Career Profiles

These career profiles are meant to show students what kinds of career paths they can take with a degree from the LingDig programme. These profiles are inspired by true alumni stories, but are made-up for the purpose of demonstration only. Note that you can also take a number of different career paths with a degree from LingDig.

These are just a couple of examples. You can also take different elective studies and do your traineeship somewhere else than mentioned here and still end up working in jobs like these. In the Faculty of Arts, the minors usually direct you to certain jobs or fields more than your major does so you can study anything that interests you. For example, one of our students attended a course in law and wrote her bachelor’s thesis on legal linguistics. She also studied communications and a variety of interesting courses like rituals and religion. She plans on working abroad in the EU or in an embassy in the future. So, feel free to study anything that you feel might be useful for your plans!

General Linguistics

Ali the Academic

An academic career is quite a straightforward path for general linguistics students. Your studies at the LingDig programme prepare you well for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere. In fact, many of our alumni start to write their doctoral theses after graduating as a master. Doctoral students usually teach in addition to conducting research and writing.  

One possible path as an academic you can take is to become a field linguist. Field linguists spend time among a speech community and record, interview and collect material from the language. Usually, a field linguist specializes on endangered languages and the work they do helps to preserve the language(s). It is valuable work where they try to reverse language loss or collect data like speech, writing, grammar and culture. When a language has been recorded, it won’t cease to exist entirely from the world. Did you know that for example modern Hebrew was once revived from a language used only in religious domains to the language of everyday use?  
At the university of Helsinki for example Ekaterina Gruzdeva has spent a lot of time in the field studying Nivkh language in Far-East Russia, and during the spring 2021 she gave a course about the linguistic features of the language. 

University of Helsinki is a research university. It means that all the teaching is based on research and our teachers actively do research. That guarantees that our teachers are the top of their fields and the best possible people to train future specialists. Maybe you’ll be one of them? 

Useful electives: Language and culture studies, language technology, computer science, statistical methods 

Career opportunities: post-graduate student, lecturer, researcher, field linguist 

Trainee opportunities: Research assistant at the university, lecture assistant at our own courses. For lecture assistant positions, please enrol to the mailing lists, as the positions are most likely to be announced there. Check also the open positions at the university.

Aala the Annotator

Many linguists work either full-time or project based as annotators. That means that they annotate texts using their linguistic knowledge of languages. For example, many startups, mobile apps and other companies benefitting from annotated text are likely to hire linguists to this task. 

Useful electives: language and culture studies, language technology 

Opportunities: university’s trainee positions, IT companies, translating agencies, international and Finnish companies

Gemi the Generalist

Generalist fields refer to educations that do not give a proficiency in certain professions. The term is often used in opposition to the “specialist” fields, like medicine. Many fields at the university educate generalists and so does the LingDig programme. Generalist refers rather to your educational background, not necessarily to the occupation or what your work includes. Your work can include almost anything. It can for example include job titles like planner, coordinator, freelancer, entrepreneur, designer, manager or consultant.  In these jobs you will surely use your generalist background and knowledge. The LingDig programme gives you very good capabilities to work in jobs that require a generalist background and to perform well in the various tasks that they might include. Many of our alumni identify as a “generalist” rather than a linguist. Check for example Kirsi Kauppinen's alumni testimonial. She works as translation project manager in an international company that is the European leader in professional translating and localization. 

Useful electives: Language and culture studies, communication, marketing as well as language technology are very popular minors among our alumni.  

Opportunities: At the university for example lecture assistant or other trainee positions the university introduces. Also, various traineeships in Finland and abroad are very much possible. 
Check the trainee positions for the Finnish Government  
Traineeships in the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe 
Traineeship positions in the European Parliament 

Ilo the IT person

Many of our alumni with general linguistics backgrounds do actually work in IT. There are titles like software engineer, IT supporter and software developer. Go check the alumni testimonial of Paula Toivanen. She works as a designer in the IT sector, and her career tells a story that there really isn’t a field in this world where understanding of humans isn’t valuable. She also gets to use her knowledge on languages in her job. 

Useful electives: language technology, statistics, mathematics, language and culture studies. 

