How Sport Ngin reinvests in Minnesota tech


Sport NginLocal software maker Sport Ngin has partnered with DinoMights to expose middle school students to introductory website design and development.

The Sport Ngin Web Academy is a four week course for members of the nonprofit organization known for its hockey development programs serving kids in Minneapolis.

Classes are taught by web professionals 1:1 at Sport Ngin over four weekly sessions. During the program, roughly 10 DinoMights students learn the basics of information architecture, HTML, CSS and Photoshop. The end deliverable is a hand-coded web page that students have built by themselves.

Sport Ngin Web Academy2“Our staff had a desire to use their specialized skills to do more with these kids,” company Co founder Carson Kipfer explains, describing the nature of the Sport Ngin — DynoMights relationship.  They came up with the idea through a ‘benefiting sponsorship’ at their annual US Pond Hockey Championships tournament.

“This was blast for us,” Kipfer says, adding “It’s very rewarding for our employees to give back this way. The hardest part is done, we’ve created the curriculum and process.  There’s a good possibility that we’ll be doing it multiple times throughout 2014.”


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  • Casey Allen

    The big win: an awesome MN startup found a way to give to others in a way that doesn’t involve writing an emotionless check.

    The bigger win: they proved that the complaint “We can’t find enough technical talent” rings a little hollow if you’re not willing to get creative about fixing it in your own unique way.

    Solid inspiration Carson, Justin, John, + team. Never stop.

    • chompy

      Minnesota’s tech talent problem is that there aren’t any engineers who want to move here to make middle school wages.

      • Casey Allen

        I might put credence in that if it was a problem unique to MN. It’s not. It’s ubiquitous to product companies everywhere.

        • chompy

          It’s not a problem in a place like Austin, which has Minnesota level cost of living, but salaries are on par with what an engineer would make in the Bay Area or New York. Minnesota tech employers have always taken the cheapskate route. Salaries for developers have been flat since the late 1990s.

      • Jeff Pesek

        It might be worthwhile to discuss and better understand this statement, but not with someone who doesn’t have the courage to put their name on such a claim.

        • chompy

          My real name doesn’t make any difference, everyone working in Minnesota as an engineer knows what they make and can check how it stacks up to other locales.

          Most engineers here are from the area, or nearby states like South Dakota or Iowa. Sometimes you get Chicagoans willing to take a pay cut for a more laid back lifestyle. The Twin Cities are a nice place to live and engineers from more expensive areas would probably like it here, but salaries are not competitive (aside from soul crushing corporate IT work, which pays about the same here).

          Employers in cities like Portland and Austin have figured it out for the most part. You just have to pay a bit more and you don’t have any problem attracting engineers.

          • Scott Olson

            Salaries at some employers have stagnated because there are still engineers who are willing to accept them. Employers may whine they can’t attract talent, but if that means a seat goes unfilled for 2-3 months and then someone takes the below market salary, they still win and salaries will stay at that level. Find a good recruiter, and give them the criteria you REALLY want, and tell them to call you when they meet your minimum. Engineers are in short supply and the companies that understand this will pay for top talent. Being a Minnesotan means being nice and not going out on a limb to get what you want, and as long as engineers keep doing that, there is no reason salaries will increase.

      • Paul DeBettignies

        I gladly debate the notion that wages have not gone up since the late 90’s. I have been in this market recruiting since 1997 and have a good grasp of what trends are.

        I am shocked to learn the average salary in Austin is equal to the Bay Area and New York. I did not travel this fall to any conferences so maybe I am behind a bit. I will talk with some folks in the next days.

  • Billie Kersh

    What a fantastic way to get the DynoMights involved. Middle school is such an impressionable age. Don’t be surprised if half of these kids are inspired to go into a web design career when they’re older! Congrats and well done!!