Imagine yourself in this scenario: you have completed a degree and landed a job that aligns with your interests. However, as you delve deeper into your work, you feel a strong inclination towards certain aspects that go beyond the degree that got you here. You want to learn more, but the idea of starting to study again feels daunting. Shouldn’t your completed studies be sufficient?
This is something our senior engineer in mechanics Juho Laasanen experienced a few years ago. He got a Master of Science in Technology degree in mechanical engineering in 2015 and got a job at Innokas Medical a year later after an impromptu application while rehearsing a Christmas song with a then member of Innokas' sales team.
“I had always been interested in the creative beginnings of product development, even more so after I began working in engineering,” Juho explains. “After much thinking, I applied to Aalto University during the pandemic to begin studying design. Now, after two years I have acquired bachelor’s degree in arts,” he adds with a smile.
Journey from Mechanical Engineering to Industrial Design
Juho does not think his decision to study for a new degree is a change of field. He firmly believes that his previous studies and professional background as a mechanical engineer have provided significant support in successfully completing the degree.
"One realization that I had during my studies was that I had already been engaged in work tasks that aligned with design principles. For instance, in one project, we were tasked with selecting a concept to develop further, considering its key solutions in terms of usability, ergonomics and aesthetics. At that time, I did not fully grasp the significance, but I had already done design work even before deciding to get a formal degree,” Juho says about his experience. "I feel that any process of developing a physical product benefits greatly from the combined knowledge of both mechanical engineering and industrial design."
Benefits of expanding skills
Juho sees himself equally as both mechanical engineer and a designer. However, despite recognizing the close relationship between the two fields, he experienced a certain threshold that he needed to overcome when initially deciding to pursue further studies for a new degree. “I am glad I did, in the end. When I applied, I got accepted with the third best score of all applicants,” he reveals happily. As of Summer 2023, Juho’s degree work in design has just been completed.
Juho's degree project encompasses the creation of spherical speakers crafted from a single block of elm tree. He chose to accomplish this task predominantly through manual techniques, avoiding heavy reliance on automation.
Finally, Juho wishes that everyone who thinks about starting to study again to gain new knowledge on something they are passionate about would have the bravery to try.
“As a greeting to everyone who thinks that something would be interesting but hasn't taken it further; if it really inspires you and you have the means to study it, do it. Studying and learning something new is always worth it. It gives you a lot, and the previous knowledge or experiences do not vanish; rather, they expand the overall picture and lend greater significance to many aspects of your understanding,” Juho says.
Juho urges everyone to work towards the new, emphasizing that it doesn't necessarily have to be an extensive endeavor such as pursuing a degree. Independent study or taking courses are equally valuable paths to take you where you want to be in your work life.