For the first two weeks of summer we, Johanna Laine and Pinja Vuorinen, 18 and 17 year old girls respectively, have been running around the Futurice Helsinki office trying to understand what working life is really about. So how did we get this unusual summer job? Last autumn we participated in a competition called Super-Ada, an event aimed at young women to learn more about the IT-field. The competitors had to perform various tasks, such as identifying computer parts and playing Angry Birds. With the power of Google and Wikipedia we somehow won. The tasks were really diverse and original, making the whole event fun, and of course good prizes did not hurt either. Neither of us actually knew that part of the prize was a summer job at Futurice, but for one of the first real jobs for us this has been a jackpot. The three highlights of the three weeks at Futurice Our tasks have been versatile, from designing an app to making breakfast. In addition, we have planned and executed user surveys as well attended a Lean Service Creation crash course (more info about LSC here and here.) For students that knew next to nothing about the IT-field before this summer, that is pretty well. We have gotten guidance when we have needed it, but also were given fairly free hands regarding our tasks. We were also included in actual projects, despite not having any experience. Overall, the work has been sufficiently independent and concrete for us to learn about working life. The top three moments of these weeks are hard to pinpoint, but the LSC-day is one of them. Overall the day was enjoyable and will definitely be of help in the future. The weekly design team meets have also been fun to partake as it is wonderful to hear about other projects, especially from the designer’s point of view. Last memorable moment for us would be the whole FutuFriday. Futurice is quite different from what our understanding of working life was, and it has been amazing to be part of all of this.
What have we learned?
Although it has only been a slight overview to the diverse field that is information technology, we have learnt a lot about it. Areas such as programming and design are rarely taught in school and such teenagers’ knowledge of it is scarce. Thus possibilities like this are very informative, and this has been very eye opening not only in regards to our career choices, but also motivating for studying now and in the future. We have not known much about office work before and the experience has familiarised us with it. For example, we have learned how meetings work, how to use programs that are needed when designing and how to make coffee with an espresso machine. Then again, Futurice might not be quite the ordinary workplace, after all it has won the title of “best place to work” thrice!
We were also told and would like to emphasise that most of the skills for this job won’t come from studying, but from working. This really is handicraft. The work is not only sitting on computers and making calls all day long, but also planning, designing and working together. There are post-it notes covering every surface that you can wrote your ideas on. As it was stated on the LSC-day, you don’t need to be able to do everything, but you at least need to understand.
For me, Johanna, this has been very thought-provoking time. I love the job, and wouldn’t mind doing something like this in the future. My dream job would be doing something with game graphics, but IT-field - especially the design side - could be an option.
And as for me, Pinja, this internship has taught me a lot about IT, a field i hardly knew anything about before. Previously I hardly would have considered a career related to it, but now my interest has piqued and I regard it as a possibility in the future.