Full Stack Open, a course in full stack development which familiarises students with the basics of modern web application development, can now also be taken in English. The Finnish-language version of the open and free course was made available in March 2019. Most of the recently launched English-language version is already available, with the remaining parts to be published in autumn 2019.
“We wanted to make the course available in English as a way to offer Finnish university education for free to an international audience,” says Matti Luukkainen, a university lecturer in software systems who coordinates the course.
By taking the English-language course, students who speak Finnish can also increase their proficiency in software development terminology as well as improve their opportunities for finding employment in a field where most businesses conduct their activities in English.
“The course is also well suited to students of the University’s international master’s programmes, many of whom don’t speak Finnish,” Luukkainen says.
A thousand new coders
One of the goals for the course is to train a thousand new coders in Finland by the end of the year, which will happen if all those currently registered for the course complete it. The course materials are also utilised by the University of Turku and the University of Tampere in their teaching.
A shortage of coders has been a hot topic for some time already, and, among other responses, the Ministry of Education and Culture has supported educational institutions in organising additional training in software development (article in Finnish and Swedish only).
Close connections with employers
Concrete evidence of the coder shortage can be seen in the businesses collaborating on the course, such as Konecranes.
“Increasingly, the development of our products and services is in fact software development. There is also a growing need for skilled developers,” says Juha Pankakoski, Executive Vice President at Konecranes.
“In particular we need experts who are proficient in the wide range of technologies and applications in our business environment. There are currently too few of these experts. This will unnecessarily slow down our development and our ability to succeed in the market,” says Pankakoski.
The course, designed by the University of Helsinki and the software company Houston Inc., involves a great deal of business collaboration, for example, in the form of hackathons and guest lectures. The course has close connections with employers through both the partner businesses and course content.
The participating companies have made a pledge to interview all the students who complete both the full stack course and a related project-based course.