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The university is not just theory after all: an English-taught bachelor’s programme and student life surprised Johan Sarpoma positively

Johan thinks that programming, electronic engineering and internationalisation are the best part of the Aalto Bachelor’s Programme in Science and Technology – Digital Systems and Design
Johan Sarpoma standing in front of brick wall.
Johan Sarpoma thinks programming is interesting because it allows you to challenge your brain. Image: Veera Ihalainen

The second-year student Johan Sarpoma has always been interested in technology and liked to build things, which is why the technology sector seemed like a natural choice for him. It came as a great surprise to Johan to see all the interesting things that can be done on the courses and how much university studies differ from studies at general upper secondary school. Student life, technology students’ own culture, and the guild activities have also made a great impression on Johan.

Why did you choose the Aalto Bachelor’s Programme in Science and Technology – Digital Systems and Design?

I wanted to choose a programme in English because studying in English feels natural to me. My lifestyle has been very international because I lived in Oslo for three years and went to an upper secondary school in English.

I have always been interested in technology, and I like to explore things and work on the computer. Digital Systems and Design seemed like a versatile option and you did not need to know exactly what you wanted to do in the future.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your studies?

As studies in upper secondary school are mainly theory-based, I am surprised at what it has been like to study at a university and all the new things I have been able to do. One of the most interesting topics has been programming. I would like to focus more on it, which is why I applied to information technology as a minor subject. Programming is exciting and it allows you to challenge your brain. I have also enjoyed the electrical construction, which has been very interesting!

Aside from studies, student life has also been a great and positive surprise. I have been carried away by the guild activities and the technology students’ own culture. I work as a documentarist in the Guild of Automation and Systems Technology, that is, I take photos at our events. Photography has interested me for a long time, and it has been nice to have the opportunity to work on it alongside my studies.

Student life here is amazing, as Otaniemi really is a unique place.

Johan Sarpoma

What has been the most memorable course? Why?

I think that practical courses are the best, and the most interesting one has been the first-year project course, currently called Design Thinking and Electronic Prototyping. It was the first course where the task was to build something functional and useful using the Arduino electronics platforms. The best part of the course was the opportunity to code, design, and build electronics.

How have your studies prepared you for working life?

By talking to companies and other students you learn more about companies in the sector. During the studies, you meet different people and end up building a network almost by accident. The school and guild also organise many different recruitment events, but I have not yet had time to visit them.

I have been wondering whether I dare to apply for a job even though I do not know everything yet. Regarding this, my student counsellor gave me a great tip. She pointed out that when companies want to employ students, they primarily invest in individuals. This has been an important lesson for me regarding working life.

What does the future of your sector look like?

Although I do not know exactly what I want to do in the future, the future is generally bright for the technology sector.

I recommend applying for this programme because we have a nicely international and exciting atmosphere. In principle, Aalto University is a good place to do anything, and it has great resources for implementing all sorts of plans! Student life here is also amazing, as Otaniemi really is a unique place.

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Aalto University / students in the corridor / photography Aino Huovio

Aalto Bachelor's Programme in Science and Technology - Digital Systems and Design

Digital Systems and Design educates specialists in various fields of digital systems. This major gives you competence in engineering design, as well as project planning and management, employing tools from embedded systems, control theory, and signal processing.

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