Atul Saxena and Rafeeq Rafeeq both work at Nokia in Oulu. Atul is passionate about engineering and is dedicated to creating state-of-the-art products. Rafeeq relocated to the city to join the team responsible for designing new electronic systems. Both appreciate the work-life balance offered by Oulu’s serene environment.
Atul Saxena’s team works on products for 5G and 6G telecommunications networks. “That’s the frontline of high-tech innovation which I find immensely satisfying,” he says with a proud smile.
Rafeeq Rafeeq enjoys working with world-class technology, designing chips to work with 5G and 6G mobile technology. “We operate at the high end of telecommunication engineering,” he says.
Both say that work-life balance in Nokia is world class.
Atul is a technical manager at Nokia. He leads a team of six engineers. “I like corporate culture here. First, the organisational chart is quite flat,” he laughs. “Second, work-life balance is very good.”
Moving to Oulu has brought big changes also to Rafeeq’s life. In addition to establishing a work-life balance, the hardware designer from Hyderabad has found a high-tech job that he’s passionate about.
Job that involves global exposure
“My team uses the software to make sure that new semiconductor chips match the physical environment they will operate in,” says Rafeeq.
But why do we need to develop new chips all the time?
“What’s driving development with regards to chips in Mobile Radio is the same that we have seen with processors in mobile phones. We want to make them smaller, more cost-effective and we want them to use less power. At the same time, we want to put more functionality in them.”
“We operate at the high end ofRafeeq Rafeeq
Rafeeq says that designing chips to see if they meet the requirements in their operating environments is a rewarding job that has the potential to make a global impact. He is keenly aware of the difference he can make for millions of mobile phone users around the world.
Another factor that boosts Rafeeq’s morale is that he feels like he’s a valued member of the team whose opinions are important.
“My managers value my expertise and ask for specialist view and appreciate my feedback. I can reach out to anyone in the organization. Communication is open and honest.”
Rafeeq has a fellow Indian and a Nepalese colleague in his Oulu team and he also works with Nokia colleagues Finland and other countries around the world. “In all my dealing with all these people of different nationalities, I’ve never experienced any discrimination or prejudice. We’re all treated equally at Nokia. It’s a pleasant, welcoming environment.”
Flexible working and family time
Atul believes flexible working at Nokia creates a win-win situation. “It allows me to support my family properly because I’m at home when my kids come home from school.
Atul’s wife, ten-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son have all settled into their new lives in Oulu very easily. “They’re all very happy. I am the only one who gets a bit homesick at times,” admits Atul.
“I love walking in the forest in Oulu. It’s an experience that gives you a feel for nature.”Atul Saxena
Atul says his wife has found services to help immigrants settle, find work, and learn the Finnish language very helpful. “There’s strong support for integration in Finland.”
“There’s equal opportunity in Finland for everyone. My wife will start looking for a job when she’s finished her course — something she would not have been able to do in Malaysia”, he continues.
Atul’s children go to Oulu International School: an IB (International Baccalaureate) school run by the City of Oulu. It’s free to attend and the language of tuition is English.
“There’s less pressure at school on children than there is in India. School is less competitive. One thing I really appreciate is how much Oulu International School supports learning foreign languages. For example, my children attend Hindi classes.”
Enjoying the great outdoors
According to Atul, pristine Arctic nature is another big attraction in Oulu.
“Oulu is a city in the forest. Nature is at your doorstep and it’s so easy to explore the forests, lakes and the seaside. They’re awesome in every season.
Atul loves jumping on his bike to go to the forest with his family to pick blueberries and lingonberries in the summer and autumn.
“But I don’t just cycle. I also love walking in the forest in Oulu. It’s an experience that gives you a real feel for nature.”
Rafeeq and his family also enjoy exploring the Finnish countryside and spend time in the beautiful natural environment surrounding Oulu.
The recreation area of Koitelinkoski on the Kiiminkijoki river, just 25 km from the centre of Oulu, is a family favourite.
The area consists of small islands which divide the river into smaller streams and rapids.
“I was amazed to see how close you can go to the water on wooden planks. There are lots of barbecue places that anybody can use at any time of the year, even in the winter when there’s a lot of snow.”