The Nerdery Cuts Minnesota Jobs


Bloomington-based software development firm The Nerdery has reduced its workforce by 4% — 23 layoffs overall with 15 here in Minnesota.

President Tom O’Neill addressed his staff today and issued the following statement:

“Technology moves fast, forcing market demand to fluctuate. This fluctuation coupled with the pace of change in our industry has driven a shift on our resource utilization…While regrettable, I will help these men and women find their next opportunity to put their talents to good use.We’ll continue to hire for tech skills in high demand and currently have more than 20 job openings, and we’ll continue to assess our team based on market demand as technologies emerge.”

Affected areas include Development, Project Management, Accounting, Facilities and Quality Assurance.  The company maintains 379 employees in Minnesota given the adjustment with another 109 between offices in Chicago, Kansas City, Arizona.



  • Jeff Pesek

    I don’t see how any technology company can reach this level and not be consistently churning by the dozens, especially in services.

    • Bobtrain

      Exactly. Just one look at the library changes on GitHub shows how technology changes rapidly. Consequently most of the jobs on the Nerdy board are for Java.

    • DevilsAdvocate

      I completely disagree Jeff. I don’t know a lot about the Nerdery, but after reading that one quoted paragraph I know that I wouldn’t be interested in working there. Many companies still call their people “resources” – and maybe that’s just habit. But some companies really treat their employees like that – and not as people who are actually able to learn and grow. They have Java openings only? Great. Why would a Java developer go work there? If the Nerdery’s client base has any sort of shift, then what… they get rid of Java people? This isn’t the first time the Nerdery has done this, is it? I work for a firm in the same space and we use forecasting and training to keep up with trends and demand.

      • Jeff Pesek

        +1 for disagreeing; -10 for cowardice

    • Robert Speer

      Disagree, and it’s a slow morning so here’s storytime:

      A dev shop has 4 priorities in this order:

      1) Marketing – finding what folks want to pay for, and at the right time
      2) Sales – everyone thinks they know what it is, at least 2x harder than they think
      3) HR – good people in slow, misfits out fast, negotiate hard on costs, proper insentives
      4) Development – easier than most people think for this type of work, except when it’s not

      Tom O’Neill is the best dev interviewer I’ve ever met, and even 6/7 years ago when, I was more familiar with their processes, the Nerdery was able to consistently find undervalued talent because they were better at evaluating development talent. They also have embraced HR/Recruiting as a core competency and have only reluctantly outsourced it in limited ways because it’s critical to a successful dev shop.

      The Nerdery has been so good at finding undervalued talent that they have been unfairly labeled by many as underpaying their devs. Sometimes this happens, but I suspect this perception is caused by the Nerdery’s superior HR qualifying developers talents so recruiters now know the individual can perform the job for which they are hired, and are now willing to pay them a little more because of it. To ballpark the significance of this advantage I think it’s about $5k, per employee, per year which works to $1,895,000 annually, just in cost savings, and then the intangible benefits of having a good team is just the best gravy ever.

      This significant HR advantage over every dev shop that is “Tom deficient” is eroded by churn because being laid off is an emotionally traumatic experience that everyone wants to avoid.

      So what do you do if you have a business dependent on human talent, and you’re upsetting humans with severe emotional trauma on par with a beloved pet dying?

      The good news is that it’s a lot easier to teach someone new skills than it is to teach them not to be a jerk at work. To do that you’d need a training facility, trainers, lesson plans, & some really smart folks running the show. Just like GE has some extraordinary training facilities to train to their “Hedgehog Concept”, I suspect that the Nerdery’s own Prime Academy may offer the same benefits.

      Retraining staff to new code syntaxes is a small cost relative to the savings of retains culture, process, and emotional investments by all stakeholders, while building on, instead of eroding, the Nerdery’s massive HR advantage. It’s not there yet, but it could be, and it could be a significant market advantage.

      TLDR: Outstanding dev shops rely on having outstanding people. People, consistently, do not want to feel disposable. So running an outstanding dev shop over the long term means the mitigating churn. Training facilities, like Prime Academy, are a strategy for doing this.

      Disclaimer: I know some of the players, but have no inside information. Other than the Nerdery full of smart folk, and their leadership tends to play their cards close to their chest and make frequent small adjustments. The probability that I’m wildly incorrect is significant.

      • Jeff Pesek

        Thanks for sharing your perspective, Rob.

  • Tom ONeill

    If anyone can help me find these Nerds new opportunities please hit me up on Facebook or LinkedIn.