Opportunities: research assistant, lecture assistant, IT firms and various other companies. For example, working with chat-bots could be one of the tasks that is found in basically all companies nowadays. 


Andrea the Academic  

For phoneticians, the most straight-forward career route is the academic one. Your degree will prepare you well for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere, and many of our alumni have gone on to work as post-doctoral researchers and university lecturers in Finland and abroad. In Helsinki, research focuses on prosody and speech synthesis and is highly interdisciplinary.  

Useful electives: Programming, statistics, cognitive science, languages, general linguistics. 

Opportunities: Check out open positions at the university.

Kai the Clinical Phonetician

Clinical phonetics deals with the acoustic analysis of speech in a clinical setting, for example, recording impaired speech before and after oral surgery. An alumna of ours brought clinical phonetics to Finland a few years ago. Read Minttu’s testimonial. 

Useful electives: Statistics, data science, health care 

Opportunities: Helsinki University Hospital’s Phoniatrics Outpatient Clinic.    

Anna the Administrator 

A degree from the programme will equip you with a diverse set of skills that are useful also outside of the specific field you studied. On top of the professional skills of a phonetician, you will have gained transferable skills that are useful in a variety of administrative and project leader positions, such as in research administration. Phonetics is an interdisciplinary field and depending on your interests, you can include studies in your degree from fields like language education, psychology, and cognitive science, to name a few. 

Useful electives: Communications, language and culture studies, marketing, educational studies, cognitive science  

Opportunities: Administrative internships at the university and in public administration. Trainee positions for the Finnish government are found here. The European Union offers linguistics related administrative traineeships at the European Centre for Modern Languages, and in the European Parliament.

Sonja the Speech Technology Expert 

Phonetics research at the University of Helsinki puts an emphasis on prosody and speech synthesis. Naturalness of prosody – the non-verbal patterns of intonation, emphasis and quantity that help us convey information – is one of the main still unsolved questions in commercial and clinical speech synthesis. Complementing your studies with programming and machine learning courses from the language technology track could help you not only to land a job in speech technology but also in the growing AI sector in general.  

Useful electives: Language technology, cognitive science, computer science, mathematics for linguists, machine learning, speech synthesis and recognition, analysing speech with deep learning methods.  

Opportunities: Universities, government lead speech technology projects, speech technology companies.

Language Technology

Nour the NLP Engineer 

While your studies will also prepare you for an academic career, experts in natural language processing are needed in fields and organizations ranging from developing speech recognition software for mobile phones in big tech companies to creating chat bots or medical transcription software for healthcare providers. Also, companies offering translation and captioning services need to rely more and more on machine translation and automatic speech recognition, while data mining and information retrieval have become everyday tools in all kinds of firms. 

Some of our alumni have found careers at CSC, the Finnish supercomputer centre. An alumnus of ours works as the administrator of the Language Bank of Finland at CSC. Read his testimonial here!

Useful electives: computer science, general linguistics, cognitive science, digital humanities, language and culture studies 

Opportunities: Language technology firms, translation firms, CSC.  

Ilona the IT Specialist   

A degree in language technology will equip you with skills not only in natural language processing but also in programming in general. Organizations need people with all kinds of skill sets in their IT departments, from programmers to systems administrators. 

Useful electives: Computer science, studies from the LingDig programme.

Opportunities:  Software companies, government bureaus, ministries, universities. 

Tiina the Technical Writer and Lauri the Localization Expert 

In an interconnected world, companies need to translate and adapt their products for local markets as well as to write documentation for the users of their products. Here, skills in writing and cultural understanding become crucial, and software firms need people who have a background in humanities with appropriate technical know-how. 

Useful electives: Computer science, cultural studies, language studies. 

Opportunities:  IT firms.

Cognitive Science

Ansgar the Academic 

Many cognitive science graduates pursue their career in academia. The programme prepares the students with a comprehensive knowledge on the brain, mind and behaviour. Cognitive scientists are able to use a variety of techniques that are beneficial in a university career. Among these techniques, there are behavioural measurements, brain research methods, surveys and interviews, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and computational modelling. At the University of Helsinki, graduates from cognitive science can choose to pursue doctoral studies either in the Doctoral Programme in Languages Studies or in the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences. Take a look at the Mind and Matter page to find information about our research!

