With a little luck and a lot of skill you can go pretty far in life pretty quickly. That has been the experience of Stephan Deuringer, the newly appointed Head of IT Services and the youngest person on censhare’s management team. Not that luck and skill are the only things that have propelled him to this milestone; clearly hard work, imagination, and an open mind are all features that everyone on the management team share. While Stephan’s story is exciting, and should give everyone at censhare a reason to work hard, this wouldn’t be an HR post if we didn’t mention that he’s not only the new Head of IT Services, he’s also a hiring manager with open positions !
Before we talk about where Stephan is, it’s important to understand where he came from. He started at censhare in 2009 as part of Andreas Hubert’s apprenticeship program. Of course, it’s not unlikely that he’s still around since over fifty percent of the IT department are former apprentices.
“I actually had the worst interview. I was not able to answer any of the questions and there was no way I was going to get into the apprenticeship, but then I got the message that I got it! It was just luck,” Stephan said.
Whether he’s being humble, or Andreas saw something in him that he didn’t, or the competition just wasn’t that fierce that year, censhare is the better for having hired him.
In fact, he still feels a part of the apprentice program, since “everytime I move into a new role I still have tasks from all my previous roles.” So make sure to thank Stephan while he’s cleaning up the kitchen, which is clearly a habit from his apprenticeship.
For many companies eight years is a lifetime. A major reason that censhare is able to enjoy this current growth period is that its core employees are extraordinarily tenured for a company that has only been around since 2001. Stephan’s eight years doesn’t necessarily sound impressive by censhare standards, but as a 27 year-old, he’s spent almost a third of his life at censhare.
According to Stephan the culture began to change about four years ago when Stefan Schluppeck was hired as head of IT. It was at that point that IT truly began to be blended with the business aspect of running a company. That was when censhare took their own advice and invested in an actual IT infrastructure rather than use cobbled solutions. It’s that change to true professionalism that is not only the most striking to Stephan, but also the most important aspect of the department that he is taking over.
In his new role he takes care of internal IT, the SaaS environment and cloud solutions among other things, instead of being in charge of customer installations, as the IT department has done in the past. He has to challenge both himself and his team to change their focus toward the bigger picture.
Walking the Management Balance Beam
He doesn’t feel that his role has changed significantly though. He’s still the same IT person he always was, just with more to do. As he has six open positions on his team he is able to keep himself busy. He doesn’t lament the fact that he still has two roles, both his IT and his management roles, because he sees it as a great opportunity. “I feel the pressure from management, but I don’t want my IT skills to deteriorate as my management duties become more prevalent. This new experience is a lot of fun.”
Stephan wants to continue to be the go-to person in IT, but knows that eventually he’ll have to make a decision on which path on this fork to travel. “I can no longer kick the can to the head of IT, as I am the head of IT. But, I still have fun and feel the rush of accomplishing projects. Finding the balance between me continuing in this role and training my team to eventually take over is currently my biggest challenge.”
Stephan doesn’t feel like his team feels differently about him now that he’s moved into a management role, “with our flat hierarchy it’s not uncommon to work with people on the management team, board or even c-suite and completely forget about their broader roles. It’s one of the things that makes censhare so appealing to work at and I am not about to shake things up differently in the IT department.”
IT Just Wants to Have Fun
As I interviewed Stephan a word kept coming up over and over again; ‘fun’. He looks back at his time at censhare as a fun time. Of course, there are long hours and frustrating moments and an endless amount to learn, but Stephan brushed over those as just par for the course at an agile technology company. He clearly felt passionate about the work he does and the people he works with and the fact that they go out of their way to have fun together.