January. That most frustrating of months familiar to all students who must return from their Christmas holiday to face the spring term and the distant summer with its summer job applications. Last year, my situation was complicated by the fact my studies were all but complete, save for my thesis, so my next job had the potential to be one where I could really get my career going.
As I reflected on this, I recalled my meeting with Solita at the University of Jyväskylä last autumn. I quickly learned that Solita was looking for recent graduates or students nearing the end of their studies for their Datalytics Academy to train them into data analytics experts. That sounded like just the thing for me!
Although my own background was not strictly speaking related to this particular art form, I sent my application the next day. I also felt it prudent to call the person mentioned on the advertisement to show my interest in joining the tribe of Solita. This really paid off, as I was invited for a job interview in Tampere the following week!
Humane and laid back recruitment
Solita’s recruitment process typically has two parts with two job interviews. My first interview was with the academy’s ”principal” Anssi Tikka and ”the” Pasi Jalonen, already a legend in his own right at Solita.
In the meeting, I got the impression that they were interested in me as a person first, and the first interview did not delve too deeply into my skills and professional background.
The second interview came the following week, and it certainly focused more on my competence and work experience, and how they would support me on my way into becoming a data analytics professional. My impression of both interviews was highly positive, regarding both Solita as a company as well as its employees. The atmosphere was relaxed and I was convinced that people really enjoyed being there!
Learning from different backgrounds
As the publishing of this piece may have suggested, I was selected into the Datalytics Academy in 2017. Before the work began, I was actively kept up to date regarding different matters to ensure everything would be in order from the start. The first days were mostly spent getting to know people in the academy, reviewing the academy’s curriculum and in internal training that familiarised us with the house.
It was interesting to see how diverse and varied our academy group was. Our majors ranged from physics and mathematics to international business, and this had clearly been Solita’s design.
Some of us had already spent a few years working after their graduation, bringing a little experience to the mix. The academy was a good place to see how different the approaches of people from various backgrounds were. For example, mathematicians needed precise specifications and concepts, whereas the business-oriented would prefer to look at the big picture.
Comprehensive overview of analytics themes at the academy
The Datalytics Academy offered highly diverse content. We were taught data modelling, data warehousing, SQL, various ETL and reporting tools, agility, master data, design solutions, integrations, data science and more by leading experts. Each course was marked by strong interactivity between the mentor and the academy students, and for any questions we had we could get an answer to.
The training included many practical exercises, but we were also given a project assignment that introduced us to the full data pipeline.
The project included ”client meetings” where we would try to find out the customer’s actual needs and get to present our work. Personally, I found the project work to be very useful, as it allowed me to immediately put the lessons from training into practice.
All in all, the academy gave me a comprehensive overview of the themes related to analytics, and once the project work started, it was highly satisfying to discover how I had already learned the basics from so many areas.
Staying on board as a Data Engineer at Solita
Today, I am employed full time, working in data warehouse development and maintenance for a certain Solita customer account. I still find new things to learn every day, but I feel like I have developed very quickly. This is in large part thanks to my colleagues who have worked on the project longer and given me help whenever I needed it.
One of Solita’s core values is Caring.
No one is left behind – we gladly help whenever help is needed. We all know how common it is to have worked on a problem for the longest time and then have it be solved quickly once you can get a fresh pair of eyes to look at it.
When I look back in time to the start of the year and the time I was considering my future employer, I can only say that this is the best outcome I could have imagined! I enjoy coming to work every morning, and my well-being is the result of both meaningful work and the people I have around me. I am in a very good place to continue towards my graduation from university and a future career at Solita!
After his time at the academy, Otto started working at Solita as a Data Engineer in the Agile Data team at the University of Tampere. He is simultaneously finishing his information systems studies at the University of Jyväskylä.