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The existence and influence of information and communications technology (ICT) are no longer foreign, but rather universal in our society nowadays. ICT competence is needed both in daily life interactions and in professional growth fields, such as information security, intelligent machines, environmental technology, devices, and services. As a result, ICT is an essential component of daily life interactions and the most important growth-promoting technological competence in almost every field. In Finland, studying ICT can prepare students with knowledge and skills in technological fields including electronics, embedded systems, programming, telecommunications, and information networks.
Being an important job sector in which the government is focusing on recruiting and attracting international talents, a large number of Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences offer degree programs in ICT. Programs vary for students to select from, including digitalization, internet security, big data analytics, electrical engineering, automation engineering, computer science etc.
Finland, a pioneer of ICT and the Industrial Internet
Finland is one of world’s leading countries in information and communications technology (ICT). The country is home to world-leading companies in a lot of ICT and digitalization sub-sectors, some among which, aim to solve global issues.
Fueled by innovation, Finland brought to the world the mobile text message (SMS), the Heart Rate Monitor and the Linux operating system. Finland is the biggest contributor to global innovation in the world (ITIF 2016).
Some of the greatest communication technology innovations of Finland include mobile gaming companies such as Supercell (Clash of Clans), Rovio (Angry Birds) and Fingersoft. Finland is also well-known as the production land of wearable technologies including fitness trackers, smart contact lenses, augmented reality glasses, smart clothes, and smart fabrics. The country is, no doubt, a world-class cluster of machinery companies: Kone, Metso, Valmet, and Wärtsilä, with employees who are highly-skilled ICT professionals.
Since 2015, Finland has already stood out as the top country for information and communications technology (ICT), according to European Commission Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).
According to Computer Weekly, the ICT sector of Finland is far larger compared to that of other European countries, and it is no doubt that Finland is undefeatable for its advanced IT skills.
Regarding Finland’s lead in ICT sector, Computer Weekly argues the first reason to be the Nokia’s impact – the Finnish-made mobiles that successfully conquered the world and create inspiration. After Nokia’s problems, there has been a swift emergence in ICT start-up spirit in Finland for professionals, from senior experts to university graduates.
Another deeper insight into Finland’s excellence in IT surrounds its rapid innovation during the 1980s communications boom and the country’s development of ICT infrastructure, utilizing its own ICT advancements.
An additional fact is that Finland helped build the practical internet – and the country was one of the first to surf. Finland also pioneered in using mobiles, implementing analog network and 3G.
ICT education and job opportunities in Finland
In Finland, 2.2% of higher education graduates under 30 years old hold a higher education degree in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), whilst the number is 1.9% for Denmark and 1.6% for Germany.
Finland owns one of the most advanced and broad-ranged tools of digital technology in education, starting from the first grade of primary school throughout the education system, and comprising of formal and extracurricular studies through technology. Finland promotes the core value and potential of digitalization.
“Co-operation between government, universities and companies has been successful, especially in the ICT sector, and this has created many job opportunities.”, said Heikki Hämmäinen, professor of communications and networking at Helsinki’s Aalto University.
According to Finn Partnership, Finland’s education system played a major role in the ICT transformation. Finnish education is one of the most reputable education systems worldwide with deep connections with corporates, recruiting private sector professionals as teachers, enhancing creative learning and teaching open innovation. In Finland, 350.000 highly-trained experts work in ICT and mobile industry, with 15.000 science and technology students graduating annually from universities. Finland also has the best availability of scientists and engineers (World Economic Forum – The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016).
The Finnish innovation ecosystem aims to connect start-ups with big organizations, universities and public institutions. In the recent years, Finland is one of the most popular start-up lands in Europe, with the influence of Slush, the world’s biggest event for linking start-ups and venture capital. Also, a number of large international companies such as Intel, Qualcomm, NVidia and Samsung have set up their R&D units in Finland.
With a higher education degree from the top education system in Europe, and knowledge built from practical training together with the need for highly-skilled international workforce, ICT students and graduates in Finland certainly do not have much to worry about competition in the job market.
-written by Sophie Nguyen, coordinator at Edunation.