Achieve Nerdvana

We design and build innovative applications, and we teach developers to do the same through our books and immersive training. 

Established in 2001, Big Nerd Ranch specializes in client app development and expert instruction from the brightest developers and designers in the industry. Known for its immersive programming courses and training based on its best-selling series of books, Big Nerd Ranch hosts retreat-style bootcamps in Atlanta and on the Central Coast of California. Corporate courses are also held at client sites globally. With instructors who are full-time developers and designers, honing their skills on projects every day, Big Nerd Ranch courses and bootcamps offer an unprecedented level of expertise in a variety of programming instruction on iOS, Android, Front-end web, Back-end web, mobile design and Mac/Cocoa programming.

 
$25,000
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
50 - 249
 
Undisclosed
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Atlanta, GA
headquaters
  • Big Nerd Ranch
    200 Arizona Ave NE
    Atlanta, GA 30307
    United States
    770.817.6373

Reviews

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Dev for Critical Care Communication App

"As I've mentioned to Big Nerd Ranch, they stand out as the best company I've worked with in my 30 years in the industry."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch built the iOS, Android, and web back-end system for an application that improves communication between doctors and families in critical care situations. They incorporated the app on Aptible.

The Reviewer
 
Startup
 
Baton Rouge, LA
CFO at Care+ Ventures, LLC
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch is the best company that the client has worked with in 30 years of experience. Highlights are consistent performance, iterative working style, and conformance with cost estimates. The client has recommended them many times already.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Care Plus Ventures LLC is a startup firm that has developed an ICU software module for mobile apps. Our product improves communications between families and doctors in critical care situations. I am the chief financial officer, and I handle the technology, operations, and financial risk management.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

Big Nerd Ranch helped build our iOS, Android, and web back-end system.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Big Nerd Ranch revisited the design of our app, which was done by another firm. They made some constructive changes and helped us see things in a different light. After that phase, we started exclusively on the iOS and the web back-end, which is built in HTML5. Those were the first two products completed and rolled out by Big Nerd Ranch. Then, we began working on the Android version of the software. That project just wrapped up this past week [July 2016].

Big Nerd Ranch incorporated the platform onto a company called Aptible, which is a HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]-certified secure environment that runs on top of Amazon web services. We recommended Aptible and Big Nerd Ranch did the research. They also made the necessary adjustments to make the product work on their platform, which uses containers and other similar items. It was all cloud-based, and they utilized HockeyApp for testing on iPhones and Android devices. Big Nerd Ranch worked iteratively, which was one of the things that intrigued us about their process. We were able to see the product and test the latest version when a new build rolled out every Tuesday.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

We asked for references in order to identify companies that were leaders in the healthcare space or had good reputations in the design and development world. While Big Nerd Ranch did not have a large presence in the healthcare space, they were keenly interested in that field. They came with an excellent reputation and our principles matched. It was clear by the end of our meeting that they were the company we were going with.

How much have you invested with Big Nerd Ranch?

We invested more than $200,000 with Big Nerd Ranch.

What is the status of this engagement?

The Android product was completed in the last week, but we do still have an active relationship with them. Our meetings with them started in June of last year [2015], and the design phase kicked off in late June or early July. Big Nerd Ranch delivered an alpha version of the product, and we asked family and friends to test it out. In November, we regrouped and made some additional changes. That phase continued into January of this year. Then, we released another full-blown version in the Apple Store and started our testing in March. Big Nerd Ranch is looking at a number of our projects, particularly feature enhancements for the iOS and Android apps. We're scoping out the logistics for those projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Aside from a 10-week pilot, we don't have a lot of information at this point. We're now getting ready to integrate Android into the hospital and start a full-blown, IRB-approved research project in August with a large university. Since we only utilized the iOS version in the 10-week pilot, Android users were not included. That meant half of the population who came into the intensive care unit was eliminated. However, we are very pleased to have a strong acceptance and use rate from the pilot iOS users. But, I don't have anything hard and fast to tell you at this point.

How did Big Nerd Ranch perform from a project management standpoint?

