Anyone interested in entering a career in technology knows how incredibly competitive the San Francisco job market is. Nevertheless, with more than 3,500 tech jobs still open within 25 miles of the city, it helps to get as much advice as possible, especially from an entrepreneur like Torsten Kolind, Co-founder and CEO of the successful San Francisco-based startup, YouNoodle.

(Photo Courtesy of Torsten Kolind)

(Photo Courtesy of Torsten Kolind)

What is your background and level of education?

“I am the CEO and co-founder of YouNoodle, a global platform for startup competitions. I serve as a guest mentor for The Accelerators Blog at The Wall Street Journal, and have judged and mentored for a dozen organizations, including Stanford, MIT, Startup Weekend, Creative Business Cup, and Rockstart Accelerator. An engineer by training, I specialize in company operations, scaling, and strategy, and hold an M.S. in bioinformatics from the Technical University of Denmark.”

What type of services does your company provide?

“YouNoodle has built a fast-track engine for entrepreneurs, where performance in competitions opens doors. Unlike other startup networks, all YouNoodle startups are evaluated by locally appointed expert judges, and only shortlisted for other opportunities if they do well. Founders get global validation, investors can focus on top talent, and corporations may find unexpected new business partners. Our job is to make the startup ecosystem focus on the right opportunities: startups with global potential.”

What advice can you share with people trying to compete for a job in the tech industry?

“If you are looking to join a startup, align yourself with its vision and values. Focus less on salary and benefits, more on stock and personal growth/excitement. Startups often hire more passionate people at the expense of experience, very contrary to large tech companies, where your resume and interview skills are everything. If you want to work at Google or Intel, expect competitive interview processes, no stock options but great pay, lots of benefits, nice work/life balance, but probably very limited personal growth and excitement. In big tech, you’re a cog in the machine, in a startup, you build the machine.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on