Sami Nikander tells us about his work at the IT Center

Sami Nikander works as Solution Consultant in the University of Helsinki’s IT Center. As a long-time IT Center employee, Sami has already worked in a wide range of IT tasks at the University.
How did your career at the IT Center begin?

I’m a generalist. My background includes working as a software developer and user interface designer. However, these days I find myself increasingly more often solving (or explaining) IT mysteries or bottlenecks in processes. I’m something of a Full Stack jack of all trades, which means that I understand a little about everything, but I’m not a top specialist in any specific field. I’m fluent in coding and architecture language, I understand the alchemic symbols of UX designers and the abbreviations of university bureaucrats and I can interpret all of these in various directions. In addition, I understand end users and enjoy giving advice and training.

I must admit that when I originally came to work here in 2009, I didn’t expect too much. I was thinking “I just need to find work and can always leave”. However, I soon warmed to the IT Center as a workplace because the work community is extremely motivating and encouraging and my tasks are diverse. This is the best working environment I’ve been to thus far, and I recently reached the milestone of 10 years at the IT Center.

What is the most interesting and inspiring aspect of your work?

You’ll never get bored in this job. No two days are ever the same: on Monday, I might be fixing a database of an old information system; on Tuesday, leading a strategy workshop for the management; on Wednesday, choosing furniture for the team rooms with an architect; on Thursday, guiding a project manager in the deployment of a new information system; and on Friday, installing DevOps tools for a new IT project.

What training opportunities does the IT Center offer and what have you learned in your work?

The IT Center’s investment in training is phenomenal. Training and lifelong learning are an integral part of life at the IT Center. I’ve always had the opportunity to participate in any courses and conferences that I wanted to attend and to purchase books and online material for learning. In addition, the IT Center has always ordered hands-on consultancy support for our team whenever necessary, such as for any new technologies.

Along the way, I’ve learned Lean thinking, facilitation methods, coaching leadership, container technologies, micro-service architectures and other things while trying (unsuccessfully) to keep up with the latest hipster programming technologies each year. In 2016, I returned to the role of a specialist, after about five years as my team’s supervisor. In recent years, I’ve been building the University’s competencies related to digital development and experimental culture, sorted out online services, and worked with legacy systems while planning a decent funeral for them.

In 2020, I got to experience new kinds of work duties when I became a full-time Solution Consultant. These days, I work with responding to the IT needs of University staff and students, and resolving challenging conundrums with IT systems. I haven’t put the development of our operating culture on hold either.

Read more IT Center career stories!
Open positions

We offer inspiring tasks for IT professionals. See open positions on the University’s website or send an open application to