A step up for your future

We caught up with Stephen Donachie to talk about his experience of the MSc Strategic ICT Leadership course at Edinburgh Napier University.

The course so far has been very beneficial. I now have a better understanding of why organisations work in the way they do.

Stephen Donachie

MSc Strategic ICT Leadership
Head of Enterprise Information Security, Aegon

Why did you choose this course?

I was looking for some professional education as a way of validating and reinforcing my career to date.

I’ve been working in IT and Information Security for nearly 20 years. Over the course of my career I’ve undertaken a number of vendor type courses and some more academic courses as well. I felt that I was at a point in my career where I wanted to be able to demonstrate a level of competence across all types of senior management activities in IT, as well as understand more about my skills and learning needs as a leader.

My current role is Head of Enterprise Information Security and so I initially considered the MSc Cyber Security, but I spoke with the admissions team at Edinburgh Napier, and they recommended I look at the Strategic ICT Leadership course. Having read through the syllabus I felt this was much more in line with my requirements, and fitted well with my day-to-day role at work.

How has this course helped your future?

The course so far has been very beneficial. I now have a better understanding of why organisations work in the way they do, and what other ways of working there are in relation to project and programme management. I have a good knowledge of leadership traits and styles and can see when a particular way of trying to lead may bring better results. I’ve met a number of great people on the course, both students and tutors who have helped me to expand my knowledge in key areas, and strengthened my research capabilities. While I didn’t sign up for the course with the aim of moving jobs, I know that having a Master’s on my CV is only going to help me in the long term.

Would you recommend the course?

If you’re thinking about signing up for the course, read through the materials provided to see how it suits your role, and speak to the tutors. The admissions staff are very helpful and happy to point you in the right direction. The course tutors were also very approachable, I was offered really helpful advice and guidance to help me to find a course that suited my needs.

It also helps if your manager and employer are supportive of your decision to do a work-based Master’s, so it’s useful to lay the groundwork there. The work-based learning module is a really good way of using work you are doing in your job as part of your MSc course. But it does require some input from your manager at different points through the year.

If you are committed and prepared to put the time into the course, I am sure you will get the benefits I am starting to see.