Business ResourcesHow Checkmate sharpens skills with Treehouse

Linnea Schulenburg
writes on September 13, 2017

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Checkmate has helped over 50 companies navigate the startup landscape since 2015. Treehouse has enabled its team to speed up the pace of work, increase communication and broaden their talent pipeline with technical training. Today, we’re sharing their story (and also a special discount to the Google Developer Group New Haven Dev Fest in Connecticut on Nov 4 & 5, 2017*).

Checkmate is a design and development studio that works with startups and entrepreneurs to take a proof of concept and turn it into a market ready minimum viable product. One of the tenets of their work is to “create with ingenuity”, which means “constantly looking for ways to make [their] process and products better, faster, and more efficient.”

In order to adapt to the changing market and customer needs, everyone at Checkmate is expected to be ready to learn and utilize new skills in technology, programming, and software. When asked about their learning culture, Checkmate CEO & Founder, Tom Nassr said “Our main criteria when hiring is the willingness to put in the time and work to genuinely understand and retain information when they’re learning.”   

To fulfill their need for ongoing access to technical training, they needed to find a tool that:

  • Provides timely, relevant tech training so they can tackle diverse, large projects
  • Encourages a culture of learning with interactive training
  • Supports new hires and apprentice programs with beginner-friendly material and tools that allow managers to assign learning, set due dates and see progress

How they found Treehouse

“Treehouse is our technical cornerstone. Anything technical we need to learn, Treehouse is the first place we look.”

Choosing a learning tool was a priority early on at the company. Fortunately, their lead front end developer was already using Treehouse to learn new tech skills and encouraged Tom to try it. “I started learning on Treehouse with no idea how any of this technology worked,” says Tom, “and I learned enough to hire my initial team at Checkmate. I don’t do much development today, but I just troubleshooted some iOS work for a client project and it’s great to be able to step in when needed.”

Now, Checkmate provides all employees with on-demand technical training through Treehouse, allowing everyone from project managers and developers to strategists and designers to gain new technical skills as needed. “Treehouse is our technical cornerstone. Anything technical we need to learn, Treehouse is the first place we look.” says Tom.

Outcomes of training

With their increased technical skills, they’ve been able to increase cross departmental communication, decrease technical bottlenecks, and expedite work. One example they related was the difference Treehouse has made for projects requiring design. “Going to our designers every time we needed an asset exported was taking up too much of their time. With Treehouse’s design courses, our project managers have been able to learn enough about Illustrator and Sketch to handle simple things like exporting assets on their own, which helps to reduce our design team’s workload.”

“There is so much on Treehouse for someone who isn’t from the tech industry or a developer. The first thing I tell new people to do is to get on Treehouse.”

Treehouse is also built into their apprenticeship program, where apprentices in design, development and strategy are assigned a certain number of hours of Treehouse and other training to complete each week. Technical training has paved the way for apprentices to contribute on large projects, solve problems, and get hands-on experience during their apprenticeships. For example, “One of our strategy apprentices had experience with relational databases, but wasn’t familiar with MongoDB. We needed to create a document detailing the architecture of an application that would use MongoDB. So he went on Treehouse, took a few courses on MongoDB, and was able to quickly put together the correct documentation. By the end of his apprenticeship, he was very impressed with how quickly he could pick up practical skills with Treehouse compared to traditional education. He said, ‘I can learn more in Treehouse in a week than I could  in a semester at school.’”

Last, the ability to quickly increase tech skills and give new hires access to training in necessary topics has allowed the company to broaden their hiring pool so they can focus on hiring for fit, not just existing skills. “There is so much on Treehouse for someone who isn’t from the tech industry or a developer. The first thing I tell new people to do is to get on Treehouse.”

*Checkmate is excited to co-host the Google Developer Group (GDG) New Haven Dev Fest, on November 4th & 5th. Use the coupon code TREEHOUSE for 20% off a two day ticket!

We love hearing stories about the impact Treehouse has made for businesses and organizations that need to increase their internal technical skill. Treehouse for Business supports employees at every level to learn the technical skills they need, when they need them. Get in touch to tell us your business’s story, or learn more about Treehouse for Business plans!


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