March 2, 2020

Sarah-May Mcvey standing in front of the camera

Taking the journey from undergraduate to postgraduate is often thought as a challenging step up. It is in some respects, but if you are willing to work hard it is a rewarding experience.

Graduating from the BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems at Cardiff Met interested me into furthering my knowledge within Information Systems, which led me to apply for the Information Technology Management MSc course. This does not mean that you have to choose a postgraduate course based on your undergraduate, but it does lend itself nicely to the studies and work that you will encounter.

My main reason for studying the MSc course was to further prepare for industry. While my undergraduate course offered me more than enough preparation for a role as a developer, I knew that I could gain more knowledge and experience from the postgraduate; which would allow me the chance to get on top of the competition and develop a more detailed approach to Information Technology.

Sarah wearing her cap and gown in Cardiff Bay on her graduation day
I thought graduation was the end of my uni experience. It doesn’t have to be!

The best thing about taking the journey from undergrad to postgrad is learning new extra skills. Since a Bachelor’s degree prepares you for large amounts of work, you are already prepared for the workload ahead. Choosing to study a Master’s allows you to focus on exactly what you want to do, and you can tailor the course to suit your needs.

The journey up to postgraduate allowed me to develop my knowledge into areas of research that were only touched upon at undergraduate level. For instance, the first module I encountered on my Master’s had us looking at developing Networks using labs with Cisco. It was great for me as a problem solver to learn more about the networking side of information security.

The extra industry knowledge gained from my MSc course has been invaluable. Modules are led by lecturers that have experience within industry. This provided me with key insights into the information technology industry, working on software development projects that I was unaware of. All the projects were interesting as the leading lecturers come from all sorts of backgrounds. I was able to dive into software projects about agile methodology and Scrum, and this developed my ability to work as part of a team and meet new people.

Sarah standing with her degree in front of the main Cardiff Met building
Developing research skills from my undergrad dissertation interested me into gaining knowledge into new areas of technology

Team work is an essential part of the course. Meeting new people was daunting at first, but the course has allowed me to develop my communication skills, and I’ve met people that I would call my friends for life. This is another reason for making the journey up from undergraduate to postgraduate – you get to meet people from a range of different backgrounds, and maybe even people that have come from industry.

Being on a postgraduate course also allows you to have access to great seminars and lectures with guest speakers. A guest lecturer that stood out to me was a network security specialist who talked about the dark web. Hearing his knowledge and experience interested me and gave me an insight into what I want to do when I finish my degree.

Sarah with eight other people in the Student Union
There are always social events where you can meet new people

All this extra work does not mean that you have to lose the student lifestyle either. Being part of the university provides you with plenty of opportunities and occasions to enjoy your own down time. With a Master’s having a smaller cohort of students, you can get to know people a lot more and become closer friends. The university always has different social events on that you can be part of. I have also had experience of using the university student services, they really look out for and support you.

If you’re thinking about studying a master’s degree, make sure it’s something that interests you, and be prepared to work hard and most importantly have fun. You will learn a lot, and work on projects that could one day make an impact on the problems within the wider world.