The aim of the Software and Service Engineering major is to equip students with skills that are valued in modern organizations. Students learn to design, develop, and manage digital products and services. They also learn to tackle complex, real-world problems taking into account human, societal and organizational factors. ‘The program is very well structured. You learn basically all the necessary stuff and the teachers are very good,’ Denissov adds.
He points out that many jobs in technology call for also other skills than just coding. For example, one needs to know how to talk to customers to understand what they really want. His current studies allow him to combine his background in economics and business with a deep understanding of technology. ‘I’m a bit of a chatty guy, so I am into agile methods and scrum mastership. I did scrum mastership as part of one of my jobs before joining Aalto, so joining this program was a very natural move to me.’
In Finland, the combination of studying, working and starting a family is possible
Denissov grew up in a small town in northeastern Estonia. He always did well in school and regularly participated in the STEM Olympiads, for example. In his hometown, the choice of hobbies was relatively small but he played the clarinet and the saxophone, which took a great deal of his time.
Soon after moving to Finland, Denissov and his fiancée who had now become his wife decided that they would stay for good. Finland is close to their native Estonia both physically, culturally and in terms of language, but according to Denissov there are some important differences, too. ‘Finland is the calmest of the three countries I have lived in. Every place has its own challenges, but it is safe in here – so safe that we even decided to have a kid here.’
Even the combination of studies, family life and a full-time job is doable in Finland, he says. ‘It’s a bit challenging, but in all my jobs, the employers have been very understanding and the whole system with parental leaves and kindergartens is just great. This allowed me to spend plenty of joyful time with my kid.’
Denissov hopes to graduate with a Master’s degree in Technology by the end of 2020 and find a job that combines technology with education. ‘Taking into account the recent developments, coronavirus situation and paradigm shift in education, more emphasis will be put on online education. I see a very bright future for this field.’
How did your own studies go when the Covid-19 situation closed schools and universities? ‘The courses I took did not change that much. Because many of our courses include group assignments, we would have probably been a bit more efficient as a team if we were to sit together in the same place, but overall it don’t think it effected the studies that much.’
Nikolai Denissov, Master’s student
Education: Master of Business Administration (University of Tartu), Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering (Metropolia University of Applied Sciences)
Comes from Kohtla-Järve, Estonia
Lives in Espoo
Greatest study-related accomplishment: ‘I completed my Bachelor’s degree within the four-year target time even though I had a full-time job and my wife was pregnant at the end of my studies. When I presented my thesis, my son was two-weeks old. Luckily he slept through the presentation!’
A person who likes seals. ‘I consider seals to be my totem animals. They are nice animals that are not that bad to others but can be sometimes quite fierce – and they are really cute, especially the pups.’
Someone who made a shift from business to software engineering. ‘If you ever think how it is to step out of your comfort zone and how that feels in practice, ask me. I have some stories to tell!’
Patiently waiting for his child to grow older. ‘Then I can buy him – or actually myself – a programmable Lego set to play with.’