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Yehezkiel Gunawan
Yehezkiel Gunawan

Posted on • Originally published at yehezgun.com

Life Update: Pursuing Master’s Degree

Disclaimer

This is pure my recent experience. All things in this article are purely my opinion. Maybe there are some of you who don’t relate to my story and maybe it cannot be 100% valid, but I hope this can help you to determine your future life path😁.

Introduction

The story started when I was about 2th semester college student in 2017. I still remember there’s a college subject named Computer & Society. On that subject, I learn a lot of theories about tech ethics and law in Indonesia. That subject is interesting because the lecturer is actually about an insurance company IT manager.

One time, my friends and I have a casual talk with him after class and he shares why he wants to be a lecturer while working full-time as an IT manager. Here’s his answer:

I actually didn't want to be a lecturer at first. I just took a master's degree then I got a lifetime benefit, being a lecturer for undergraduate students. Don’t worry, I can still work on my full-time job as usual. But I also can be a lecturer on the weekend like this. When I teach you all, actually it’s a giving back from me.

His statement made me consider continuing my graduate study after I graduated from the future that time.

After I graduated in 2020, I worked at a software house at Gading Serpong. At that place, I know a senior from college who has to own a graduate degree. He was a backend engineer at that time. His name is ko Vincentius Kurniawan.

One day, I have a deep talk with him, asking him why he took a graduate study and become a lecturer too. He answered like this:

Having a master’s degree doesn’t make your dream smaller. Most people think that a person who has a master’s degree mostly just becomes a lecturer. But they forget, that being a lecturer is actually not a final dream. It’s a lifetime privilege, you can use it as a side hustle, for your hobby to teach, or just give back. You can still work on your full-time job while being a part-time or freelance lecturer.

I know he also teaches as a part-time lecturer at my former campus. In other words, he has a double job as a backend engineer on the weekdays and as a lecturer on the weekend.

His statement made me more confident to take graduate study. And yeah, after working as a frontend engineer for around a year, I finally decided to pursue a master’s degree.

Luckily, I got very supportive colleagues, a manager, and even my CTO who has signed a recommendation letter for me🤣. For your information, I still work as a frontend engineer as usual at my current workplace. I take a graduate study online program at Binus (Information System), so I can learn outside of working hours online. And of course, remote working is also a benefit for me, so I don’t have to worry about commuting. The only things I need to worry about are electricity and internet connection🤣.

So, here is the explanation of my reasons why I am finally pursuing a master’s degree in Information systems.

Degree vs Just Certificate

There’s an old friend asking me why I should pursue the master’s degree while there’s a lot of Bootcamp and I can get a certificate from there too? Here’s my answer.

A BootCamp usually last for about 3-6 months. At the end of the program, the participant can claim the certificate as a prove that he or she has completed all the courses and finished the final project. I can say this is a very good thing. You can use it to apply for a job and improve your first impression in front of recruiters.

Now let’s compare this with the official master’s degree (and its certificate). Usually a master’s study take 1,5 - 2 years to be completed. I can get the master’s degree certificate after I finish the final thesis and publish it as a research paper. This also can prove that I’ve finished my master’s study and officially get a new degree behind my name🤣.

Now, what’s the difference? Someone who has a master’s degree has more powerful benefits. After I get my master’s degree soon, I can have the authority to give a recommendation letter to another person who wants to pursue their graduate study. I also can be a lecturer if I want. And mostly someone who has completed his or her graduate study will get a promotion on their full-time job because there’s some rescaling on the salary and benefit at their workplace (depends on the workplace).

Remember that, people who pursue their graduate study doesn’t mean they just want to be a lecturer. That’s the wrong assumption. Being a lecturer is not a final dream, it’s a lifetime privilege to all those who has completed their graduate degree. I can be a part-time lecturer without leaving my full-time job as a front-end engineer. When I retired in the future, I can switch careers as a full-time lecturer if I want. It means I have an alternative income as a lecturer.

I Can Learn Beyond My Specialization

At a Bootcamp, the participant usually just takes one subject that wants to be completed until the end of the program. For example, the participant takes Frontend Engineering BootCamp for 6 months. It means, in 6 months, he/she mainly or even only learns the frontend development. It means, the participant mainly just learns things that his or her preferences.

I take an Information System major for my master's study. There are a lot of subjects that need to be completed for about 1,5 years. Even though I have a bachelor's degree in Informatics and work as a frontend engineer, I have to learn the subjects related to project management and software architecture which are beyond my current specialization. Got the point? I have to face subjects that maybe not be “my preferences”. But don’t get me wrong, things like this can enlarge my capacity to learn and break my mental block to understanding other fields.

A friend of mine also asks me, “You have an informatics or computer science background. Why do you take an Information System major, not Informatics?”. My answer is simply because I have learned technical things for about 4 years of my undergraduate study. Then I worked as a frontend engineer for almost 2 years. Too many technical things that I’ve faced and experienced. I want to enlarge my skillset and prepare for my next career path, yeah being a tech lead😁.

This is why I take an Information System major, so I can learn to be a product-minded software engineer. Who knows in 2-3 years I’ll be a frontend lead. It means I have to improve my communication and project management skills through this major.

Networking at University Feels Different

Actually, networking can be gained everywhere. But I don’t know, networking through university colleagues feels different for me. At a BootCamp, someone can get new friends or new network who have the same interest in a field based on the chosen subject that he or she prefers for the Bootcamp. But in the university, I can know new people who have more diverse interests and backgrounds.

For example, currently, I know several friends who have diverse backgrounds like Project Managers, SAP Consultants, IT Consultants, etc. When they’re asked about their thesis topic interest, some of them are interested in the security field, some in project management, and anything else. In this kind of diversity, I feel I can learn a lot from this kind of environment.

Closing

So yeah, those are my three main reasons why I finally pursue a master's degree in Information systems. There are a lot of things that I want to tell here, but it seems hard to express them in the form of this short article. Should I talk about it on a Twitter Space or Podcast? Please invite me as a speaker if you don’t mind🤣.

If you have something to be discussed here, you can comment in the comment section below.

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