Project management is a real strength of Big Nerd Ranch, and they are very task and iteration-oriented. It was clear what was going on in a particular week. They used the Basecamp and Pivotal Tracker, and we had equal access to those tools. We were able to review and approve stories in Pivotal Tracker as they completed the work each week. We had at least one telephone meeting each week, a standing meeting where each of the developers working on the project discussed. That was also an opportunity for the group to address any outstanding issues. We were comfortable working with them.

What did you find most impressive about Big Nerd Ranch?

As I've mentioned to Big Nerd Ranch, they stand out as the best company I've worked with in my 30 years in the industry. They delivered on time and within our app budget consistently. When we needed to do something that changed the scope, we always knew what those changes were going to cost. Big Nerd Ranch stayed on top of the project, and I appreciate how an anal-retentive guy like me could see exactly what was going on in the project at any point in time. I could communicate with their team very easily and, even at one o'clock in the morning, I could leave items to be discussed the next day. Big Nerd Ranch really delivers on what they say and do it for the amount they said they could do it for.

Are there any areas Big Nerd Ranch could improve?

We've not had any significant issues along the way. We've gone back and questioned some things we did before, and we've had the typical bumps that come in a large project like this. But, we've never had a formal dispute. We've never had anything that we couldn't just sit down and talk our way through. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Especially in the world of IT [information technology] where schedules and timelines are frequently just fancy pieces of paper, that’s not the case with them.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve only worked with one other firm in the process, and that was only in a design capability, so I don’t have much of a basis on how to make that comparison.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Nobody’s perfect, but in the key areas, they’ve delivered on what they said they were going to do. The product works. They get as high a rating as I would give out.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already done it about five times.

App Development Partnership with Orkin Pest Control

"Big Nerd Ranch is a team full of great listeners. Even more so than that, they’re very solutions-oriented..."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

The client is the parent company of Orkin Pest Control, one of the largest and well-known pest control businesses in the US. This client was initially in need of a partner that could deliver a sales-enablement app for their field team. After researching multiple app development agencies, this client went with Big Nerd Ranch due to their demonstrated previous experience. After being extremely satisfied with the first app, this client has gone back to Big Nerd Ranch for over 10 additional projects.

The Reviewer
 
5001 - 10,000 Employees
 
Atlanta, GA
Director of Marketing, Orkin Pest Control
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with their long-term app development partnership with Big Nerd Ranch. This client saw a double-digit percentage increase in sales due to one app that Big Nerd Ranch delivered. This client highly recommends Big Nerd Ranch for their ideation and solution oriented team.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for a larger company that owns multiple pest control companies, with the largest national one being Orkin Pest Control.

What is your position?

I’m the Director of Marketing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

It was sales enablement. We needed a way to make our outside sales force, which represents around 900 people, more effective in front of customers.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We’ve since developed maybe 11 or 12 separate iPad applications with Big Nerd Ranch over the past three years. It started off with a relatively simple one. They knocked it out of the park. It consisted of taking almost all of the digital collateral and making it possible for seamless presentations to be customized on the fly by the account manager on the iPad, based on the customer’s needs. Then the second one became much more sophisticated. It was an iPad application that digitized the whole sales process, from graphing to creating a scope of service, developing a proposal all within the application that Big Nerd built for us.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

In the beginning, I interviewed maybe four or five different companies and went through the process of learning about their capabilities, looking at their past work, talking to references, etc. I just felt comfortable with the team Big Nerd Ranch had. That’s the reason they got the initial business. They received the repeat business due to the quality of work and our pleasure with working with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Over the past three years, it’s been $200,000 to a million.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

With the second app, we saw a double-digit increase in sales per sales rep during the first year of adoption.

What distinguishes Big Nerd Ranch from other providers?

Big Nerd Ranch is a team full of great listeners. Even more so than that, they’re very solutions-oriented and not only do they build great products and develop smartly, the work they do at the requirements and discovery stage is what sets them apart. They bring great ideation into play and help you get to a great final product from a roadmap standpoint.

Is there anything Big Nerd Ranch could have improved or done differently?

