consult with our partners on tech strategy, user experience design, development and quality assurance. Sticklers on details, you can count on nerds when it comes to numbers – we have the data to prove it.




We keep using that word "partner," but what do we mean? Let’s talk about our relationship. We're partners, not vendors, and we work best when we work with you, not for you. Whether we're partnering with an agency, a start-up or a Fortune 500 company and their creative team, we take a collaborative approach to creating custom solutions with all of our partners.



If we tell you we can’t meet your deadline, you’re not likely to find developers who can. Our projects range from five-hour quick fixes to 4,000+ hour marathons and everything in-between, and we have plenty of bandwidth for more. With each new project, we draw from our army of geniuses to build teams of individual specialists that, as a whole, are ideally suited for any challenge.



With knowledge of multiple technical solutions to any given problem, we don’t evangelize any single programming language or platform – we help partners make informed decisions that fit within their unique objectives and budget. Having hundreds of nerds under one roof keeps us on the bleeding edge of new technologies. Our toolbox of tried-and-true technologies keeps growing with our early adoption of whatever’s next.



Another secret to our success is a systematic approach to customer service and speedy execution. You’ll see it in action as we break projects up into milestones, and then into work orders assigned to developers on the team. Partners get weekly updates throughout a project’s life cycle, informed by the developer peer reviews, daily stand-up meetings and timesheet entries that keep things running like a well-oiled machine.



The Nerdery is a company and culture created by nerds, and for nerds, founded in 2003 by three programmers. Now an interactive development firm hundreds strong, we remain industry leaders in helping our partners imagine and execute interactive projects. Our engineering roots inform our approach by focusing on preserving investment in existing systems and processes while taking full advantage of all the benefits modern technologies have to offer.


By focusing on technical consulting and execution while leaving industry insights and strategic genius to our partners, we get the chance to sharpen our skills on hundreds of challenging projects every day. It sounds simplistic, but the rest takes care of itself. Get the best and brightest nerds, make them happy, keep them here, work with great partners, get cool interactive projects, nail ‘em, wash, rinse, repeat.... We’ve built The Nerdery to be the ultimate destination for nerds – a safe haven for them to not only survive, but thrive.

Good code doesn’t happen by accident; we set the bar high with development standards. We empower programmers to set company standards on development tools because they have their ears to the ground on emerging tech, and we’d be foolish not to pick their brains and follow suit. All part of our distributed leadership model, our development committees consist of no managers – just developers nominated and elected by their peers.


Not to brag, but based on employee surveys, we ranked #1 on the Best Places to Work list published by Mpls-St. Paul Business Journal, and also made Top Workplace lists published by Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly. The Nerdery routinely makes the Inc 5000 and Biz Journal Fast 50 lists of fast-growing privately owned companies. Our CEO Mike Derheim was named a Minnesotan on the Move and was a CFO of the Year finalist when he was our CFO. The Nerdery was named Emerging Business of the Year at the 2011 Best in Business Awards. We’ve also had the honor of riding the coattails of our partners in winning a Cannes Golden Lion Award, Microsoft's Phizzpop Design Challenge, a Communication Arts Award, a PRSA Bronze Anvil Award, a Racie Award, a MOBI Best Mobile App Award and a Webby Award. Speech? Enough said.


You’ll notice many Nerdery email signatures share the same lofty co-title; we have good reason to aspire to be Co-Presidents. Before his tragic passing, our co-founder Luke Bucklin was our President. Co-President was something he called us – all of us – in a staff email well over a thousand words, including these:

“I remember a day when there were no managers, no directors, no coordinators and no specialists. We only had Presidents. Well, maybe one President and a couple of Co-Presidents. Forget about your titles. Put your business card on the desk in front of you. Look at it. I am here to tell you that this is not your title. This card does not define you. You are a Co-President. You are bigger than your defined role, and you are much more than your job title. Play your part – transcend your job title, be a hero.”

LEARN / Grow from good to great by learning from brilliant nerds, and teaching them.

