Education experience in Chemnitz (first few days of my experience in automotive software engineering) - PART 1

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First of all let me apologize for such a long delay in my posts . The reason being my laziness, my interests in roaming around the saxony and probably I had forget about this blog for few days. But here I am with my latest experience about the studies in Germany but today my main focus is on TUC (CHEMNITZ).


It has been more than a month since I have come to Chemnitz city and have experienced the education methodology used in Germany or in particular in Chemnitz university of Technology.
It has been a topsy turvy ride for me and in this blog post I am going to just give a basic idea how exactly one student has to begin his master’s program in a German university. I might be wrong considering I am assuming that the education  system of TU Chemnitz might be same as the rest of the other universities and if I am wrong then please I do apologize. But my main post aims about the education system which is inimitably followed by the TU Chemnitz where  I am currently pursuing my masters in automotive software engineering.


                                        [the famous fpga based yellow car of tuc for automotive students]

When I came here the first thing I was asked to do was to decide the number of subjects and schedule my time table. Even though it may seem easy and its just the first step , I found out that it’s the most difficult step and also the most time consuming and thought processed one. You can’t just decide any course or any subject based just on your interest or whether it’s an easy or difficult subject   (which is the case how most of the students or in particular most of the Indian students do).

But I found that it’s easier to decide the course by taking the classes (yes literally you have to sit down in each and every class and decide on the feedback or your experience in that class). Totally there were around 10-15 classes being provided in a given semester (am talking about winter semester 2013) . And each semester begins from mid October (in my case from 14th of October and by semester I am pointing out the lectures) and ends around mid February.  Each week one has to decide his timetable based on a course planner. 

             [the course plannner- this one is recreated based on what subjects i am taking every week]

A Course Planner is just a weekly time table which lists down all the timings, classes, professors who is going to take the class in a box and other details in a time table like manner and the day on which the class will be held is the row and also along with a fixed timings as the column.

Now comes the important part. How many subjects should one take. Actually it depends completely on you and your skills. Don’t bother with others who take a lot of subjects. You should know your capability by now and should take based on the subject difficulty and also the commitment each subject requires and also your own capability.

                                   [smart systems campus-you can find virtual reality building nearby]

Also here one thing to remember that each subject you are taking involves some credits and in the end you have to complete certain number of credits in a given module and overall a two year program usually has 120 credits with each 30 credits expected each semester but not necessary. Here it is important to remember that even though it might be mentioned that a masters course in a particular university is of the duration 2 years but in reality it depends on you in how many years you complete a course. For example, here in my university and in my program students usually take 2.5 years to complete a masters in automotive software engineering. Similarly most of the Msc Courses (which is actually a course with a thesis option and not a coursework option) in Germany are not a joke (not easy to be completed) and I have heard many other examples from students who are pursuing masters in Paderborn or in Illmenau.  So ,plan your stay properly and most importantly your funding (either parents or scholarship).


                         [the building where your automotive software engineering lectures takes place]

To explain the above instance, consider my course. In ASE (automotive software engineering) students usually complete 5-7 courses in the first semester (sometimes more!!) , 5-7 in the second, a seminar or a internship in the third semester and a thesis in the final semester or usually in the last two semesters. Thus, it takes more than two years to complete this master’s course. Here I am not trying to scare you or something. It’s just a caution !!

Now, coming to the course.  Every course you take is divided into two parts (sometimes a single part but that’s rare and usually is either a lab course or a complete exercise course). One part is called a Lecture hour (or vorlesung in German) and the other part is the exercise hour ( or ubung in german). Each hour is usually for 1.30 hours. While the lecture hour concentrates on the theoretical part and mainly involves you sitting in a lecture hall and listening to whatever your lecturer is showing and preaching in the slides, the exercise is much more interesting with you working in a lab /doing something practical or mostly solving problems or discussion of the assignments.

Assignments are usually not the part of your masters life (mostly). From the moment I have come here  I am getting assignments in only one of the subject. Rest assured the masters course in quite challenging if you get involved with lots of tasks and practicals additionally. For example knowing programming languages always helps with the likes of C,C++, JAVA, Python to some extent.

Life is a topsy turvy each and every day with lots of lectures taking place early morning and late evening. And by early morning I mean at around 7:30 you are expected to attend some of the exercise and the late evening can be as late as upto 20:00 or 20:30 at night. Not to mention the harsh whether you have to endure during the travel.

Managing the subjects is not a big deal as long as you are able to attend exercises. Yes, it seems that all the lectures are not important and you just have to deal with the practical or the problem solving classes which usually takes places during the exercises hours. But masters course overall is never a cake walk and you have to do a bit of hard work from your part now and then to finish tasks and also manage your day to day life (cleaning , cooking etc).

{ I will follow up this article with a part 2 , which focuses more on studying in chemnitz , as well as lifestyle and other stuff. soon enough!! with more pictures i can click. stay tuned!! }


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