The Portal is a product strategy and development studio bringing exciting web and mobile products to local companies in southern California. Our vision is to be a local talent engine for high-tech driven businesses throughout the country.

We are bridging the gap between companies who spend inordinate amounts of time and resources looking for experienced hires to join their teams to build great products, and exceptional talent who need real-world opportunities to kick start a fulfilling career.

Led by a team of experienced designers and developers, we offer competitive apprenticeship opportunities to students and young professionals who gain real-world experience on live development projects with local companies, and then are placed into full time jobs within our network.

We have learned a lot up until this point, and we want to share our story, lessons, and reflections.

Our Principles

Our team principles embody the spirit of our impact and vision. We take these principles seriously, and have worked together with our students and team members to outline them:

Experiential: We don’t have training modules and we don’t give out grades. The Portal brings students out of a traditional learning environment — the clients, the products, and the experience are all real.

Collaborative: Students are expected to advise and guide teammates, and constantly provide feedback to senior trainers. By working horizontally, we’re always exchanging knowledge.

Inclusive: We prioritize transparency and voice for students and team members alike. Ensuring this communication has been the key to cultivating a culture of community.

Empowering: We’re always working to provide a balance of competitive opportunities and fun experiences for students to produce outstanding products for companies. Motivated students are the key to our success.

Our team didn’t always have these set of principles firmly set. Lacking these foundations made it hard to capture our envisioned impact or create a road map forward. By critically looking at our strengths (and weaknesses), we have re-centered our team on a core identity and what drives us.

We’re excited for what lies ahead!

Originally published on our Medium account, December 2, 2016.