I made my first contact with Daugherty Business Solutions on a hike in historical Cathedral Hill in St. Paul, Minn. He was a Java Developer and we spent quite a bit of time that day discussing the industry and opportunities for someone with my skillset. I was in the midst of a career change that would take me back to my first love, coding, and a job at Daugherty Business Solutions.
I am approaching my one-year anniversary at Daugherty, and when I learned we’d been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune, I couldn’t help reflecting on how my new career had come to be and how much I enjoy working in the Daugherty Dev Center. It all seems pretty simple in hindsight: I came to Daugherty because they offered everything I was looking for, and because they understood, and clearly valued, what I brought to the table.
Last July, my hiking companion put me in touch with Daugherty’s recruiting team. One email led to another, and a few days later I found myself driving down West 83rd Street to meet the infinitely enthusiastic Eric Kramlinger.
I told Eric that there were three things I wanted from an employer: a serious commitment to mentoring, a culture that encouraged the free exchange of ideas, and an opportunity to provide clients with real, working software solutions. His eyes lit up and he said, “I think you might really like the Dev Center.”
To say Daugherty is committed to mentoring is almost an understatement. As a Dev Center employee I am constantly learning and being challenged to provide better, more creative solutions. My direct manager recommends books, fellow coders share articles, and my team and I frequently dive into deeper discussions about application architecture and best practices.
We attend Lunch and Learns, one-hour midday breaks focused on everything from new technologies to Agile workshops to Ted Talks. Once a month, we take an evening after work to get some hands on experience at Daugherty Tech Night events. The crazy and amazing thing is that all of these great opportunities are peer learning. Management doesn’t set our agenda or even organize our learning sessions. We do. Dev Center employees instigate and plan all of our training. Management supports us by letting us direct the process and ensuring we always have our favorite lunch ready to fuel these learning sessions.
The entire Dev Center culture is defined by the personalities, skills and creativity of the people who work here. Daugherty’s management team focuses its efforts on promoting our services to businesses across the country. We have a dedicated recruiting team determined to find the best talent with the most diverse set of skills that fit the Daugherty profile: complex problem solvers that Daugherty would proudly introduce to its best client.
As much as I wanted to be somewhere I knew I would learn and grow, I also wanted to work for an organization that placed value on my first career, which happened to be television production. By the time Daugherty made me an offer, it was clear to me they understood how my previous work had trained me to be a problem solver. They also recognized my management experience as an asset. I was not only going to be free to share what I knew, it was actually part of the job description and part of the culture.
When you join the team at Daugherty you are introduced to Consulting the Daugherty Way. In fact, that’s the title of the class we take as new hires. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. What can be so unique about Daugherty’s approach to consulting? But I discovered a philosophy I could proudly get behind.
I won’t share the entire course, but in summary, it’s the belief that the best consultant goes into a business and listens, learns and provides a simple, elegant solution to the problem the client has identified. At Daugherty, we go so far as to talk about being guests at our client sites and behaving the way a guest should. As consultants, we’re not focused on recognition for our contribution. We want our partners to succeed, so we drive improvement by delivering solutions that meet their specific needs. Our goal is to introduce improvements they might not have considered.
I think our approach is great for our clients, but it’s also great for those of us who work here. People treat one another with respect. We listen to our peers. Animated exchange of ideas is a core value; arguing is counterproductive.
At Daugherty we are encouraged to have lives outside of the office walls. Employers talk about work-life balance all the time, but all too often it’s only talk. Daugherty lives it. We work reasonable hours, enjoy the work we do, and walk away when it’s time to take a break.
Oh, and that guy I met on the hike? He turned out to be my team lead.