What has been your career path leading up to your current position?
Before entering academia, I worked in various positions in the industry. After finishing my bachelors degree in Computer Engineering at Middle East Technical University in Turkey, I did an AIESEC internship in Belgium and Spain for a year. I spent six months in each of these countries. Thereafter I moved back to Turkey, and started working in a medium/small sized software company. Yet, soon enough I realized that this type of organization is not ideal for me.
I switched to the banking sector, and I started working in the data warehouse and infrastructure development group. I was quite happy in this role and with the people I worked with - I could have retired from there! However, with a bank merger my position changed. I started to work as a database administrator, which I liked initially because it was interesting to learn database management in depth. However, it's a tiring job at length, and you often have to work during nighttime and at weekends, which is not always ideal. I started applying for new positions, but I was only offered positions that were similar to the one I already had. So, I figured it was time for me to start doing a master’s, something I had always wanted to do. I had also always wanted to do it abroad, and had been especially interested in Scandinavia. In the end, I started doing a master’s in Information Systems Science at the University of Jyväskylä (JYU) in Finland, which I really enjoyed.
I did my Ph.D. at JYU as well– an intensive period, during which I worked on different projects. During and after finishing my Ph.D. I received external and internal fundings. For instance, I received a one-year external funding to continue my project as a postdoctoral researcher. For that, I moved to Tampere University to work as a postdoctoral researcher. While at Tampere University, I applied for my current position at BI, got accepted, and now I am here!
What are your current research projects?
I am currently working on several projects. One of them is a continuation of my Ph.D. topic, and looks into dual information systems (IS). These are types of services that can be used both for fun and for utility. Some examples of such are social media platforms and online shopping services. These platforms can be used both in a practical way, for accessing information or finishing tasks for example, but also as a way of having fun. Gamified systems are another type of dual IS - they make user experience more fun in non-game contexts through the use of game elements. In short, developers make “non-games” more game-like. This supports and motivates us, as users, to use the service or behave in the targeted manner (e.g., healthy eating, exercising).
Another project I am working on is linked to contextual use of mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets. The context and its properties affect our use and can also reflect our relation to the technology. I am currently in the process of developing a scale that measures how different contextual dimensions affect usage and interaction with mobile technology. This information can in turn be used to create seamless experiences and tell something about our relation to the technologies, such as addictive use patterns.
I also do research on gamified driver monitoring systems. I am currently working on a literature review of these technologies together with a colleague, with the goal of understanding the current state of research in this field.
Lastly, I also do research on the use of social media, both in personal and in professional contexts. One topic I study in this area is whether social media use leads to more work engagement or procrastination.
What makes your research meaningful to you?
Learning new topics and doing research is intrinsically fun for me. Often, I am personally interested in the topics I do research on, so through my work I find answers to my own questions.