With great knowledge comes great responsibility

Computer Science and Engineering is a vast and intriguing field, therefore, as a student, you will ultimately be responsible for choosing an area of specialization that fits your interests. But making such a critical choice can be very intimidating, right? Well, not necessarily. The University of Oulu offers a wide variety of courses ranging from AI and VR (Virtual Reality) to computer security and digital systems design and everything in between. The best part is that you can mix courses from all these areas to satisfy your curiosity and thirst for learning.
A monitor and a 3D printer

Choosing your studies

The Computer Science and Engineering programme has four tracks that you can choose from Artificial Intelligence, Applied Computing, Computer Engineering, and a newly added track of Cyber Security, starting in 2023. Each track has mandatory courses that you must take, and optional ones that you can choose based on your preference. And if you are interested in more than one track, you can always pick your optional courses from other tracks. You can also discuss your course choice with your program coordinator to ensure your studies will go smoothly without taking too few or too many courses.

I went for the Computer Engineering track because of my interest in System-on-Chip design. I wanted to learn more about the intricacies of their hardware and software, and the curriculum did not disappoint. The courses provide in-depth knowledge of the presented topics while pushing you to do more research and motivating you to self-study. They also involved working in teams with people who were often from other majors, which resulted in rich discussions and debates revolving around the exciting opinions of teammates from diverse backgrounds.

Doing is the best way of learning

One of my favourite things about studying in Oulu is the project-based learning approach. Many courses do not even have exams and the grading is dependent on the work you put into your projects. I admire this way of teaching because after all, we are engineers, and we do not believe we understand something until we can build it. It also sharpens your time management and problem-solving skills which are highly beneficial in your future career.

When I took the Computer Security course I had no practical skills in the topics. All I had was some theoretical knowledge about the possible ways of hacking a device. But the course had a technical approach through intense (but optional) laboratory work. I was practically sailing into unknown waters in that course and the labs took me a long time and energy. But by the time I finished the course, I had learned many new skills and my theoretical understanding is now backed by technical competence and the ability to apply what I know in the real world.

Great expectations are met at the University of Oulu

When I decided to come to Oulu, I knew the city was an ICT hub with many tech companies in the area so I expected that getting a job or an internship would not be that hard.

What I didn’t expect though, was companies coming right to the University to advertise their open positions.

One day I was coming out of a lecture and was surprised by Electrobit holding an event at the university, so I had a nice conversation with a couple of engineers about the kind of work they do and half an hour later I was being interviewed for a summer internship!

About the author

Mourad Boulfrad is from Algeria and is currently a first-year student in the Computer Science and Engineering master’s programme. He used to live in a city that’s considered cold in Algeria, but he thinks it doesn’t compare to Oulu in that regard!