Struggling to study in a course you don’t like? You’re not alone. Sometimes we make decisions that we feel might be the best choice for us or study in a field we have been pressured into by family. Our ambassador from Malaysia and student at Institute of Technology Athlone, See Ming Chuah shares her advice to all students who are struggling with their choice.

I completed my two-year Accounting Diploma course in Malaysia and decided to travel to Ireland for my final year embarking on an Accounting Honours Degree. During my diploma break in Malaysia, I landed myself a role as an accounting clerk with a multinational company. I had always thought that accounting just involved dealing with numbers but that job completely changed my perception of accounting. I swiftly came to the realisation that IT plays a vital role in my job.

IT is deeply integrated into many businesses. More sophisticated IT knowledge like SAP, programming and database applications might not be essential to survive in your career but the knowledge of it will contribute to your employability and skillset.

Laptop screen displaying graphs and charts

See Ming Chuah made the move from Accounting to Computing

During the time I took on the role, I had zero knowledge of programming. My work required me to deal with the SAP software every day. In order to work efficiently, I had to use the automated software to carry out some pretty repetitive, manual tasks.

Since I was relatively unfamiliar with everything, I had to seek help from my colleagues but it soon turned out that there was no one to provide assistance as the person who was in charge of the script had left the company. This sparked my interest in coding, and I taught myself how to code. The excitement that I experienced when I first coded successfully cannot be put into words. I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished. It led me to believe that my heart was more invested in IT and not accounting.

My experience in the company helped me to discover my passion for IT. However, this led me to question my choices. Had I just wasted years of my life? What could I do now?  If I had known about my interest earlier, would I have chosen IT for my major and could something still be done about it?

I didn’t want to waste my two years that I had already invested in the accounting diploma and I had only a year left to finish my degree. Time and money were the biggest factors in making a decision. Abandoning my current studies and starting again in IT would cost me another three or four years of study and it would cost a lot of money too. In that space of time, I could have secured my dream job and already be working my way up the career ladder.

So what did I do? I finished my accounting degree and then discovered the solution to all of my problems. A post-graduate Higher Diploma programme here in Ireland.

Woman staring at a computer looking angry while she chews on a yellow pencil

Don’t be frustrated by your choices. Make them work for you with a post graduate diploma course in a field that you enjoy

In Ireland, a Higher Diploma is a postgraduate qualification with the same level of the honours bachelor’s (NFQ Level 8). A Higher Diploma is typically in a different field of learning than the initial award you have. For example, in my case, my initial award is an Accounting Bachelor Degree and I am currently studying for a Higher Diploma in Computing. The requirement for Entry is that you must be a student with a level 8 degree (Level 7 for certain courses) in any major. You do not need to have any knowledge related to the course prior to joining the course. In my case, the course is only a year long. Usually, people choose these courses after an interest has been found in a new subject area. And adding to your skillset to increase your employability is never a bad thing!

This course delivers a lot of up-to-date knowledge in the IT field and comes with a heavy workload. It basically summarizes a three or four-year degree into a one year course so you will have to be on your toes at all times, ready for a challenge. The course covers the general and important stuff in IT, including database applications, SAP, Java programming, and web design. This course allows you to find your interest in any of the sectors within IT with the option to specialize in it through a Master’s course.

This is my experience moving from Accounting to Computing. There are plenty of choices out there in Higher Diploma courses across Irish universities. They come in so many different areas from Computing, Business, Teaching, Marketing and so many more. If you’re still unsure why not see what your options are here. You never know what you might find!

Have you taken the leap into another field of study? Leave me a comment below and share your story.