We’ve been doing so much. If there was anything they could improve, I think it would be scalability. We’re feeling happy with the work they’re doing, but it’s tougher to scale to support all the demand that’s being required of them. That’s a minor thing though.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve always stayed under budget. They’re good about being very conservative in the estimates. It’s expensive work.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

App Development for Construction Firm

"Big Nerd Ranch makes it easy to get stuff done. A lot of consulting firms will put hoops up and you have to jump through this and you have to jump through that...We didn't have any of that."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

The client is a telecommunications construction firm based out of Florida that had previously used Big Nerd Ranch for internal development training. After learning of Big Nerd Ranch's professional services arm, this client decided to bring them in to develop their enterprise-level field-based application.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Palm Beach, FL
CIO, Construction Firm
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with their large development partnership with Big Nerd Ranch. This client highly recommends Big Nerd Ranch for their overall ease to work with, talented team of developers, and ability to execute on harsh deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a telecommunications construction firm. We build-out fiber networks and coax networks for the cable and telephone industries.

What is your position?

I’m the Chief Information Officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

We had an existing iOS-based application that used Ruby on Rails on the back end. What we needed was a management structure around that system. The system was designed for a single technician in an area to go out and do work in. It didn't have the concept of a team of technicians in the same area, or even broader, a number of areas where you had a number of teams doing work. We needed a management context built around the system we already had. We also used a third-party ticket management package integrated into the new system.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

What we asked Big Nerd Ranch to do was take that Ruby on Rails application, and basically build an HTML5 management console or management application.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

We had used Big Nerd Ranch prior for some training and we were happy with the results. We found out that they had professional service capabilities. We had a project coming up that was a fairly large, and we didn't have the staff availability to do it, and it was something that needed to be done within six months.

We had a couple of relationships with some other folks who did custom development, but none of them, we thought, were of the caliber to build something that would be field-based and distributed via mobile. They had to be strategic about connectivity. It had to integrate to a number of other systems. We decided to reach out to find a higher capability type of company to partner with. We interviewed about six different companies and we decided that Big Nerd Ranch was the best fit.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Our partnership with Big Nerd Ranch was a decent amount over $200,000.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Actually, I would measure success across a number of criteria. The first criterion is that they had a team, I think at one point, of five people working on this project, including the project management person, so four full-time developers. I sent a team of two internal developers to their office to take over the maintenance of the application. I sent them there for a week. They came back and said, "We got it. They did a good job designing it and its well put together. It's something that we can maintain."

If you think about having a group of five people work for six months on something, and then sending two people up there for only a week to catch up on it and come back and say, "We got it", that to me is probably the best success story because it's something that we can maintain and continue to grow without them. They kind of made themselves expendable by doing a really good job on the design and implementation in the first place.

The second thing I'll tell you is that the interface that they built for both the client application and the ticket entry system is ultimately reliable. One of the things that happens when you're dealing with a sometimes-connected workforce of blue collar workers, is that they get very frustrated very quickly if the application doesn't do exactly what they expect it to do when they expect to do it. The response from the users has been, "This thing works all the time."

The third thing is, from a management capability standpoint, they had a user interface designer work with us. We have not had the training, or the incidents we've had, even on just the little client application because they did such a good job streamlining and simplifying the design.

What distinguishes Big Nerd Ranch from other providers?

They lost their lead developer on our project about half-way through. Generally, when something like that happens, it cripples the project. We thought we we're going to go way over budget and we're going to go way over time, but they didn't miss a beat. I think that's a testament to the way that they manage their folks internally, in the way they document, and in the way they share information. We really didn't miss a beat. They took one of their existing people and put them into the lead position.

Lastly, I will say this; they're very easy to work with. Big Nerd Ranch makes it easy to get stuff done. A lot of consulting firms will put hoops up and you have to jump through this and you have to jump through that. We as customers do the same thing. You've got to send us the invoices in this format to this email address and then we'll pay it in this time. We didn't have any of that. We had a very short and simple statement of work. We all agreed to it. It was very clear what the responsibilities were and we started working. Again, somebody who makes it easy to work with them is going to get business, especially my business.

Is there anything Big Nerd Ranch could have improved or done differently?

I've had this conversation with them. They tend to cultivate very opinionated people. I think there are times where we're the customer; we know what we want. This was generally around technical things. We want it to work like this. They would come back and say, "No." It wasn't, "No and this is why." It was just, "No." Then we'd have to spend a couple of days getting everybody on a conference call. Generally, what would happen is neither side was right, and it took getting together and having that conversation to get to the final point. If we did it like this, then this meets everybody's needs.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They're expensive, but to some degree, you get what you pay for.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer