June 4th: I’m sitting on a bench in Portland when my phone buzzes from a Twitter notification that seems all too fitting for a technology company to send to me: a job offer from Northwest Cadence at TechEd. Ironically, I’m also that person who gets embarrassed from attention easily. Nevertheless, the company made me feel appreciated and recognized as an individual rather than another number in a large consumer powerhouse. You can probably guess what happens next.
What’s happened since the job offer?
Some want to be astronauts when they’re older. Others become consultants. We’ve joked around here that this position for me was initiation by fire when starting in September. From the get-go, I’ve been immersed in resources on Application Lifecycle Management, Visual Studio, and Team Foundation Server. And despite the initial shock and chaos, the challenge has been worth it.
I’ve given a presentation to the IT department at the University of Washington on Agile, Visual Studio, and Team Foundation Server 2012. Steve was thankfully on hand to provide support with difficult questions and also send out a totally-embarrassing email to the team about how well it went. Everyone on the team gave me very helpful feedback during the practice runs of the presentation, and I would have been lost without their guidance.
Immediately following, I was shipped off to Microsoft to work with a team of Northwest Cadence consultants to help deliver content for launch with a marketing team at the company. Those few weeks exposed me to a wide range of learning opportunities, from professional soft skills to aligning technical content to an overall vision.
Even among all of these diverse experiences, the most insightful realization for me was the importance of team culture. As a college graduate, I had initially brushed it off as a “good-to-have,” but understood soon after that culture is essential to make any team successful.
So why does culture really matter?
In my interview with the company, they continued emphasizing culture. Sure, every company can claim that they have culture to a certain degree, but not every company strives to position it as a main goal. As the first person to meet with me at Northwest Cadence, Lori pointblank told me that one of her highest priorities was bringing together a team with amazing culture and everything else would fall into place. From that moment on, I knew that this company was unique and sincerely passionate about team culture, a value both demonstrated internally and taught to clients. Best of all? She was right.
So why is culture important to Northwest Cadence? Culture, I’ve discovered, cultivates happy individuals. Happy individuals produce happy teams. And happy teams are more communicative, productive, and motivated to deliver quality work. When a project is all said and done, everyone can feel they contributed in a positive way and be proud of the release. The only way that Northwest Cadence can genuinely train and work with clients on culture is if we’ve experienced it ourselves.
Each consultant and team member here has a different backstory to coming to work at the company. For me, I came to Northwest Cadence wanting to develop more skills than just technical while also having a good work-life balance. We all may have varying backgrounds, but we share the attitudes of honesty, excellence, accountability, respect, and teamwork. So when you hire consultants here, you’re hiring the whole team: the video-gamers, the sports coaches, the moviemakers, the artists, the pet-lovers, and the parents. We drive into the office to not only build relationships with each other, but with our clients as well.
I expect to continue to grow in every opportunity, gladly learning from those around me and enjoying work even more. Consultants at Northwest Cadence have more than just technical knowledge: we value communication, collaboration, and care with all.