University so far

November 12, 2017

If you follow my posts and my little blog from time to time you might know that I'm currently studying for my Master's Degree in Business Informatics at the University of Mannheim since September this year. In this little post, I want to tell you some things about that first few months and my impressions so far! How things are going, what I like and don't like, and some stuff all around my studies. So my friend, let's grab the reading glasses and explore!

Digging deeper

Before my Master's Degree program I did my Bachelor Degree in Business Informatics at the DHBW in Mannheim. It's kind of a special study structure because the whole 3 years consist out of blocks with 3 months university and lectures and 3 months working at you partner company. The goal is here to get a deeper connection of theory and applying those things is the practical work. In theory, this sounds like a pretty cool concept, but I for me, there are some issues.

The most crucial part for me was the lack of depth in the theory blocks. There were some many great topics introduced! But due to lack of time, you only got a little glimpse at things before you had to move on to the next topic. I wanted to dive deeper into some of these concepts. That was actually the main reason for me to start the studies for my Master's Degree. I also like The time regular time plan for my studies is actually 2 years, but I'm quite sure that I will need a bit of extra time. I just want to make sure that I don't lose the connection to the practice. So maybe I will do some kind of extra internship. But that's something for the future.

Freedom of choice

But let's get into the here and now! The structure of my studies are pretty interesting and you have a lot of freedom to choose those subjects that interest you the most. This is very unusual for me because my Bachelor was really straightforward and managed by the university. Basically, the structure consists of two blocks. Several fundamental courses and afterward different specialization tracks where I can pick different courses from a few big blocks. On first sight, the mass of courses overwhelmed me, but after some time you get a pretty clear picture of the things you want to learn.

I already picked some courses in my head for the next semesters, too, but the first one I just want to focus on some fundamentals. In the next part, I want to share some insights from those courses with you and what I think of them.

The fundamentals

In the Computer Science part, I've decided for two courses. Advanced Software Engineering and Large Scale Datamangement. I thought the software engineering lecture would be really great and we would get our hands dirty with code and awesome algorithms, but I was really wrong with the belief. Actually, this lecture is almost 100% theory and a lot about software testing and concepts. I know there are some important concepts you should have heard of, but for me, this approach feels a bit like overhead. Although some insights are useful for my creations the practical connections are missing for me. The other course, however, is far more interesting! We capture a lot of new stuff about data, algorithms, and programming. The exercise is also excellent with a lot of programming and hands-on experience. The stuff itself is pretty complex for me, but at the same time really challenging and interesting!

The next block of lectures is about the Business Informatics side of things. Again, I've chosen two lectures here this semester. Decision Support and Data Mining 1. The Decision Support course should actually be a basic course for AI (which is really interesting for me), but actually, it is just 100% dry theory. Very theoretical, with a not so great video lecture. The exercises are just calculations and get boring really fast. However, the other course is great! Data Mining is one of the most interesting courses this year and I'm now really excited about all that data science and machine learning world. The lecture consists of really excellent material. There is also a little project we have to do in a team project where we can explore and play with real-world data. This stuff is completely done in Python. So bonus point: We get into code!

The last course this semester is an economics course. Which is actually pretty unusual for a tech nerd like me. But Introduction to Entrepreneurship is just too exciting for me. It is one of the best but also the most time-consuming courses and covers the theory of entrepreneurship and all the startup world. Two topics I'm fascinated with. There are really great insights and hands-on case studies. Every time the lecture ends I'm so hyped and want to start something great. Maybe I will do that... If so, I will keep you up to the date of course!

What else?

And how is university going in general? Pretty great I have to say. I'm meeting a lot of great and interesting people with the same interest like me and the pure university lifestyle with a giant campus and big lecture rooms are really new for me! But at the same time, I have to say that I have underestimated the workload a bit. You really have to stay on top of things, otherwise, the postponed workload will kill you and you will found yourself buried alive under some books. Also, I won't pick 5 lectures again next semester because this gets really intense. In December I have to write 5 exams with a lot of things to be prepared for that. But I'm also excited about that. Let's see how things will work out. Next semester I'm going to pick some mobile dev courses and more practical stuff!

Thank you for reading this!

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