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On VAMK's and the University's joint online store course

Posted on 2020-04-01 11:09:36 EEST.

How does an optional advanced course on online store programming sound, through which you can get a summer job in your own field, get direct contacts to a quoted company and learn a niche skill from professionals in the field and also get credits for this?

Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society (VES) and Digia could not have guessed a year ago when planning a pilot course on online store programming how topical a course they would organise in spring 2020 for the students of information technology, data processing, information systems and economics in Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and the University of Vaasa.

The world changes fast, that is something that we have noticed in the past few weeks. The online store business has grown at a tremendous rate in recent years, and the lack of coders has been discussed already for some time. Now at the latest, many companies are forced to build online stores for themselves in order to survive in the changed market situation, so even more experts are needed now than before.

At Digia's suggestion, online store programming using the Magento platform was selected as the theme for the course. When Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and University of Vaasa got excited about the course to be organised in collaboration with VES and the design of the course was completed and included in the official course offerings, there were only a few practical technical issues left to be solved and the students to be invited to the course. The organisers wanted to keep the course's participation criteria at a fairly low level, but particularly basic level PHP skills were required.


Some of the online course working group and students from Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and University of Vaasa. In the back row from the right Tomas Kolam and Tom Träskbäck (Digia). In the front row from the right, Duman Imani and Heli Karhi (Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society) and Kirsi Västi (Digia).

– One of Digia's four cultural principles is "Together we know more." We want to be involved in the Vaasa region ecosystem supporting young adults toward digital services. The course is a good practical lesson about how online sales operations can be built, says director responsible for the online business, Arto Lamminen.

– We wanted to create a course for Vaasa's university students that combined an opportunity for the students to get jobs, but also that they learn a practical skill. And what is more practical than building online stores but also getting an opportunity to work in a quoted company, reflects Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society's representative Duman Imani.

The teachers of the pilot course were Software developer Kirsi Västi, Director, production Tomas Kolam and Software Developer Tom Träskbäck from Digia. The course provided the students, through the teachers and its topic, with direct information and perspectives about working life from professionals in the field. The students also had the opportunity to show Digia's representatives their motivation and skills and to apply for a summer job in the company.

– The students gain good experience of what is actually done in working life, we can answer questions directly from the daily activities and experience Digia's Tomas Kolam.

– We did not have a precisely this kind of a course in the curricula. But this could be something that I could do even as a job, it is a really good addition,” says Jaakko, VAMK's information technology 4th year engineer student.

– Yeah, the course brings the kinds of good practical skills that at least we at the university don't have so much of, it's more theoretical, and here, we get to do more, summarises Julius 2nd year information systems student from the University of Vaasa.

– I have had a really good experience, I think it is great to get to teach new actors, to be able to make Digia known and to see what kinds of students VAMK and the University of Vaasa have on offer for us as future employees, summarises Digia's Kirsi Västi

Through teaching, Digia gets to know possible summer job applicants at a much deeper level already during the course than would ever be possible on the basis of just an application and an interview. How a student works, what is his or her motivation, how he or she learns and solves the assignments given, says much more about whether the student is a fit for the company's team.

– In working life, we are part of a bigger framework, it is important to learn that my code is not the only thing that is involved in that ecosystem, but the limitations around you and the way of working must be taken into account, says Digia's Kirsi Västi.

The course has received a lot of positive feedback. All parties see this kind of cooperation as fruitful and continuation is already being planned for next year on the basis of the experiences gained during the pilot course.

– All the parties responsible for organising the course have been excited about this project and now, after this pilot course, we definitely want to get continuation for the course. The plan is to organise the same course again in spring 2021 as even better. If someone missed this spring's course, it is definitely worth keeping your eyes open at the end of the year when registration opens again, says Heli Karhi from VES.

Student's top 5 working life skills (Arto Lamminen, Digia)

  1. Yes I Can do attitude
  2. Self-starter, independent thinking
  3. Cooperation skills, thinking aloud
  4. Good skills in basic information technology software: Excel, PowerPoint
  5. Readiness for continuous learning

Text and images: Satu Aaltonen

Video: Anssi Turunen


Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society

Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society (VES) is a community incorporated in 2015 and run by the students of Vaasa University of Applied Science fully on a voluntary basis. The aim of the community is to encourage students into entrepreneurship and entrepreneur-like thinking, and it is part of the national network of ES organisations. The events of VES are free of charge, mainly in the English language, and the target group are all the students of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. The main objectives of VES, in addition to speaking for entrepreneurship, are striving to bring companies and students together, assisting students in networking with each other across study borders, as well as clarifying both current and future opportunities in the working life. VES helps students understand their own potential and provides them with professional capabilities for the working life already during their studies.


Digia is a software and service company that helps its customers renew in a networking world. There are 1,200 of Digia employees. Our roots are in Finland, and we work with our customers at home and internationally. In cooperation, we are constructing a world in which digitality works and is felt. Digia's revenue was EUR 112.1 million in 2018. The company is listed in Nasdaq Helsinki (DIGIA).