Published November 15, 2005
Volume 13, Number 11

InnerWorkings Helps Software Developers Hone Their Skills

InnerWorkings recently hosted a party for the .NET Rocks Road Trip, a
nationwide tour of the Internet audio talk show for .NET developers.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Computer programmers—also known as software developers—are the people who create the applications that we use every day for work, communications, and even entertainment. Whether you’re typing out a document in a word processor or downloading music, these are the people who give computer hardware the interfaces and capabilities on which nearly all of us rely. As users demand ever increasing capabilities from high-tech devices, the skills of these professionals must continually progress. To help developers in their efforts to increase and test their competence, InnerWorkings, at 4305 Hacienda Drive, has developed a tool called InnerWorkings Developer.

“Our InnerWorkings Developer product is a software application designed to increase the capabilities of software developers through a structured practice environment,” says John McIntyre, vice president of marketing and business development for InnerWorkings. “As a company, one of the things we talk about is taking developers from knowledge to performance. Using music as an example, you become a better musician not just by studying music, but by practicing the instrument on which you play it.”

Software developers use certain commands—called code—that translate into actions that a computer or other device will perform. Just as people are able to communicate with each other in different languages, a number of different computer “languages” can be used by developers to write code that a device will understand. The language that will be used depends on the type of application that will be built, the preference of the organization for which an application is being created, or even the proficiency of the developer in a certain type of coding. These languages include Java, C, C++, and the two that InnerWorkings addresses, Visual Basic .NET and C#, both developed and supported by Microsoft. According to McIntyre, Visual Basic .NET is probably the most used development language in the world today.

“InnerWorkings Developer presents software coding challenges to developers that simulate those they might encounter in the real world,” McIntyre says. “It also measures their progress and reports on it so that individual developers or the organizations in which they work can gauge their capabilities to get a view into their strengths and discover areas that could be improved. Our software offers a practice environment that starts out with easy coding tasks and progresses to more difficult ones. The developers actually write code as if they were working on a real project. It also offers links to online reference material that they can access to help them complete the projects they are working on within InnerWorkings Developer. To complete the product, we also provide an online personal tutor so that if a developer is really stuck and needs human help, it’s available.”

InnerWorkings has a dual presence in the U.S. and Dublin, Ireland, where the company’s research and development center is located. In the U.S., the company was founded in late 2002, with operations starting in early 2003. The company was initially self-funded in addition to a seed investment from an Irish state development agency called Enterprise Ireland. InnerWorkings’ initial research and development phase took place during 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the company completed its first product and received venture backing of $8.8 million from Benchmark Capital Europe and MDV-Mohr, Davidow Ventures. In June of this year, the company expanded its activities in Dublin and opened its corporate headquarters in Hacienda. Currently, InnerWorkings has 25 employees based in Ireland and 15 in the U.S., with plans to expand its Pleasanton presence to 20 people in its 3,000 square foot facility.


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