Maria's career story

"I have really enjoyed working here, and my colleagues are great. They never get impatient if you ask for advice. It might be a cliché, but we have a genuine can-do atmosphere here. We want to look for the best solution. If my customer asks me something, we find out why a solution hasn't been sorted out yet – we improve the tools and documentation, or even use this as a foundation on which to build completely new tools.

I have a Master's degree in biotechnology from Tampere University of Technology. I joined CSC in 2015 to work as a bioinformatician, especially with Chipster software. My tasks included software development and associated training as well as answering questions about the life sciences.

When I started here, I felt I got a grasp of the work pretty quickly, which I believe was mostly due to good induction training, or mainly my colleagues tireless help and challenges offered to me in suitable portions. I was also familiar with some of the tasks through my prior work experience, so I did not have to learn everything from a scratch. NGS and microarray data analysis, for instance, was something I got familiar with in my previous job at University of Helsinki's Biomedicum Functional Genomics Unit.

"I like development work when it is carried out in close contact with the customer and we get the opportunity to respond directly to requests or feedback."

In particular, I like development work when it is carried out in close contact with the customer and we get the opportunity to respond directly to requests or feedback. At those times I feel that my work is genuinely useful, as I am not left guessing if a new tool, option or material will actually be used or not. Our customers, the life scientists, are really nice. They are a pleasure to work with!

As I sit and work in my own office, the majority of my colleagues are close by on the same floor. The meeting rooms and group work facilities of our multi-purpose office are also handy. Flexible working hours suit me down to the ground. I telecommute one day a week, and I always get through a lot during that day. Flexitime is a luxury when you have a lot of hobbies that start at a particular time. For example, I can come to work early if I need to get home on time or I wish to avoid the worst of the rush hour.

In recent times CSC has focused on improving cooperation between different groups, and I hope that after the teething problems have been solved, this will bring good results. The members of our "bio team" represent as many as five different groups, and improving communication thus makes sense. Our work is now directed and planned at a level closer to us, which is positive. 

"I am aware that I have been really lucky in today's culture of 'disposable employees'."

Our group also takes good care of ensuring that we are learning something new all the time. In addition to keeping up with your own field (which is essential in life sciences, anyway, as new analysis tools and methods are being developed at a rate of knots), new, slightly different tasks are added to our job descriptions. The six-monthly appraisal discussions really work, and we can influence our job descriptions. With the support of effective occupational health care services, the employees' emotional balance is monitored and their coping is looked after. I am aware that in this respect, I have been really lucky in today's culture of ‘disposable employees'.

I think CSC has a really good selection of recreational and club activities, which is great. And if something is not there, it is usually quite easy to find a likeminded person with whom you can start planning new things – it really is a bit like my student days! The combat sports club and breakdance group have been my favorites. We have a great working atmosphere here, and I'm surrounded by fun and motivated people. I am also quite happy to spend time with my colleagues outside the working hours. There is nothing grim about CSC. If I tell a friend that I work for the IT Center for Science, they might imagine some terribly dreary place. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Maria Lehtivaara

  • Applications Specialist
  • Master of Science in biotechnology

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