Nadja Dardagan comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina and is a Technology Scholarship holder. She started working as an intern at the company Network Dimension Projects and is now a part-time junior software developer there. She talked to us about her move to Klagenfurt, why she has always been interested in computer science and how her view of the world has changed through her studies. She also told us about the many opportunities that have arisen for her as a result of the Technology Scholarship.
Tell us something about yourself, where do you come from, what do you study at AAU?
I come from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I finished my Bachelor studies at the University of Sarajevo at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, in the Department of Computing and Informatics. Afterwards, I came to Austria to pursue my Master’s studies at the University of Klagenfurt where I now study Informatics with a specialization in Data Science and Engineering.
Why did you decide on your desired study programme? Was it clear from the beginning what you wanted to study? Why did you choose the University of Klagenfurt for your Master’s degree programme?
My Bachelor’s degree programme included different spheres of informatics. However, I always had a special interest in courses covering work with data and their processing and storing, as it requires both: a good knowledge base and innovative thinking to find solutions. With this in mind, I searched for Master’s degree programmes that would allow me to learn more about data engineering. The University of Klagenfurt offered a newly created curriculum for this specialization that included learning about the latest state of the art solution for problems in the field of data engineering. This made the University of Klagenfurt stand apart from other universities I applied to. Of course, the Technology Scholarships, offered by OEAD and the university, had a big impact on my decision making. Any kind of support, especially financial, plays a huge role for most of the students coming to study abroad.
Has your view of the world changed through your studies? If yes, how?
My view on many different aspects of the world has changed. Firstly, I now face a world in which I have to rely only on myself and a few close friends for everything. In the beginning, it was scary and required some time to get used to, but it made me more resourceful. Secondly, after this experience, I truly believe a person can achieve anything he/she has set his/hers mind on. Knowledge and hard work are still appreciated and valued, which I previously doubted because of the poor political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And last but not least, I was surprised to learn how few women there are in the IT world. This made me more motivated to do well in this field, because more successful women may encourage more girls to go down this road.
You are a Technology Scholarships holder. How is that for you? In what ways did you benefit from the scholarship?
Being a Technology Scholarships holder was a great privilege. Besides the financial help in the form of a monthly scholarship payment that covered accommodation and basic expenses any student may have, the scholarship opened a lot of doors for my future success. Other scholarship holders and I had an opportunity to meet representatives of local companies that could provide us with jobs in our fields of interest. At such an event I meet my present employer, Ing. Florian Thurner, in whose company GmbH Network Dimension Projects I now work as a junior software developer. Additionally, the scholarship provided us with an opportunity to attend German courses, and as I didn’t speak any German at the time I found this particularly appealing. In my opinion, learning the language of a country in which I plan my future is both necessity and gesture of respect for the culture and people living there.
Tell us a little bit more about your internship experience (Where did you complete your internship? How long did you work there? Which tasks did you have to do?, etc.).
As I mentioned earlier, I did my internship in a company named GmbH Network Dimension Projects in Villach. I started working there in March 2020 as a student intern and this lasted for 6 months. This is the length of an internship required by my curriculum. After the internship, I was offered a part-time job with the possibility to extend my hours when I finish my studies. My position is as a junior software developer and I work on developing new functionalities for a software solution provided to our customers. Since my arrival I have worked on two major projects: editor for creating custom forms and integration of machinery GPS data into the daily work reports. Currently, I am engaged in two new projects. I find my job satisfying because it allows me to apply knowledge from my studies to real-world problems and to learn more new interesting things that keep me constantly on my toes.
Would you also encourage other prospective students to apply for the Technology Scholarships? Can you tell us why?
I would most definitely encourage all students searching for new knowledge and experiences to apply for the Technology Scholarships, and if they do so to truly seize all the opportunities presented to them. They may surprise themselves by the things they can achieve on their own.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
In the near future, I plan on finishing my Master studies, of course, and starting a full-time job. I also have plans for advancing in my work because I have been invited to work on a project of great importance. There are some more personal plans in my future, such as finding my own flat. And, if everything works out, I would like to enrol on a PhD programme, possibly at AAU Klagenfurt.