Useful electives: language technology, statistics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, data science, computer science, etc.  

Opportunities: research assistance. Graduates can apply to places in various Doctoral Programmes at the University of Helsinki, including Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind, the CLIC doctoral programme, and Doctoral Programme of Languages.

Ines the User Experience Designer 

The LingDig programme provides very good basic skills that can prepare you to become an expert in user experience. Many cognitive scientists interested in this field have studied in the USchool of Aalto University and University of Helsinki integrating cognitive science courses with usability, accessibility and design courses. As a cognitive science student, you are eligible to apply for a place in the USchool. Understanding the human behaviour is central in cognitive science and the programme provides excellent training in research and research methodologies that can be applied in this field. Read Olli Savisaari's testimonial!

Useful electives: human-computer interaction (HCI), user-centred design, language technology, linguistics, computer science, UX design, usability, marketing, etc.  

Opportunities: user experience researcher, digital design consultant, UI/UX designer, service designer, usability and accessibility consultant. 

Jeremy the Planning Officer & Coordinator 

The LingDig programme and the cognitive science study track provide the students with analytical, critical and creative thinking skills that can be applied in fields that are not strictly related to cognitive science. Your skills will be valuable in both the private and public sector where you will be able to coordinate and support key stakeholders.  

Useful electives: psychology, management, political science, communication, linguistics, business, etc.  

Opportunities: planning officer, coordinator, project manager, project coordinator. 

Vera the Communication Specialist 

Cognitive science graduates are well prepared for conducting research both in academia and in the industry. Many employers look for graduates who are capable of understanding how to make complex information, technology and systems more accessible. As such, the LingDig programme and its numerous courses provide the students with adequate skills to succeed in the communications field.  

Useful electives: linguistics, business, communication, political science, etc.  

Opportunities: project communicator, communication specialist, marketing and communication assistant, communication coordinator.

Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities gives you many possibilities in the working life. You have expertise in both the humanist point of view and the technical, data science view. Elective studies and other studies you do determine a lot of the way your career tasks will look like. Like in any track in the programme or even in the faculty, you can follow your passions and make the degree suit your dreams and plans.  

Adi the Academic 

Becoming an academic seems like the straightforward path after the master’s thesis. For example, our alumnus Iiro Tiihonen felt that the research he had in mind was not ready yet, so he applied to become a postdoctoral student. Read his testimonial! 

Useful electives: computer science, cognitive science, language studies, culture studies, linguistics, history, mathematics 

Opportunities: researcher, lecturer, postdoctoral student 

Wei the Web Project Manager 

Digital Humanities graduates have an extensive and up-to-date knowledge on web technologies and their applicability. Students gain important skills in social and technology research and the methodologies they involve.  

Useful electives: language technology, computer science, communication, management, cultural studies, language studies, history, linguistics. 

Opportunities: government, NGO’s, public administration, start-ups, international companies. 

Dash the Data Scientist 

The Digital Humanities study track is versatile and combines traditional humanities subjects with technology subjects such as computing and data science. As such, it provides you with good skills that allow you to work as a data scientist. The main tasks of a data scientist are to be able to collect, analyze and interpret big amounts of data. 

Useful electives: computer science, cognitive science, language studies, linguistics, history, mathematics, areal studies, literature studies. 

Opportunities: Finnish and international companies, NGO’s, tech companies. 

Sasa the Specialist 

The digital humanities studies (and the LingDig programme in general) prepare you well for becoming a specialist. Your teachers are the best in the field, maybe be part of groundbreaking research projects and study with your future colleagues. You will have comprehensive information about your field(s) and after graduation you are an expert in your field. That is expertise that is valued in private and public sector, NGO’s both in Finland and abroad. Also, nothing is stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur and benefitting from your knowledge that way. Our alumnus Viivi Lähteenoja works as a specialist and has for example given specialist testimonials for the Finnish government and the EU parliament. Read her testimonial!

Useful electives: communication, studies within the Lingdig programme or the Faculty of Arts, computer science 

Opportunities: Government and public administration, NGOs