A great place to study: This IT student can often be found in the library.
As a timeout from his studies, Eric enjoyed a breezy break in Iceland.
Always up to date: An independent thinker, Eric doesn’t get all of his input from the web.
Academic normality: giving a presentation to his classmates

Eric from Brandenburg

is studying Computer Science (M.Sc.)

The IT wizard

Setting priorities and making decisions are things Eric Urban has often had to do in the last three and a half years. It all started with his choice of where to study. Besides TU Clausthal, he also attended an information day at Augsburg University to get an impression of what conditions were like for students there. Objectively, both universities could boast very good CHE rankings for IT, but he just felt Clausthal was “homier” somehow. That impression was soon confirmed, and he benefited from small lectures, effective study groups, and a noticeable sense of cohesion among the students. “That’s not something you can take for granted,” as he has heard from friends at other universities.

Studying and freelancing – an exciting combination

Eric has never been purely dedicated to the theory of computer science, however, having always seen its practice as his greatest strength. A programming placement during his bachelor’s program was thus the trigger for his wish to engage more closely with computer science at an academic level while, at the same time, applying his new knowledge in practice. When some freelance work grew out of that, it felt like a lucky chance – but it was also the result of many days of hard work. It was the opportunity to implement a fascinating software-development project in an industrial business which paved the way for him to be a freelancer. During his master’s program, however, Eric has decided against actively building his client base any further, given the amount of work he has to do. “I just wouldn’t have had the time to be conscientious with the resultant projects,” he concludes, being realistic. The 22‑year-old also has a job as a student assistant in the Software Systems Engineering Department.

No clouds of theory thanks to practical application

All in all, Eric finds it enriching to have his time split between studying and working. It enables him to put his theoretical knowledge into practice under real conditions. To maintain that link between theory and practice, he is now active in Consulting Team e. V., the student business consultancy service. This grants him insights into a vast array of different areas of enterprise, and he is directly involved in problem-solving. “It is important to me not just to do computer science and have my head in clouds of theory. At Consulting Team, I can gain new input in fields like sales and marketing, and the knowledge sharing that goes on within the various project groups is just really good. Everyone comes from a different background and brings their own experience into the mix,” he says, himself a native of Brandenburg. As a result, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of working in consultancy or IT consulting after university. Alternatively, Eric can see himself as a software developer in industry, making a go of freelancing, or staying in academia to do a doctorate degree.

Good chances of pursuing a doctorate degree

The chances of pursuing a doctorate degree in Clausthal are not bad, and the budding computer scientist has high praise for the good student-teacher ratio. It was one of the many factors that persuaded Eric to stay in Clausthal for his master’s. He had briefly considered Munich, but how to find an affordable place to live there? That would have been nigh-on impossible. So is it Clausthal forever? Not quite. After graduation, his dream would be to work abroad for a year – preferably in New Zealand. IT experts are often in demand there...