Master’s degree in one's own field opens doors

The first conversion training to be completed as labour market training has begun at the University of Oulu. A two-year Master's programme aims to combine makers and doers with the competence needs of companies in the area.


Better employment prospects, up-to-date knowledge and a Master's degree. These, amongst others, are the goals of Jaana-Maria Moilanen and Juha Kinnunen, who began their Master’s studies on the first labour market training course before Christmas. Master's education in Information Processing Science is a two-year course and focuses on software engineering.

“I graduated as a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Information Technology from OUAS in 2010, but I've mostly worked at a secretarial job in a hospital environment and at a private health station “, Jaana-Maria Moilanen explains.

“I was unemployed when I noticed this opportunity on the website of the TE Office. After the training I would be interested in hospital IT.”

To develop testing

Also Juha Kinnunen had been unemployed for four months when he came across Master’s training in software engineering. The embedded systems engineer (BA) had managed to accumulate work experience from Nokia, Neusoft, Sesca Group and Prove.

At the start of the training he managed to make arrangements for part-time work with design office ALTEN Finland as well as a plan to complete his Master’s thesis to the company. His topic is the development of testing in industrial production and control processes. The systems under testing can be, for instance, the control of blast furnaces in steel production, materials management, weighing systems, control and invoicing. The objective is to determine how various components are tested in a systematic way and so that they also work with other systems. At first, the job consists of making interviews.

Positions of responsibility available

Moilanen and Kinnunen are satisfied with their first courses. The schedules require some navigation, but the workload is roughly the same as in the polytechnic.

“There was more practical training in the polytechnic, whereas now writing essays takes a lot of time. Studying is probably a little more independent”, Moilanen estimates.

Separate courses in English are not needed, as the entire training takes place mainly in English. There are some representatives of different nationalities amongst the students.

Moilanen would recommend similar training, for example, to Bachelors of Business Administration in computing. Kinnunen, in turn, recommends Master's education, for example, for coders in testing who want to become Project Managers.

“You need education and specific theoretical knowledge at job interviews in order to defend your arguments and to dare to voice a dissenting opinion. Uncertainty easily shines through.”

“Basic tasks at workplaces often go to trainees, and people with education and experience are sought to positions of more responsibility. In such jobs, responsibilities are clearly different from basic coding work. I would like to move in that direction.”

Also Moilanen thinks that education is useful when trying to find work in your own field.

“It has been so long since graduation that my skills have already rusted. This gives me a new foundation for work assignments. A higher university degree also includes a lot of new material.”

New conversion training starting

In December, 25 students from 70 applicants were selected on the Master's Programme in Information Processing Science organised as labour market training. The content of the training has been determined together with ELY and TE Centres and also on the basis of interviews with companies in North Ostrobothnia, which dealt with the companies' labour and expertise needs.

The education is based on the temporary change to the Employment and Enterprise Services Act (305 / 2017). The aim is to ensure that the legislative amendment becomes a permanent one.

A two-year Master's degree programme in information and communication technologies (ICT) will start in the autumn 2018 as conversion training. The training is organised by a network of eight universities and coordinated by the University of Oulu. Conversion training is available for 250 students in the whole of Finland. The application period is in May 2018.

News 19/10/2017: University of Oulu to begin training the unemployed in a software engineering Master's programme

Last updated: 23.3.2018