Gabriel Homa, Solutions Architect & BSc (Hons) Computing student
by Larissa Petryca, on 29 April 2022 11:01:55 CEST
Gabriel works full-time as a Solutions Architect at HTD in Prague and is studying for his Bachelor’s in Computing, whist based in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. We spoke with him to find out why he chose to study at PCU, and how he's managed his studies while working full-time.
Gabriel is a self-taught IT specialist. He had previously studied mathematics and computer science, but was able to find work without a qualification due to his in-demand technical skills and ability to find solutions to complex issues.
He has worked extensively in IT and prior to the pandemic was living and working in Germany as a Global Consultant for Europe, Middle East and Africa with Red Hat, the open source solutions giant. In his role he travelled extensively, but when the pandemic put a freeze on traveling his position became grounded and so he decided to return to the Czech Republic.
Looking For Opportunities Abroad
Gabriel has a strong desire to emigrate to the USA and pursue his dream career in the Services segment of the tech industry. He recognised the need to formalise his professional experience with a recognised Bachelor degree which is essential for securing a working visa. High level occupations also demand it, with HR automatically filtering out applicants who do not have a tertiary qualification.
Gabriel had tried another university’s blended programme while working, but it did not have the right solutions or proper support that would enable him to properly manage both work and studies. So after googling ‘Best universities to study at whilst working’ Gabriel found PCU.
He strongly agrees that PCU’s Blended programmes are truly designed for working people. The essential factors are that classes take place over weekends and that PCU Lecturers are very communicative and correspond quickly, event outside of work hours.
Most importantly, PCU recognised not only his prior studies, but also his extensive work experience, something that Czech universities do not. This will enable him to complete his Bachelor’s in three semesters.
Global Blended is truly designed for working people. Classes take place over weekends and Lecturers are very communicative and correspond quickly. Most importantly, PCU recognised not only prior studies, but also work experience so I will be able to complete my Bachelor’s in three semesters.
This individualised study path is very advantageous when compared to studying at a Czech University equivalent. Through his research Gabriel found that Czech blended programmes usually require attendance on a weekday,and when adding in his travel from Ostrava he realised he would lose a lot of work time and money.
In addition, as a student approaching 26 years of age, he would be subject to fees at a Czech University. Although PCU is more expensive, once you account for the difference in salary potential having studied in English, plus the fact that mid-level IT positions do not usually allow for regular time off mid-week, and the recognition of work experience for credit, it is clear that PCU is an indisputable winner.
You’ve climbed high enough without a degree, now you need it, but as an older person you have bills and expenses to pay, so the investment has to be worth it. I’m definitely getting good value for the money at PCU.
How does Blended format work?
Gabriel has found the programme loosely structured, essentially to fit him as a working person. He finds the lecturers very communicative and open to discussion, due to these one-on-one exchanges he can often wrap a 3 hour session into 1 hour and then work independently. He has found that the university offers all the supportive mechanisms that he needs and his lecturers serve as points of contact for areas that he may be less familiar with or needs refresher info on. Their professional specializations also gives him additional insight outside his role as a Solutions Architects.
Gabriel chooses to study over weekends as it’s much easier to set aside than weekdays. The communication with lecturers is also flexible, with lecturers quick to respond even on weekends.
Blended programmes also involve on-campus weekend sessions of a number of weekends per semester. This enables him the chance to meet fellow working students. The face-to-face interaction helps fuel debate and discussion and helps the class divide up group project roles as you can better work out an individual’s strengths.
Gabriel sees diversity is one of the biggest strengths that PCU has. He has classmates for example from; Morocco, Ukraine, South Africa and Russia. The international perspectives make interactions all the more interesting and he appreciates their views especially as his workplace is Czech only. The interactions remind him of his time working in a global role and helps build interpersonal skills, better preparing him for an international workplace.
Does blended learning work for students outside of Prague?
Gabriel would definitely recommend PCU to IT professionals working in Europe. He sees it as particularly advantageous for expats with a working visa as they are also allowed to study.
It makes good economic success to invest in a higher tertiary qualification while simultaneously developing your professional career as it really helps you confidently make your move to the next level.
Visit PCU’s Global Blended Degrees webpage to find out more details.