International innovators on the way to the top

In the autumn of 2020, a group of 55 students started their studies at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) in the new, international Artificial Intelligence education. The group includes students of 15 different nationalities, and almost half of them come from outside the EU. The background of the students is really versatile; there are students straight from school to those changing careers. The share of female students is nearly 30 %, which is a positively large number compared to traditional engineering degree programmes.

15.12.2020 | By: Petra O'Rourke | Photo: Oskar Forssell

Opiskelija Oskar Forssell on ammatiltaan lentokapteeni/Student Oskar Forssell is a

Oskar Forssell, who has lived in France and Saudi Arabia, feels at home in the international AI degree programme taught in English. – My primary goal is to receive a higher degree and complete this education! The more publications I`ve studied, the more I´ve noticed that there are targets of application for AI almost anywhere, also in the field of aviation.

– We are really satisfied that also women have found this education. There are several talented and highly motivated female students in the group. The studies apply artificial intelligence, so a strong mathematical background is not needed. Those changing careers stand out, circa ten percent of the students already have another career, tells Research Director Petteri Pulkkinen who was designing the education.

Back to school from the cockpit

One of the career changers is Oskar Forssell from Finland, who applied to AI education in the autumn application round as he was laid off temporarily from his full-time position as a pilot for Finnair´s European flights.

Forssell did not know much about artificial intelligence before the studies, programming was more of an interest.

– Corona stopped aviation and the situation is now so uncertain that for me this is my plan B. I took some programming courses at the Helsinki University Open University and then I found this AI education. AI sounds interesting as a topic but it was, however, difficult to perceive and I did not understand how it could be utilized. I was first afraid that the studies would be very theoretical but it has been really practical, Forssell praises.

Based on the autumn term, Forssell has been happy with his new direction.

– This feels great! It´s been really rewarding and nice. Corona restrictions and living far away has made participation a bit more difficult, but everything works remotely really well!  I´ve been to Pori only five times and each time I´ve tried to get to know some of my classmates better. The group is very active and everybody helps each other, Oskar is pleased to tell.

– The studies require logical reasoning power but I´ve noticed that topics are expanding at a high speed. It´s a difficult subject, which still feels easy. My wish is that after graduation I could combine applying AI with my present profession. I would like to create something new, Forssell envisions.

Why is AI so popular right now and why have the education needs increased?

­– The need for AI has exploded. The equipment and methods are now at a stage where business can be made, and this will increase in future. Programming tools are freely available for commercial use, and they are high-class, state-of-the-art tools. Application of AI is nowadays relatively easy, if you have the understanding needed for it. The list of targets of application is endless, describes Senior Adviser Jussi Bergman, who was designing the education.

– We can make a comparison to the development of mobile phone content production: first, you sold pixel images and ring tones, then the apps. Now we have AI apps and programmes on the way that several organizations can sell, not just huge corporations, Pulkkinen explains.


Also read the related article: The first step towards a new competence cluster


For more information about the international AI studies:

Petteri Pulkkinen, Research Director
tel. 044 710 3296

Jussi Bergman, Senior Adviser (AI)
tel. 045 1211 477

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