Due to a strong demand for digitalisation in Ostrobothnian industry, Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU) has started a new master’s programme in Information Technology in Vaasa. The master’s programme, which is now into its first academic year, is partly externally financed by foundations looking to strengthen the Vaasa region with much-needed talent in computer engineering.
Andreas Lundell is University Lecturer in Information Technology at the Faculty of Science and Engineering:
The graduates of our new master’s programme will be able to participate and carry out industrial digitalisation projects. Our region has several large companies, but also smaller ones, for whom digitalisation is both an opportunity and a challenge. Our students will fill positions in these local companies, keeping our region competitive.
Remote studies in English
With Computer Engineering as their main subject, the students of ÅAU’s new master’s programme will particularly focus on the Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing and smart solutions for the energy industry. The courses are divided into modules and mostly given remotely in English.
While students entering the master’s programme need to have the required knowledge in Swedish, the individual courses are open to English-speaking exchange students and students from other universities.
The application requirement for the master’s programme is a bachelor’s degree in IT. However, graduates with other technical degrees and students who have passed a certain number of study points in IT may also apply. Anders Lundell encourages this:
We value a genuine interest in the field. Working in computer engineering requires you to upgrade your knowledge every few years. A computer engineer must have the desire to continuously learn more and use their knowledge in practice. Our programme is very application-oriented, and we work in close cooperation with different companies.
Based on a working model
In addition to local industries, ÅAU has a close cooperation with Novia UAS, which trains engineers with bachelor’s degrees in Vaasa. ÅAU and Novia have already been collaborating successfully for 10 years around ÅAU’s master’s programme in Chemical and Process Engineering within Energy Technology.
Margareta Björklund-Sänkiaho, Professor at the Laboratory of Energy Technology, comments on the successful master’s programme, which was also initially backed by local foundations:
Over the years, we have trained over 50 engineers with master’s degrees in Vaasa, but there is a need for more. The Vaasa region has substantial plans for its energy cluster, and with the intended future battery technology investments, every indication shows that we need more engineers with higher education.
A hot market for engineers
Engineers with master’s degrees are indeed in high demand on the job market. Almost 90% of ÅAU’s master’s students in Energy Technology write their thesis for companies, and most often they find jobs already during their studies, just as students in IT do.
ÅAU offers its students the unique chance to tailor their degrees by picking courses in both Energy Technology and IT, which grants graduates even hotter work opportunities, particularly in Vaasa.
This interdisciplinary approach has clear benefits, as Margareta Björklund-Sänkiaho notes:
The energy industry today is increasingly IT-dependant. The energy supply, its dynamics and smart solutions do not work without it, and an engineer today has to have knowledge in IT to understand the industry.
Andreas Lundell agrees, adding that specialisation is key for small universities:
We cannot be everything, so we focus on collaborations and providing cutting-edge knowledge within a few fields. Looking at the energy industry, we see that more research is needed in smart energy networks and data centres. This is knowledge that is not only produced for the Vaasa region, but for companies everywhere.
The next application period to Åbo Akademi University’s master programmes is 16‒30 March 2022.
For more information about different degree programmes, please visit www.abo.fi.
External financiers backing Åbo Akademi University’s new master’s programme in Information Technology in Vaasa:
- Aktiastiftelsen i Vasa
- Handlanden Gustaf Swanljungs donationsfond
- Harry Schaumans stiftelse
- Högskolestiftelsen i Österbotten
- Svensk-Österbottniska samfundet
- Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce