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Software Engineering
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Alumni views

Name: Sebastiaan Herman
Prior education: Technology (Amsterdam Institute of Technology)
Current position: Freelance software engineer and consultant, owner of Second Company

'After graduating from the Institute of Technology, where I mainly learnt about technology and programming, I wanted to acquire more in-depth knowledge. For example, I wanted to learn more about the underlying processes involved in software. I had the feeling I needed to know more about the various aspects of software development, such as communication and dealing with clients. A friend recommended this Master’s programme.'

'I studied on a part-time basis, and I found my fellow students - most of whom had a background in the commercial sector - to be highly motivated. For me personally, the combination between theory and practice was very appealing. It was tough at times, though: you’re expected to process a lot of information in a short space of time. Combining the study programme with a regular job, as I did, can really be demanding at times. I definitely spent a few nights burning the midnight oil!'

'I really enjoyed working together with my fellow students. The diverse group of people made it an interesting experience. Some of them were more process-oriented, while others had more technical knowledge. That mix of different perspectives helps you to gain new insights.'

'The field of software turned out to be much broader than I had expected. For example, I thought I knew quite a bit about architecture. Over the course of the study programme, however, I learnt that software architecture doesn’t just revolve around building blocks: it’s also about people and their specific interests. Clients have specific requirements in terms of software functionality. In order to realise those demands, they have to start thinking in technical terms: most people in the commercial sector are used to thinking and communicating in business terms. If you’re aware of that as a programmer, you’ll have a real head start on the competition.'

'After completing my graduation research project, I got into IT Outsourcing. I set up my own business, Second Company, in collaboration with a group of Chinese developers. In addition to software development, Second Company also advises other companies seeking to outsource their software. We help them figure out which aspects they need to focus on. The Software Engineering Master’s programme has been a great help in that respect. I’m now in a good position to explain why software outsourcing extends beyond the technical aspects: clear communication with your client is just one of the many other elements involved in the process.'