Distance Learning Abroad: from professional musician to the IT industry
As a professional musician, Detlef has travelled all over Europe. When his job as an instrument teacher led him to Eastern Europe, he discovered – through detours – the IT industry and decided to expand his qualifications with a Bachelor of Science in Business Informatics at IUBH Distance Learning.
My name is Detlef, I am 52 and have been living in Bydgozcz, Poland for almost five years. If someone had asked me a few years ago, where exactly Bydgozcz is, I think I would have answered: “Probably somewhere in Poland”. Indeed, it is located thirty kilometres west of Torun (Thorn), the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus, in a straight line between Poznan and Gdansk.
From touring to teaching
Before I decided to emigrate from Germany at the beginning of 2008, I spent twenty years as a professional guitarist traveling throughout Europe. The first ten years were very exciting because as a tour musician I was often hired by well-known German artist and had opportunities to experience a lot during this time. Over the years, however, my focus increasingly shifted to teaching. At some point, I had to admit that I was not heading for a great musical career and everyday life became more and more monotonous.
A new beginning in Eastern Europe – and in a new industry
As it often happens in life, a stroke of chance came to the rescue: the German School Abroad in Prague offered me a job as an instrument teacher. Unfortunately, the job was only three days a week so I was forced to look for an additional part-time job. I found one at the world’s largest computer chip manufacturer. I quickly realised that the IT sector is my thing and that it can offer me an endless wealth of career opportunities. I decided to completely “reboot” my life and eventually was recruited by the largest IT service provider at their location in Bydogszcz, Poland.
The ability to constantly work on one’s skills and make improvement is essential for surviving as a musician and having this ability is still very useful to me today. It enabled me to learn the IT business from scratch: from service and project management to the position as IT Project Director, which I held until recently. In between, I had acquired all project management relevant certifications, yet still had this deep down feeling that I did not have enough basic IT knowledge. Well, of course I have been able to develop a lot of technical IT knowledge through my daily work, but that is often situation-specific and the deeper background remained hidden.
It is never too late for a degree
I decided to start a bachelor’s degree in business informatics at the tender age of 50. Obviously, of course, a full time programme was out of the question. In addition, I only speak rudimentary Polish, which would definitely not suffice for studying at a Polish university. I came across IUBH while searching the web. A distance-learning programme on a part-time basis, everything online, including exams and seminars, completely location independent. What an offer! On top of that, my project and service management certificates were recognised when I enrolled, which reduced the duration of my study time. I am now in my third semester of business informatics at IUBH Distance Learning and have not regretted my decision for a second. Dedicating one or two hours a day to my studies after work makes me incredibly happy. The feeling of having a goal oriented focus on an interesting topic in order to complete an exam successfully is extremely motivating and relaxing at the same time – true to the motto: “The journey is its own reward.”
Next stop: Paris
What is next? As I said, until recently I was working as IT Project Director. I must have done a good job because my current client wants to have me as a local consultant in Paris. So, I am going to Paris and am expected to start in October or November with new responsibilities in demand management. This is a fascinating field of work in which I would like to advance professionally.
Eastern Europe, I’ll be back
I see my move to Paris, of course, with both joy and sadness: although I am looking forward to the new challenges, it is also a farewell to Bydgoszcz and my wonderful time in Eastern Europe. To separate myself from the band I have played with as a hobby for all these years, all the wonderful people I have met with their positive and unbelievably hospitable approach to life…This is hard and makes me need to take a couple of deep breaths.
However, I have made a decision: “It is not the last day. I’ll be back – no question.” I definitely want to go back to Eastern Europe someday. Exactly where, I do not know yet, but my heart is drawn to the Czech region of Moravia…
Detlef at a gig with the band Widok na Bluesa: