The most revolutionary thing for Matti Niskanen’s career was when he realised how the Internet will change the world. This happened in the mid-1990s when Matti, a young man from Lapinlahti, was studying literature and art education at the University of Jyväskylä. Nowadays he works as a web analyst for Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen.
Niskanen started his university studies right after general upper secondary school. When his study place was confirmed, he abandoned the idea of a gap year and moved to Jyväskylä. Matti had grown up among books, so literature was a natural choice for a major. It was then through art education that he got interested in graphic design and consequently in website design.
Matti describes himself as a person who is hungry for knowledge and always open to different opportunities. The Internet offered new opportunities and he soon noticed them.
“You rarely find a website that could not be developed further. The question is always about communication – it can always be improved and must be supported by the technology.”
Matti’s career started in an IT localisation agency where he started with desktop publishing tasks and soon became a project manager. After that he worked in the publishing business for WSOY as a copywriter and a customer magazine editor. He has also contributed to the publication of e-books. In these jobs, he was able to use skills he learned at university, such as writing and analytical and critical thinking.
Matti mentions the ability to manage entities as a whole as the most important working life skill he acquired at university.
“In literature studies you have to process a huge number of pages. The studies cultivated my skills to piece together the structures of books and to analyse them”
Good communication skills are also based on university studies. Matti also learned marketing skills through work and studies in business economics. When he became more interested in online marketing, he moved to the digital agency Tulos Helsinki and the media agency Dagmar to serve as a specialist in Facebook and search word advertising.
He has noticed that the challenges of marketing and online business activities are similar for both small and large companies. It is important for all companies to reach their customers regardless of the operating environment. For marketing, a background in humanities is clearly beneficial because many people may consider the plain technical perspective unattractive.
“You must speak to people in an understandable way. The Internet also gives excellent opportunities to measure the impact of communication and marketing.”
Matti’s home is in Kuopio, the heart of Savonia. For a long time he worked in Helsinki so he got used to commuting. “I lived workdays in Helsinki, weekends and holidays in Kuopio. It went well, because my work was interesting and I had a range of customers,” he says. His current workplace is in Kuopio at the newspaper Savon Sanomat, which is part of Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen.
As a web analyst in Keskisuomalainen’s digital unit, Matti participates in the development of various online services and cooperates with editorial boards and sales departments. For many newspapers it is important to analyse what kind of stories entice readers to subscribe the paper. The results help to develop the paper’s content in a direction that serves readers.
The ways to read books and newspapers have changed significantly. Matti finds that there is room for both online and paper versions but their relationship may change. “People will be interested in stories in the future as well. The analytics that address how electronic books are read are still in the early stages of development, but there will surely be more results before long.”
Even though there have been twists and turns in Matti’s career, he is always willing to learn something new.
“The spark for continuous learning was kindled already at university. It is the richness of work to learn new things.”