There's nothing better than meeting new people from all corners of the world who want to make the world a better place with the help of smart technology. Every year we recruit graduates and trainees who learn about different aspects of IT. During the year they get the chance to both share and gain valuable knowledge. We sat down Sindhusha, Katriina and Thea – who started out as Graduates – and asked them to tell us a little about themselves.
Could you tell us a little about your background? Have you always been interested in IT?
K: Back home in Finland I studied to become a material engineer, and moved to Sweden to take a master's degree in industrial management and innovation to supplement my education. I've always been interested in technology and entrepreneurship in the textile industry. I love discovering and learning about new things and transferring knowledge and learning from one field that I can apply in a completely different context.
S: I earned my master's degree in data science at Blekinge Institute of Technology. Data science has always been the natural choice for me, and my interest in technology and IT goes as far back as I can remember. After I took my exam I began working in a startup, where I did all sorts of things, which is usual in startups. It was a cool job and I enjoyed it, but there came a point when I felt the need for something new and more challenging, so I moved back to Stockholm and looked for a graduate-programme that matched my technical background. After meeting various people who'd been trainees or graduates at EVRY, I decided it was the right place for me.
T: My path to IT hasn't been straight, but I'm glad it led to me where I am today. After a year's sabbatical I decided to continue studying design, so I applied to a programme called Interaction Design just three hours before the deadline expired. During the first class I realised that interaction design was not what I'd expected, but I really liked it. Gradually I began to realise how important it was to always involve users and stakeholders in the design process; it makes the service valuable. I spent 10 weeks as a trainee in NetRelations while writing my thesis, and in January they offered me a full-time position. And now I'm one of EVRY's graduates!
What's the biggest challenge for IT companies in the near future?
S: When I first moved here and began studying and working in IT, I noticed how few women actually worked in the IT industry. At home in India, where I come from, no gender is overrepresented in the different technology training programmes. But here I got used to being the only woman in the room. It's really important to keep women interested in IT, and actually we still need to keep everyone -regardless of gender – interested in IT. Beginning to learn about IT should be as easy as it is to handle an iPhone.
T: We must consider the fact that technology and its development already has a major impact on us, and with time it will increase. Considering this enormous impact, we must approach new technology in a more democratic way. For example, AI and its development are decisions that are made by those who create it – not something that is decided by those who are affected by the actual development. To have a voice on this issue I think it's really important to educate people so that they can gain some insights into it all. I also think we need to make people more aware about how technology can be applied in safe and responsible ways in order to achieve some kind of digital balance.
K: I have to agree with the others; education is the key to keep generating interest in driving innovation forward for human beings. There are so many different areas you can work in to improve people's lives thanks to IT, but when most people think of IT they only think about the most obvious technical aspects, like coding. If I had not seen first hand the innovative side of IT, I would never have thought of it as an industry where I would end up.
Imagine it's 2030; what would you want to have been part of?
T: When I began learning about all the different possibilities technology can offer, it became important for me to apply it to improve people's lives. So I would like to have contributed to developing MedTech, which I believe has the potential to dramatically change people's lives for the better. It's not just the different technical parts of MedTech that fascinate me; it's also the actual partnership between technology and the users from a human perspective. It's also in an area that needs monitoring so that it doesn't cross a line. For example, AI can outperform doctors when it comes to diagnostics, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would best for humans to be diagnosed by an app with no human interaction whatsoever on the other side.
K: Right now I don't have any ultimate goal; I'm interested in everything, which makes it hard to choose. Because I'm interested in different areas means that I can spread knowledge across different areas and help people make better decisions. But wherever I end up, sustainability is one concept I will bring to the table.
S: Education is the key to a better life, there's no question about that. Apart from the fact that there are more children in India attending school than you might think, there are still children who do not. With the help of technology, we could give every child a good education, regardless of geographical location. I believe this will help us realise the digital world we all talk about and which all of us should be able to live in. Technology can even change the notions we have of conventional school, as my view is that self-education combined with guided group training is the right way to go.