Denmark emerging as a leader in software development

To further tap into its potential, the country needs more qualified employees, says industry expert

Denmark is slowly emerging as a European leader in the development of new software, according to the confederation of Danish industry, Dansk Industri.

The country continues to attract companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Uber Software Development, which have either set up or expanded development divisions in big Danish cities over the past two years.

Denmark also receives the largest share of investment from foreign venture funds of all the countries in the Nordic region, according to a report from Invest Europe.

READ MORE: Indian IT giant invests big in Aarhus startup

Access to qualified specialists
“The fact that Microsoft, for example, has its largest European development centre in Denmark and that IBM is now setting up an innovation centre with 250 employees here is no coincidence,” said Steen Hommel, the head of Invest in Denmark.

“We offer access to highly qualified IT specialists, and the Danes and Danish businesses are good at using digital solutions.”

READ MORE: Danish innovation hubs receive top marks

Software graduates needed
These developments are also reflected in the number of admissions to university software programs, which have this year increased by 62 percent compared to 2015.

“There is a very great demand for software graduates – especially those who specialise in algorithms and big data,” explained Mads Tofte, the rector of the IT University of Copenhagen.

“This year, we doubled our intake and instead of applying to the Danish Ministry of Education for a grant, like we usually do, we financed this expansion ourselves because the need is too acute.”

Nevertheless, the Danish government estimates that Denmark will be lacking 19,000 IT and electronics specialists by 2030.

READ MORE: Business Needs Talent: Tapping into the international talent pool in Denmark

Catching up with Sweden
“When we look at the big picture, there is no doubt that access to qualified employees will be a hindrance in the future,” contends Adam Lebech, the industry director at DI Digital.

“We should, of course, be happy that the graduates we have are able to attract the big players to Denmark and to start new, successful businesses that bring in capital from abroad. But if they are to remain here, we have to ensure they also have a good environment in which to operate.”

Copenhagen has started branding itself as the new IT hub for the financial sector, but continues to face fierce competition from Sweden and Germany.

Accenture has however reported that investments in Danish fintech companies have increased from 55.8 million kroner in 2012 to 1.2 billion in 2015, which means that Denmark is catching up with Sweden, the leader in this field.

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