IT siblings' path from business information technology studies to work

Ek's siblings are all Haagahelians. Their interest in computers started with the hobby of the eldest brother and has gradually passed from one sibling to the next.

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All roads lead to Pasila

The eldest of the siblings, Antti Vartiainen (in the middle) started his career early, during the IT boom of 2000, when the young Vartiainen was so drawn into work that he abandoned his studies in telecommunications engineering.

– I had already made my first coding experiments on a Commodore 64 at the age of 7, so with the defiance of a 20-something, I thought I was too good to spend my time in school, Antti recalls.

However, Antti decided to continue his engineering studies alongside work, but at the same time, the idea dawned on him that his existing knowledge and understanding of software engineering and architecture could be strengthened by combining business management aspects with them.

Otto Ek (on the right), the youngest of the siblings, applied to Haaga-Helia largely on the recommendation of his older brother. Otto had initially considered studying engineering in computer science, but after consulting his brother, he found that the business information technology at Haaga-Helia better suited his own interests.

– I grew up in a household where we practically always had computers, as my older brother Antti had also been into them since he was a child. His brother's computer was either shared or, as was the custom, the old computer was passed on to younger siblings, Tua and me, explains Otto.

Middle sibling Tua Ek-Taiminen (on the left) had already studied and worked as a nurse before she decided to apply to the same university.

Study highlights and moments together

Antti and Tua both completed their studies as part-time studies, Antti alongside work and Tua alongside work and family life.

– My studies were mainly in evening classes and alongside work, so I didn't get to experience student life as such. If there was anything that surprised me, it was how I, a former teacher's terror, grew up to be a "fives' hunter", Antti recalls.

Otto has fond memories from his full-time studies, especially of the group work in the courses. The work was very project-based and therefore also very workplace-oriented, and offered the opportunity for networking.

–Technically speaking, Antti and I were enrolled at Haaga-Helia at the same time, but we didn't meet much on campus. Instead, we often talked openly with Antti about assignments, as he had more than ten years of IT experience in addition to his studies. Discussions with Antti were fruitful; through them, I could connect the dots between the importance of studies and the reality of working life, says Otto.

Tua studied mainly remotely, as her study time was limited by covid. However, she says the university quickly put together the necessary information and arrangements for distance learning for students and teachers.

– One fun experience and memory of my studies is participating in a competition called Tulevaisuuden AMK ("Future UAS"). Our group consisted of three circular economy students and we did a lot of work for the competition. The jury was made up of people with solid professional skills and experience and we received good sparring and feedback during the competition, says Tua.

Where are the siblings today?

Antti has been working as a Programme Architect at Salesforce since 2018.

– Salesforce's culture is based on strong values, the most relevant for me are "customer success" and "trust". In my work as an architect-consultant, these values are highlighted and also provide good support for a high degree of self-direction in the presence of high demands, so that in my daily work I can give the most priority to the most important actions for success of the customer, based on our values, Antti says about his work.

Otto works as a Systems Expert at Accountor Finago.

– What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to influence the content of my work and how much I want to hold the reins. The work is not monotonous and there are plenty of challenges. My employer and my team also offer excellent opportunities for development in my work and in strengthening my expertise, says Otto.

Tua has just started working for Apix Messaging Oy as an Application Advisor.

– At the moment I'm facing something completely new in my working life, so I guess I enjoy challenging myself and learning new things. Otto and I work practically the same employer and we have the opportunity to meet face-to-face in the office. I know I can get support and sparring from my brothers when needed. At some point when we meet, our conversations always turn to work and now back to studies again, as Antti started his studies for a Master's degree, Tua says.

How did your studies prepare you for work?

–The studies gave me the courage and confidence to change sectors and strengthened my learning skills. I learned new things that I had not known before and I got feedback and evaluation from teachers to validate my own learning experience. I felt that I could learn new things and apply them in practice when necessary, says Tua, analysing her time as a student.

Antti would especially recommend the Business Information Technology degree from Haaga-Helia to those who have already worked in the IT sector without a degree, as it makes it easy to demonstrate the basic level of one's own competence in concrete terms. He did not find studying while working and reflecting on his own competence and industry knowledge to be too demanding, despite the long days.

– Life is continuous learning and so this autumn I started at Haaga-Helia as a Master student in the Business Technologies degree programme. Nowadays, I find occasional areas of discomfort and challenges energising rather than consuming. I sometimes get so excited about the courses and the new perspectives they bring to different things that I ask my colleagues and friends to kindly say if I talk about them too much, Antti laughs.

Greetings to current and future students

Siblings also highlight the importance of self-reflection and developing your own learning, which can benefit from the various mentoring services available. They encourage current students to enjoy their studies and network with fellow students and future colleagues and friends.