Jóhann combines work as a Consultant with teaching at the University of Reykjavík
Jóhann Björn Jóhannsson graduated from the master’s programme in Civil and Architectural Engineering in 2018. He now works at VSO Consulting in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Hi Jóhann Björn, what are you doing at the moment?
Currently I work with consultation on civil engineering, construction and project management, building technology and building physics. The VSO Consulting offices in Iceland and Norway currently employ a tightly knit group of around 80 people, educated in the fields of civil engineering, environmental affairs, economics, landscape design and more. I am also teaching construction and project management at the University of Reykjavík.
What can a regular day look like at your job?
A regular day at my job consists of both working in the office and regular visits to construction sites for inspection and meetings with architects, engineers, clients and the construction contractor. I am the person assigned to the client to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the construction project objectives.
Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?
After graduating I continued my master’s thesis research on dynamic simulation of moisture and thermal flow in concrete walls at the Building Research Institute of Iceland. The primary objective of the study was to analyse the hygrothermal behaviour of interior insulated concrete walls and evaluate the mould risk associated with condensation at the interior surface of the concrete. The study also included physical experiments that were conducted at the laboratory of the Department of Construction Research at the Innovation Center Iceland. The work on this research topic was well received and gained high notice in the construction industry. It also contributed to many presentations which subsequently produced many job offers for me later on.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I choose KTH because it is a leading engineering university in Europe and highly praised by others. I had heard many great things about the studies and its affiliation with the industry. When I completed my BSc in Civil Engineering, I was not sure what to specialize in, but I was determined to take my MSc abroad. Something about KTH fascinated me so strongly that it was the only university I applied to. The Architectural Engineering track attracted me as it is concerned not only with the structural segment of engineering but also with important and interesting applications of building technology and energy performance in buildings with the latest technologies. I had also heard about KTH cooperation with experts from the industry and the involvement of experts, both from industry and teachers.
Are there any insights or knowledge you acquired during your studies that have been particularly useful for you in your career?
What I like most about the study layout at KTH is the period division of the study year. The fact that every study year has four periods with two courses in each period resulted in much deeper learning in each course where my focus was targeted exclusively on each subject at hand. What was a substantial benefit for my career was the system of project and team work in the courses where you learn to communicate in groups working toward the best solution, and ultimately presenting the work done to other students and professors.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
What I liked most about the studies was the connection to the industry. The lecturers very often had connections to the industry which gave me extensive knowledge and insight in what to expect after graduation. Frequently there were company promotions (Armada) when companies came and introduced themselves and their job opportunities for graduates.
What I appreciated highly was also the aid and endless support of professors and course lecturers. Every teacher in the programme would do everything to help you understand or grasp the knowledge or problem you are trying to solve relating to the studies.
What is your best memory from your time at the university?
My best memory from the university is most definitely the summer day when I defended my master’s thesis. It was wonderful to end two marvellous years with a project well-received and praised.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is developing a further career in civil engineering and project management, gaining more responsibility yielding successful projects. The goal is to gain deeper knowledge, skills and proficiency in my field of profession by constantly developing my skillset with the latest technology and findings in civil engineering and project management providing both economic and efficient solutions in terms of sustainability and quality.
What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
If you are interested in anything related to civil engineering but not entirely sure about your specialization, then KTH must be your number one choice. The diverse options of tracks and your many course options make it easy for you to shape and form your specialization in this field of engineering. When I started the programme, I was not entirely sure what to specialise in within the field of engineering, but the tracks that the programme provides allow you to find your interests and, ultimately, achieve your specialization.