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M.A. Information Technology Management

Andreas Aumeier

"The idea of online studies was still in its infancy in 2017, when I enrolled to my Bachelor's degree at IU. But my experience was so positive that it persuaded me to do a Master's degree at IU after completing my Bachelor's."

My name is Andreas Aumeier, I'm from Straubing, Bavaria, and I work full-time as an IT manager in business applications and software development for a ski manufacturer. The company’s located right here in Straubing, has over 100 years of tradition and is part of a global group of winter and outdoor brands. I also work part-time as a freelancer, offering IT consulting and individual software development services.

What attracted you to study at IU? How important was the reputation of the university for your selection process? 

In 2011, I graduated from my secondary school (junior high). However, a secondary school diploma alone doesn’t entitle you to higher education in Germany. 

It was clear to me early on that I wanted to gain practical experience first. And that’s why I decided to do an apprenticeship as an IT clerk.

Even before the start of my training, I planned to get my high school diploma and do a practice-oriented or dual study course. After further research, I discovered the possibility of studying without a high school diploma. Unfortunately, everything I found came with strings — high costs, time and travel.

Then, in 2017, IU's offer of 100% online studies convinced me to enrol for my Bachelor's degree. In my opinion, the idea of online studies was still in its infancy at the time. But several positive reviews on various online portals also shifted the scales in favour of IU. It was such a positive experience that it persuaded me to do a Master's degree at IU after completing my Bachelor's.

Which study programme and time model did you choose, and why?

I first chose a Bachelor's degree in Business & IT (B.Sc.) and then a Master's degree in the same field (M.Sc.). As for the time model, I opted for full-time for both degrees.

Although I was working full-time, I was able to get my Bachelor's degree in just one and a half years! My Master's degree took me another year after that. This just demonstrates the extremely high degree of flexibility that one has when studying at IU.

What did you like most about your study programme?

The flexibility that studying at IU offers. You can organise your studies yourself and are not tied to appointments or face-to-face events that you absolutely have to attend. You also have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other students or lecturers if you take part in one of the many online events.

The online events are also recorded and can therefore be viewed later. If you have questions about the lectures, you can get in touch with the lecturers and get quick answers. This also applies to the exchange with other students with whom you can connect in various ways.

Another advantage in terms of flexibility is the option to take your exams online. You are not tied to a fixed exam date and studying for exams can be adapted to everyday life. If you still decide to take an examination in person, you will usually find qualified and friendly staff that ensure a pleasant examination atmosphere.

Could you tell us a bit more about what you do?

In my role, I am responsible for leading the Business Applications & Software Development department. This includes the supervision, support and further development of the global ERP system and all business applications associated with it. 

We developed some tools internally, so further development and support are my responsibility. As a manager, I am also responsible for the further development and support of my employees. There are currently three full-time employees and one trainee.

Any tips & tricks for how to become the best IT lead you can be?

In addition to technical knowledge, which must always be kept up to date, especially in the fast-moving IT world, economic and interpersonal skills should also be available and developed further. 

The search for employees - but also, and even more important - the retention of employees is one of the greatest challenges for every manager, and especially in the competitive IT market it is important as an employer to create attractive working conditions. 

The behaviour of the direct manager is the first and perhaps also the most important factor - communication, appreciation and support in the further development of employees should be the focus.

Which challenges occurred in your career or work life, and how did you master them?

Thanks to my online studies degree in IT Management I could probably pass in any IT profession, because the content is very diverse. 

In addition to technical modules (e.g. software development, IT architecture management, IT service management, etc.), the economic aspect of the study programme was not neglected (e.g. business administration, supply chain, marketing, financing, etc.). 

With self-chosen specialisations, you can also focus on specific sectors that are in line with your own interests or planned career path. I am of the opinion that in IT, personal interest and the will to continue developing, as well as a bit of "experimental spirit", are the most important foundations for being successful.

How did your studies influence your career path? What are some of the ways that you think studying at IU helped you with your career?

My Bachelor's degree gave me the opportunity to change my career. For two years, I was able to gain experience at one of the largest German commercial airports, which has helped me a lot personally and professionally. I don't think this would have been possible without the degree. 

I believe that with a part-time degree alongside your work, you are above all showing that you are ready to develop yourself further and that you want to learn new things beyond your daily work routine.

What was your experience with your online studies in terms of human interaction?

The two years of the pandemic have really shown us that good cooperation is possible even if you don't sit in the same office (or lecture hall) every day. 

The modern technical tools and exchange platforms used at IU have enabled good and successful interaction with other students. 

The constantly available communication channels were also expanded through regular official face-to-face events, which are voluntary but enable the students to exchange ideas personally. 

Various learning groups and face-to-face meetings were also organised among students, but that was on an independent basis, not by the university.

What is your life/career plan for the future?

Since the IT world is very fast-moving, I want to stay up to date, but also keep discovering and deepening my knowledge in new things. I then want to use this experience to help companies and other people to improve themselves.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

You should start planning your entire degree early on. This could include, for example, scheduling all modules and semesters. 

Then you should go into more detail, like planning and carrying out the next module and the next examination. 

But the most important thing is that you keep staying on track. Having too many big gaps and long breaks is counterproductive, so you should try to establish a consistent routine, even if it's just a few minutes a day.