BUILDING THE RIGHT NETWORK: INTERVIEW WITH JONAS VOGNSEN

By Malene Vedersø

By building the right network and relations between companies and students, IT Minds was founded 10 years ago, and this is also part of the company’s DNA today. Jonas Vognsen, Partner at IT Minds, tells us about the development the company has gone through and why he sees the IWDK event Local Rock Stars as a tech event where it is important to be partner.

 

WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO BE FOUNDING PARTNER AT LOCAL ROCK STARS?

I have always had a passion for creating learning opportunities for IT talents. This is also one of the cornerstones IT Minds is built on. Local Rock Stars is an event where local tech talents share their knowledge, and especially this locally centred tech event for IT talents was something that Aarhus – in my opinion – needed.

From the beginning, Local Rock Stars has always been a project close to my heart, and despite my calendar being filled, I enjoy continuously being a part of the team behind Local Rock Stars.

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE JOURNEY IT MINDS HAS BEEN ON?

10 years ago, co-founder Morten A. Christensen and I had just returned from a semester abroad at Harvard University. Here, we experienced how students, even though they were still studying, already created value for the industry. This inspired us to found IT Minds with the goal to create learning possibilities for IT talents, and at the same time fill the need for young innovative IT developers who the market was screaming for.

Since then, IT Minds has developed rapidly, and today we are +180 IT talents working together with half of Denmark’s C-25 Companies. Furthermore, we were recently honoured by being in the Top 10 of the most attractive employers for IT students, which is something we are very proud of.

 

WHEN DEVELOPING FUTURE IT, WHICH ROLE DOES BUILDING THE RIGHT NETWORK AND RELATIONS PLAY?

Of course, it plays a big role. This is also one of the reasons why I am so involved in Local Rock Stars. I want to create a space where young IT talents can expand their network and get a taste of all the opportunities that await them after finishing their
studies.

Despite all the possibilities for online networking, I still believe in the value of a local-focused network – and an event like Local Rock Stars highlights all the local talent we have in Aarhus.

 

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO FOCUS ON RIGHT NOW IN TERMS OF TECH AND NETWORK?

The average age of our IT developers is 27, so naturally, they have a solid interest in and understanding of leading-edge technologies. Therefore, an important focus for us is to seize the opportunities that come with new technologies and knowing when they can create value for our customers and helping them create smarter businesses.

 

IT MINDS IS ENGAGED WITH MANY STAKEHOLDERS – FOR INSTANCE, THE IT UNIVERSITIES. WHY IS THAT?

We started recruiting IT talents by being physically present at the IT universities and networking with the students at eye level. To this day, I still think that this contributed to our success in finding the best IT talents. We still have a close connection to the IT universities, for example by creating tech talks and tech workshops, where our IT developers share their knowledge with the participating IT talents. At these tech events, we try to give the students an insight into the many different technologies the industry is working with and how they can be applied outside of the university.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN TECH ARE TODAY?

In the next decade, the companies that are willing to take calculated risks and dare to do business differently will be the winners. With this comes the challenge to more willingly be able to let go and let technology guide the way. I believe that we will experience a growing number of companies, like Kodak and Blockbuster, who will be beaten by companies who dare to disrupt their business.