Nerds say they learn more in their first month here than elsewhere their whole career. We encourage people to pursue new challenges and growth opportunities in building diverse portfolios of highly visible interactive work any nerd would be proud of – projects of every shape and size, in wide variety. Developer advocates make sure nerds are happy, challenged and having the career they want – with a chance to try any technology, or, become the guru of whatever they know best. Deployed Nerds take field-trips to work directly with clients and come home with lessons from the road.

BELONG / Beyond teamwork and clubs, a safe haven for nerds to be nerds together.

We’re grounded as nerds because we were founded by nerds – and consistently attract like-minded talent. Senior leadership included, most of us have development backgrounds. Everyone at The Nerdery has open access to everyone else at The Nerdery – an embarrassment of riches in collective smarts, kindred spirits and a hive mind of clubs and user groups. People bring their diverse non-work passions to work; here, we play with each other. With hundreds of community organizers, we belong.

LEAD / Chart your adventure. Co-Presidents will follow. All paths lead to distributed leadership.

In its Top Workplaces edition, Minneapolis Star Tribune gave us a special award for providing career advancement opportunity. Programmers, not managers, set development standards as leaders of development committees. Our technical strength – and leadership – comes from following people closest to a specific technology. We challenge people to be emerging leaders simply by following their bliss.

TRUST / Earned upon entry, kept through transparent and engaged communication.

From a flat organizational structure with an open door policy to 20 Days of PTO your first year, we have systems, processes and a workplace built on trust and openness. We’ve created several outlets for nerds to share ideas, advice, interests and opinions. Our nerd-fashioned tools – like Mainframe, The Buzz, Answers, and MindMeld – foster transparent communication, give voice to idea-sharing nerds and further our collective brainpower through constant connection.

LIKE / Our likability ratings run high, but why? We let nerds be nerds.

For the win-win, our nerds are left alone to focus on the code – but also given a clubhouse to frolic with fellow nerds. Our nerds customize their workspace with whatever tech tools they need to be productive, and our office atmosphere strikes a work-life balance through creative outlets and extracurricular activities. With creature comforts galore and four-legged creatures running rampant, we cultivate a (finger quotes) working-from-home (end quotes) vibe.

undefinedLOVE / You’ll like working here, but you’ll love what you do (and therefore never have to work again).

Rather be programming than stuck in meetings? That works for us, too. Everything about The Nerdery, as a company and a workplace, is built around programmer needs – from our data-driven, streamlined processes to our cool, casual work environment and other refinements. Where is the love? Survey says it’s here in abundance, as seen in our #1 spot on Biz Journal’s Best Places to Work list two years running.

The Nerdery Reviews

69 Reviews
69 Reviews
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The Nerdery CEO Mike Derheim
Mike Derheim
50 Ratings
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    Optimistic about the future

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    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Nerdery full-time (more than a year)


    When I first started at The Nerdery, I too read the reviews about nepotism, boys club and poor management. Would it be a lie to say that I did notice those things when I first started? Yes. However, I can attest to the fact that this company takes feedback from their employees better than any company I've ever been a part of. There are now many women in leadership roles, and management is starting to address performance issues and get better at being actual leaders.

    The culture here is something special, and you won't find it anywhere else. People are so willing to help, even if they aren't in your department. It's incredibly collaborative, and it's a heck of a lot of fun.


    There could be a bit more training opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the cheerleading, be honest and transparent. We all trust you, we want to know what the plans are, or at least what the framework is.

    Positive Outlook
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The Nerdery Interviews

Updated Jan 27, 2015
Updated Jan 27, 2015

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Interview Experience


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Getting an Interview


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Interview Difficulty




    Project Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Interview Details

    Called in for first round interview which was casual and informal. Interviewer was warm and friendly and the interview was more conversational. He asked non-traditional interview questions and did a good job at explaining the culture of The Nerdery. He answered all of my questions without hesitation.

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    • How have you handled feedback that you didn't agree with?   Answer Question
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The Nerdery Awards & Accolades

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Additional Info

Headquarters Bloomington, MN
Size 150 to 499 Employees
Founded 2003
Type Company - Private
Industry Information Technology
Revenue $50 to $100 million (USD) per year
Competitors MentorMate

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The Nerdery

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