After graduating as an industrial clerk specialising in information technology, I initially decided to stay loyal to my training company: As I had developed a bit of a “magic touch” with the software we had at the time and I understood the day-to-day business processes really well, I was able to use my knowledge for group software changes and get involved in project implementation as a project assistant. I initially only worked for the German subsidiary. But after just a short time I got the opportunity to look after a multi-year project in London.
Work abroad, study at IU International University of Applied Sciences
It was while I was there that I decided to do an online study programme in business information systems at IU: I had always wanted to study. But after I completed my Abitur (German general secondary school diploma), I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. It was only when I managed the software project in London that it became clear that computer science was my future. To enhance my practical experience, a degree in business information systems seemed to me to be very useful and sensible. As I wanted to do a degree that would also be recognised in Germany, only an online study programme in Germany was worth considering. This is how I discovered IU International University of Applied Sciences.
From a time perspective it was very hard to balance my job and online learning. The job of a software advisor requires a high willingness to travel and above-average commitment. I used the evenings in hotels to read the lecture notes for the degree. The weekends were mainly filled with online tests, hours of study and exams. There wasn’t much time for a private life. From a geographical perspective, the wide distribution of exam centres in Germany and Europe is ideal, as I was not always working in one place. I was also able to take the exams in Leipzig or London – without having to reduce the amount of time spent on client projects.
Balancing studies and client appointments
Once the project in Great Britain was complete, I moved back to my home country. Given that over the past few years I had specialised in Microsoft Software, I applied to my current employer, BE-terna Industry Solutions GmbH, a large software company and Microsoft Gold partner – and was immediately taken on. I joined as a junior consultant, but as a result of the experience I had gained abroad and from the project, I was quickly able to prove myself and continuously work my way up. The management team recognised my potential and allowed me to work independently so that I could balance my studies with my client meetings.
I was offered the team leader position in the middle of last year. My commitment to the team and also the acceptance of my clients and colleagues gave me the confidence I needed to make the change. I still spend some of my time out on the road as a consultant. I currently coordinate the consultant team in the DACH region. I lead staff meetings, do the holiday planning and search for new employees. For our clients, I am their escalation contact for when something doesn’t quite go to plan. I also participate in management meetings with the holding company, report the monthly and quarterly key figures to senior management and always try to make the life of my team members easier by using technical tools, such as time tracking or a project management tool.
Plus point for irregular working hours: virtual lecture rooms and digital lecture notes
My degree at IU gave me a comprehensive overview of the business administration side of things. So now I know that it’s not just about understanding processes; I also know what it means to complete a high quality IT project on time and in budget. Through virtual lecture rooms and digital lecture notes, online learning at IU is particularly suitable if you work irregular hours or at different locations. You should, of course, be aware that full-time study alongside a full-time job is really tough. But it is worth it. I would do it again any time! Who knows what they want to study straight after finishing school? Companies are looking for people with a degree and professional experience – with an online study programme, you get both!