Ella Peltonen, University of Oulu

Assistant professor

"Research is for curious people who are interested in opening up their thinking and constantly learning new things."

Ella Peltonen Oulu

What have you studied and what influenced this choice back in the day?

I majored in computer science at the University of Helsinki. I liked the idea that the field combined creativity, practicality and mathematics - and someone must have tipped me off that it was a good field to find work in, with so many people needed.

How did you end up in your current position?

The research seemed interesting already at the undergraduate stage, and after graduating with a Master's degree, I had the feeling that it was a worth keeping it up. Since then, I have been quite determined to pursue an academic career, but of course there have been some coincidences along the way. I ended up in Oulu through a few twists and turns. At different stages of my life the important things have been interesting people and subjects that someone I know has worked on.

What is the best thing about your job?

Freedom to do things that interest you. As a researcher, no two days are exactly the same, and they consist of everything from everyday project meetings to trips abroad and media appearances. Every day you get to work with smart, great people from all over the world, both at the university in your own research group and on collaborative projects with industry and other universities. You're constantly learning new things and there's certainly never a dull moment.

What have been the highlights and key lessons of your career?

Research visits to other universities and successful conferences - lots of new ideas occur when you get to focus on talking about science and exchanging ideas.

What are your plans and goals in the future?

The academic world is sometimes tough and competition is fierce. Lately, I've been focusing on both improving my own well-being at work and that of my community, and on how can we keep up the energy and well being at work going into the future. There should be a balance between work and life, which is easy to forget when there is so much to do.

What kind of person is suitable for your profession?

Research is for curious people who are interested in opening up their thinking and constantly learning new things. The same can be said for ICT in general; you are never completely finished in this field, and you are constantly developing your skills. The work is still interesting, the projects are engaging, and the work community generally really cares about what we do.

Your greetings for young women in high school deliberating their future career?

It's well worth considering the ICT sector, even if it seems foreign at first. Technology is now applied to all aspects of life, from medicine to environmental engineering. Big issues such as understanding and tackling climate change and global pandemics also require technological skills.

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