Vietnamese student Le Phuong Thao decided she needed a career change so ‘converted’ to a master’s in interactive media at University College Cork, a decision which was life-changing

If you have just finished your bachelor’s degree and cannot wait to start applying what you have learnt to work or if you have found your own dream job and are happily working every day, congratulations!

For the rest (majority) of us who are unsure of the value of their degrees or of their job, do consider a ‘conversion’ course. It might be exactly what you need. In this blog, I will write about the master’s programme I am attending in Ireland, which, unsurprisingly, is a conversion course!

UCC campus

UCC campus

Is it too late to start?

I did my BA degree in social science and so had no knowledge of information technology (IT). However, curiosity led me to working in a sales department for almost four years in an IT company in Tokyo. Having deep IT knowledge was not a compulsory requirement but every day I felt like I was floating through uncertainties on the job.

That was when I decided to convert my degree to an IT one but it was not easy, as usually university requires an IT bachelor’s degree to pursue an IT master’s. Fortunately, I found my perfect match at University College Cork called MSc in Interactive Media.

Fancy as it may sound, the course is about how to make user-friendly interface platforms through web design, basic programming language, basic animation, VR technologies and so on.

Is it too late to start learning how to code? At master’s level? The answer is no, it is never too late! With determination, lots of coffee, frequent headaches and all types of complaints you can think of, you will get the hang of it.

How it works

For my programme, we spend equal time on lectures and lab work. Lecturers will conduct theoretical explanations in class and then in the labs it is hands-on time practising what we have been taught.

As we are designers/programmers in multimedia, we have our computer labs full of huge iMacs, a studio lab to record, mix and edit sound, video lab with cameras to take photos/ shoot films and VR labs where you can try to do your experimental project involving VR devices or . . . play games.

However, as it is a master’s, the amount of time you would be spending on your own work/research would be more than at school. You are expected to work independently on your own but do not worry: you can always email your lecturer or go to your lecturer’s office for assistance.

multimedia studio

Facilities in Cork for multimedia students

Is it worth it?

Leaving a  fancy life full of sunshine in Tokyo to a ‘no-summer land’, I asked myself this several times. Challenging would be the word I choose for this decision. Challenging indeed, but also very rewarding because of all the new things you can learn every day.

Plus, in Ireland where nearly everybody speaks English, the language barrier is not a problem when it comes to making friends with local people or with people from other countries.

Be careful with your professor though! Sometimes Irish people forget they have English words that are not English words! I spent three whole months listening to my professor saying the “thingymajig” and kept thinking about magic.

Cartoon about thingymajig

Sometimes Irish people forget they have English words that are not English words!

I finally figured out what it really means and if you want to know too, you should come to Ireland! It is pretty magical here.

River Lee in Cork

The magic of Ireland