Name: Willem Visscher
Prior education: HBO Bachelor's degree in Business Informatics (HES Amsterdam)
Current position: Development manager at HGH Business Consultancy
'The transition from my preparatory programme to the Master’s programme was hard work, the programme is definitely demanding. The high intensity level is mainly due to the fact that you learn so much within a single year. The good thing about it is you really focus on solving problems, you’re not just processing endless amounts of programming code. I came from a university of professional education, so I did lack some of the theoretical knowledge you need for this study programme. My lecturers recommended two books, which I read during my holidays. As a result, I had a much better grasp of things. It wasn’t typical holiday reading, but it certainly proved useful!'
'The supervision you get from lecturers is excellent, they really keep a close eye on everyone’s progress. There are weekly consultations to assess your progress. If it becomes clear that someone is lagging behind, they’ll offer additional coaching. That’s something I didn’t expect from a university study programme. Normally, they’ll simply say: ‘here are your books, see you in six months’. The situation here is very different indeed: you can email or call your lecturers if you get stuck on a problem.'
'My graduation research project focused on software process improvement: the improvement of operating processes, in other words. That spans from the sale of services to implementation and aftercare. My current job at HGH basically revolves around the very same aspects. I apply the things I learned at Software Engineering every day at my work. Obviously, the Master’s programme helped me to become a better programmer, but I also learned to reflect on quality and problem solving. Technicians tend to have a very hands-on attitude, but the programme teaches you to analyse things carefully before you start tinkering around with things.'
'I made my way up the ladder pretty quickly after completing the study programme. I was appointed to a managerial position after 2.5 years. The knowledge and experience I gained during the Master’s programme definitely helped in that regard.'
'You don’t really need any strictly technical previous education to take part in the Master’s programme. As I found out, my background in the business sector gave me a different perspective on things than the really technical guys. Obviously, you do need to have an interest in technology. It’s also important that you enjoy working in teams, which makes up a large part of this study programme. If you prefer doing everything on your own, you should probably choose another study programme. You’ll also have to give up any part-time jobs you may have: the study programme is so intensive that it can take up as much as 60 hours a week. There was one student in my group with a part-time job, but he quit after three weeks!'