Where academic tradition
meets the exciting future

On The Effect of Employment During the Last Year of Studies to Timely Graduation and Deep Learning

Petri Sainio, Seppo Virtanen, On The Effect of Employment During the Last Year of Studies to Timely Graduation and Deep Learning. In: Jerker Björkvist, Juha Kontio, Seppo Virtanen, Kristina Edström, Janne Roslöf, Ronald J. Hugo, Rick Sellens (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, 1030–1040, TurkuAMK, 2016.


Engineering students in Finland have quite commonly been hired by the employers already
before graduation. This happens particularly to the best engineering students. The students
are quite keen on starting their engineering work life a bit early. One reason may be the lack
of tuition fees; it is economically attractive to enjoy the benefits of being a hired engineer.
This is not the only reason; the best engineers are enthusiastic about their engineering work
and too impatient to wait for the final graduation if they get a chance for “real life” engineering
work earlier.
The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland is emphasizing the importance of cost
effective universities where students graduate fast and become tax payers in the society.
Timely graduation is one of the goals affecting the government financing of the universities.
In order to reach this objective, the universities should push the students to limit their
practical engineering working to minimum and concentrate on theoretical studies and fast
Working during the studies does delay graduation, but it also has its benefits. Working within
one’s own engineering profession provides valuable experience on how to apply the
theoretical knowledge learned in the university to practice. It may also boost the students’
motivation for deep learning of the subjects instead of just collecting the credits needed for
graduation. Working in a non-engineering job does not provide perspective in engineering
skills, but it is helpful in achieving important working life soft skills needed also in the
engineering profession and thus improves the employability of the student.
CDIO capstone projects provide to the student similar advantages as working in an external
engineering enterprise, but in a faster and better managed way. In this paper we analyze the
effects of employment during studies to timely graduation and deep learning, and the
capabilities of a CDIO based curriculum in filling up working life skill gaps. We present our
method of reaching recent graduates of the department and the design of a survey for
gathering the data on which this study is based. The study showed a clear correlation
between the amount of study time working and the delay in graduation time. On the other
hand, the study revealed clear benefits of study time employment to the students engineering
way of thinking and problem solving abilities, to their professionalism in their current jobs,
and to the application of learned skills and knowledge into practice.


Full publication in PDF-format

BibTeX entry:

  title = {On The Effect of Employment During the Last Year of Studies to Timely Graduation and Deep Learning},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference},
  author = {Sainio, Petri and Virtanen, Seppo},
  editor = {Björkvist, Jerker and Kontio, Juha and Virtanen, Seppo and Edström, Kristina and Roslöf, Janne and Hugo, Ronald J. and Sellens, Rick},
  publisher = {TurkuAMK},
  pages = {1030–1040},
  year = {2016},
  keywords = {Deep learning, timely graduation, capstone, employment, survey},
  ISSN = {1796-9964},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Communication Systems (ComSys)

Edit publication