Katariina is finishing her master’s degree in the Netherlands
Katariina Martikainen graduated from the bachelor’s programme in Information and Communication Technology in 2018, after which she enrolled in the EIT Digital Master School with the intention of earning a double degree from KTH and the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
Hi Katariina, what are you up to at the moment?
I am a second-year master’s student at the EIT Digital Master School, a pan-European wide double degree master’s programme in ICT Innovation and entrepreneurship. My specialisation is in Human-Computer Interaction and Design (HCID), which mean that after graduation I can decide to apply for technical jobs in programming or for user-experience design roles. Since the EIT programme is a double degree, I have studied in two different countries during these two years, spending last year at KTH in Stockholm and finishing my studies this year at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
What might your regular working day look like?
My day normally consists of some lectures, working on assignments with friends and studying independently. On weekends, I normally go out with friends or take trips somewhere. I also dance salsa once a week. While in Stockholm I used to attend many company events, which normally took place in the evenings. The best aspects of these events were networking with other passionate people and listening to interesting lectures. Occasionally I fly around Europe to attend various Hackathons and I just came back from Junction 2019, Europe’s leading hackathon, organised by Aalto University students in Espoo, Finland.
Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?
While studying for my bachelor’s degree, I worked in software testing at Tele2, and as part of their GDPR team. I also worked as a representative for my program in KTH, which involved talking to a lot of people and attending many KTH fairs such as KTH Giants and Future Friday. During my first year of master’s studies, I was working as a teaching assistant on an operating systems course at KTH. This work mainly consisted of explaining operating system concepts to students and helping them with their coding assignments. I have also worked for two years as a mentor to girls of secondary-school age as part of the Pepp mentoring program, the aim of which is to inspire more girls and young women to immerse themselves in technical studies. Pepp strives to encourage, challenge stereotypes and show the endless possibilities that engineering can offer. I also spent a spring working with Excitera, KTH’s largest student-driven organisation for entrepreneurship. At Excitera, I was a company manager, which meant contacting and keeping in touch with companies to organise study visits for students.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I actually chose the program semi-spontaneously; the name of the programme and KTH itself sounded fancy and exiting. I was also looking for a change of environment and to move abroad (I’m originally from Helsinki, Finland) and wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Studying IT seemed like a good option, since I had no previous experience with programming.
Did you acquire any insights during your studies that have been particularly useful in your career?
The ICT Bachelor Programme provided me with a solid theoretical foundation and skills base to continue my studies at master’s level in the specialisation that interests me. Many of the concepts I learned during my bachelor’s studies have popped up frequently in my subsequent studies; moreover, the three years in the ICT Bachelor’s Programme taught me crucial time and work management skills, efficient learning skills and an understanding of the importance of friends and a social network to happiness and success.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
Getting to know awesome and ambitious people from all around the world. Feeling that I am going in the right direction with my career.
What is your best memory from your time at KTH?
During the first year I arranged a cruise to Tallinn for our class. It was a really nice way to get to know each other better and spend time together. We also organised a secret Santa for ourselves the first year. It was a success! I spent a month in the summer interrailing through Europe, during which I visited some of my new friends from the bachelor’s programme. Among other things, I got to taste authentic, homemade Italian food for the first time, which I would never have experienced if I hadn’t been attending the study programme.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to specialise in language technology, meaning natural language processing and speech processing technology. I am currently taking relevant courses at the University of Twente. I will be moving back to Stockholm in spring 2020 to complete my master’s thesis on the topic at Spotify. After graduation I will look for full-time opportunities where I can continue developing myself and where I get to work on things that spark my curiosity. I would also like to remain active in the EIT Digital Alumni and KTH Alumni networks.
What would you want to say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
If you are interested in international career opportunities with great employment possibilities, you like to create things and you have a thirst for knowledge, this programme is for you.