When young people in Finland finish their compulsory education at around age 15, they find themselves at crossroads: they either follow the path leading to vocational education and training (VET) or take the road allowing them to enrol in academic upper-secondary education. In either case, their educational future develops quite predictably. About 80 percent of academic education students complete their studies in the traditional three years period.
About 62 percent of VET students graduate in three years, and about 75 percent receive their certificate in five years. The professions Finnish young people choose are also conventional. Young ladies want to be doctors, teachers, business managers, lawyers, and psychologists. Young men cite engineering, business management, medicine, information and communication technology, and sports as their top five choices of a desirable career.
There are several professions that the young people may not consider, even if the income could be better than the common mainstream jobs they know about. Some examples are: Business controller: i.e. the person in charge of producing and analysing financial information for a company; Analyst: the person who evaluates financial development of listed companies and its impact on share prices; Internal auditor: who evaluates, among other things, the organisations internal control, risk management, the implementation of good governance.
On the other extreme are other rare jobs. Authorities and organisations in Finland might put forth an all-out effort to reduce high-risk playing and divert young Finns’ attention from games of chance, but the profession of a card dealer holds strong attraction for some of them. A dealer in Tampere, for example, earns about 26,704 EUR a year and an average salary of a casino dealer is expected to reach 28,485 EUR in five years. The worldwide popularity of Finnish poker players - Ilari Sahamies, Patrik Antonius, and Jens Kyllönen - undoubtedly intensifies the glamour of the profession in the eyes of young Finns.
Training to become a casino dealer might be as exciting as dealing cards for top poker stars. Aspiring dealers may have on-the-job training in local brick-and-mortar- or in digital casinos, offering trading programs. Some schools for dealers are: Crescent City School of Gaming and Bartending (New Orleans) or in Casino Dealer School at Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, MD). These places offer a variety of the classes students should take for their degree: Black Jack Dealer, Casino Roulette Dealer, etc.
Another unusual college degree popular among young Finns is in eSports. Although video gaming is highly addictive, hooking about 3% of players, young people are not motivated in their career choice solely by the pleasure principle. Incentive is rather financial. Top Finnish gamers make as much money as do leading Finnish poker players. Jesse Vainika, nicknamed JerAx, the first among 1089 Dota 2 players worldwide and the first among the fifteen Finnish players, has earned $6,469,215 during his Dota 2 professional career. Lasse Aukusti Urpalainen, aka Matumbaman, boasts total earnings of $3,541,536. Topias Taavitsainen, who goes under the name Topson, has made $2,290,122 for his entire Dota 2 professional career.
To have such liberal salaries in the future, young Finnish people may complete a degree at Häme University of Applied Sciences that has the HAMK Gaming Academy whose mission is to introduce eSports into education and research. Or they can register for a degree at Helsinki Evangelical College that offers full time studies in Electronic Sports. Focusing on professional competitive gaming, the college’s program provides deep knowledge on the subject, explains training routine, and teaches healthy lifestyle. As part of the program, students take courses on physical exercise, nutritional information, and sleep rhythm training. Participation in eSport tournaments as a member of a college team also counts towards students’ degree.
College degrees in eSports and card dealing may raise a few eyebrows. Such professions as doctor or teacher may still look infinitely more respectable and more secure. But as our world is changing at a fast pace, these unusual professions may soon oust old occupations, growing in popularity among young people. Judging solely by the money these uncommon careers make, perhaps we need to look at them more kindly already now.