Goodbye Copenhagen, goodbye Microsoft, goodbye Netherlands, goodbye Delft, goodbye University, goodbye good Danish pastries and bad food! This is where my one year (and a few days) stay in Denmark ends. Also, my journey on the fascinating pastures of academia, in the Netherlands, ended a few days ago when I defended my master thesis. Least but not last, my internship in Microsoft ended about a month ago, but as the song says, “you can check out any time you like but you can never leave”. More about this will follow in another post, hopefully soon. I am now in the Copenhagen airport waiting for a plane that will take me back to Romania. I will take advantage of the waiting time and do a short retrospective of this memorable year.

The biggest achievements come first, so as I already mentioned in the first paragraph, I managed to successfully complete a master in Computer Science at the Technical University of Delft, in the Netherlands. It was definitely harder than I expected but I managed to do it (see my project here). I learned a lot and I would like to share some of the things that I will remember from TUDelft (random thoughts that barely worth 2 cents):

  • Research requires a lot of time and a lot of study. Until getting there (in NL) I never did academic research in the true sense
  • Spending more than two years for a two years master programme is fine and students are not always supposed to be young. However, spending too much time should raise an alarm.
  • Academic research can bring real value to the world (see TUDelft’s Incubators and research)
  • Sleeping 5-6 hours/day and working the rest is not sustainable and one can only do it for a limited amount of time. Is more productive to sleep more.
  • Wikipedia is not a valid reference

Next is the Microsoft experience. Getting in Microsoft was a big dream that I wasn’t able to complete about four years ago when I tried to get an internship. However, last winter I tried again and it worked. I spent one year as a Tester or, the official title, Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) working on Dynamics AX2012. Before Microsoft I only worked in a small company (with ~50 employees) and the MS experience was something completely different. I believe that now I can tell the difference between working in different size companies and I know which are the (dis)advantages of each. I think the biggest gain from Microsoft is not the programming/testing experience but the understanding of the process and how big projects are developed.

Moving from one place to another is not one of my favorite activities – what I hate is the process of moving, not being in a new place. However, there is an advantage when getting to new places: you meet people and make connections. I met many great individuals both in Holland and Denmark and I will miss them. However, because of different social networks, I believe that it will be quite easy to stay in touch and, at least, exchange some words from time to time.

The people that I met Denmark and in the Netherlands were great and crazy (in a positive way). We had a lot of fun, went to a lot of parties (unfortunately not so many in Holland because of the study load) and spent memorable moments – I just checked and I have 2000+ pictures just from Denmark and I know that there are many others that I haven’t got because of various reasons. Did you know that people in Microsoft love parties? Being a geek doesn’t mean only going to LAN parties :-)

The last two years were amazing but, in the same time, extremely exhausting. For the first time in the last 4-5 years, I have nothing to do. There are no school assignments, no projects, no meetings, nothing. Even though is a weird feeling, I guess I should enjoy it and take advantage of the situation. Therefore, I hereby declare the beginning of my extended vacation.