An international digital commerce specialist, Michael Wahlberg from IBM Singapore, talked to us about his experience of studying Digital Skills, the key learning outcomes during the online degree, and how he’s already applying these skills to his current role.
You recently completed a BSc Honours Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation. Which key skills did you learn during the programme?
The key skills I obtained were in User Experience Design (UX) and Marketing. Growth Hacking was particularly interesting to me and I’ve also incorporated User Activation, the process of turning website visitors into actual website users, in my current role in IBM.
I also learned to use Collaboration Workflow tools much more effectively. I use these and custom cloud-based digital tools on a daily basis, helping our Enterprise/Industry customers to manage contracts, software licenses and invoices. Thanks to the key skills I acquired during the programme, the tools I now deploy are all highly responsive and strictly designed for purpose.
How would you describe your overall experience on the programme?
It was a great experience. I thought the courses were well delivered, the lecturers were excellent and I easily managed to balance study hours with my professional life.
What was your favourite module?
I thought the Digital Leadership & Management module was brilliant. While I did complete an MBA prior to this programme, I felt this specific module was more advanced in terms of content and outcomes. I really enjoyed writing my assessment for that module.
I also enjoyed the Entrepreneurial Project. I was lucky to have a great project and a wonderful team. In retrospect, I wish I had come up with my own entrepreneurial idea. But the project I got to work on was excellent.
Can you tell us more about the Entrepreneurial Project?
Although the project idea was not mine, I felt a responsibility to make it something the idea owner could build on.
We identified a user need in the tourism sector and developed a website that responded to this need. The idea was to build a website framework for information sharing on towns, villages and other communities.
The website would generate its income from core activities including booking rooms, tours and other related tourist activities. Our goal was to work in partnership with our hometowns, provide them with a free promotional platform and support tourism in these areas.
I enjoyed working on this project. It was completely different from my day-to-day role and it gave me the opportunity to implement the skills I learned during the programme.
Prior to the course, you already had experience with team management and scalable projects. So how did you benefit from studying on the project management track of the degree programme?
By discovering Agile methodologies. It’s been so long since I started working as a Project Manager that I hadn't realised that there was an Agile way of running projects. I really wish I had known about Agile and Waterfall when I first started as a Project Manager.
Which best practices did you pick up during the programme?
My role is changing and I know that some of the skills I learned will become tremendously important. Cloud solutions and cognitive, self-learning systems, will soon play a big part of my role at IBM. Client loyalty through unique digital client experiences is also one of the agendas I will be driving. Looking ahead, I can see how I will use the skills I've acquired in UX, Agile Project Management, Digital Project Management and Leadership for my new projects.
Do you have any advice for current and future Digital Skills participants?
Commit yourself to the course. You need quite a lot of time to digest the information. I watched all lecture videos 2 or 3 times to ensure I understood everything. The good thing with this programme is that it’s quite high tempo. In that environment, it’s better to be as proactive as possible and try to follow the syllabus so you don’t fall behind. I found complementing the video lectures with my own Google searches or YouTube videos was of great help if there was something that wasn’t entirely clear to me.
I would also recommend watching the replays of the Live Syncs. This is a great platform to ask questions and consider new insights thanks to fellow participants’ questions.
The programme is also an opportunity for you to take on responsibilities you may not have in your current role. So be the leader or be the project manager. This will boost your confidence and you will get more out of your studies. Always step-up and show initiative and leadership in your team. Go the extra mile.
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