Finnish project engineer hails from Uganda

Project engineer Charles Wasswa, Electric R&D Unit

Charles Wasswa is a project engineer at the Electria R&D Unit. He came to Finland from Uganda to study information technology in the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Charles became first aware of the school through his cousin who had previously studied in Denmark. “He informed me about the universities of applied sciences in the Nordic countries.” Charles was not familiar with Finland. He found out more about Metropolia on the Web. The degree met his expectations, he adds.

As a student, Charles wanted to find out how he could apply theoretical knowledge to practice. “I wanted to learn new things and do practical research.”

Charles emphasizes that studying was the reason he came to Finland; another motive was to renew information technology. Charles made it through the Finnish winter and worked as a cleaner.

“I knew what I had come for. I wanted to create new technology. All this has been good for my imagination.”

“I did all I could to be a good student”

Life is full of surprises, and Charles has met great people along the way. “Three years ago I knew nobody.” In the autumn, when the streets are filled with the wail of wind rather than lively Finns engaged in discussion, it was difficult to get to know Finnish people. Charles estimates that Finns are calm, nice and conscientious.

Charles continues that Finns value references when recruiting new employees. He did not possess contacts from his line of business, and subsequently he concentrated on his studies. “I did all I could to be a good student”, he says. Fellow students tend to be aware of their peers’ skills, and Charles knew what he was doing.

He started out in his present job as a trainee. Thanks to a recommendation from his professor, he was invited to job interviews. The interviewers had always found out about his background beforehand, and he just had to verify the information.

The internship was part of his studies and lasted for four months. It opened him the door to working life, as he was able to demonstrate his skills. Charles planned his thesis topic himself, doing research on new technology.

Occupation as vocation

Charles likes his job. He started in his job in November 2010. “At the moment, I’m engaged in several different projects.” His research team has an unambiguous mission: to make people’s life easier and better. New technology enables new ways to do and perceive things. “Right now we’re testing a piece of new technology that helps to navigate inside buildings such as underground car parks in large shopping centres”, Charles says.

Projects take years to complete, and now Charles is working on three projects.

Dos7 is wireless communication at its best. Charles and his team are working on Dos7 material for conference coaching for the Metropolia UAS. Charles enjoys every project because he thinks of his profession as a calling.

“You have to do your best, whatever you set out to do.”

Charles advises international students to build networks. “There is a website called LinkedIn that is a good way to contact people in the same line of business. Networking is vital.”

“Competency is the door, networking is the key to this door, and a job well done is a reward in itself!”

Saamio Mohamud, VALOA-trainee and journalist