From automation programmer to project manager

Automation is the future and there are plenty of jobs in the field, Erika Rousu’s father told his daughter when the subject of choosing a career came up at home during high school.

In addition to her entrepreneur father, Erika, who works as a project manager at Cervius, is surrounded by even more building services professionals at home. However, she herself tested also other choices and studied business administration at Lapland University of Applied Sciences before technology took over.

– I’ve always been a fan of orderliness and clear processes. I think they are a good reflection of the field of engineering. When I was considering where to study and the different options, automation was by far the most interesting and felt the most like me.

Erika, who graduated from Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences as an automation engineer, found her first job at Siemens as a programmer of building automation systems. As a project manager, she was also partly responsible for project implementation. Before joining Cervius, Erika also worked as an energy manager. She was familiar with energy monitoring and reporting in buildings and remote monitoring of automation systems.

– For me, the meaningfulness of my work is important. That is, that there is enough challenge and variety, as well as something concrete to do. I’m sure there are moments in every job when you have to dig a little deeper for motivation, but for the most part you have to be able to go to work with a good mood. I am very happy with my current employer and my job. However, career development is important and I want my job to take me further in my career.

In technology, you can choose from a wide range of tasks

Erika does not give direct advice on choosing a career, but reminds young people that there are many opportunities in the field of automation technology. Energy efficiency/energy management, which is much in the media, is closely linked to the constantly evolving field of automation. This further increases the number of interesting tasks.

Good employment and career development opportunities are an added bonus.

What kind of skills are needed?

– On the automation side, what is needed above all is the ability to understand how the different systems in building services work together. In addition to technical skills, reasoning and problem-solving abilities, as well as a systematic and persistent approach, are useful qualities. In contracting, the ability to cope with pressure is essential. Even if everything is well planned in advance, there will always be surprises.

The best thing is a satisfied customer

At Cervius, Erika’s job description as Project Manager includes overall responsibility for the organisation and management of automation projects.

– As a project manager, my job is varied and I get to work with my own team and many professionals from other fields. I act as the primary contact for the client and participate in site meetings.

The project manager is also responsible for ordering goods, invoicing, managing schedules and resources, monitoring progress and ensuring quality.

– The best thing about project work is having a clear schedule, division of labour and plans to implement. I like both modifications to existing buildings and new construction. The bigger projects are the most interesting because you can commit to them for a longer period of time. But at the same time you know that they won’t last forever.

– The moment is when the project is successfully completed on time and the customer is satisfied, Erika sums up.