An image of a forest from above.

Gonggomtua Sitanggang

I am currently working for the Ministry of Transport State of Qatar as Transport Engineer in the capital city, Doha. I joined this organization in April 2015. Since Qatar is rapidly growing and is improving its infrastructure prior to the World Cup event 2022, I have been involved in planning and designing an integrated public transport. I have been assigned to analyse the current bus network operation and later on the result will be used to develop a database for bus network performance monitoring. The result will also be used as a base to improve the service and how to integrate with other modes of transport namely rail, water and air transport. Apparently, the share of transport mode in Qatar is mostly private cars possibly because Qatar is the richest nation in this world. The Mayor of Bogota said “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation”. Hence it would be a huge job to make people here shift to public transport. The public transport itself has to be more interesting than private cars in terms of service, safety, security, reliability and accessibility. Nevertheless, it is the big challenge that we face in the transport world, developing safe, secure, reliable and accessible public transport. Do we dare enough to face it or just avoid it?

My experience at ITS has helped me in analyzing and developing an integrated public transport here.

My first job since I graduated from ITS was working for the Ministry of Transport, Indonesia as an intern for three months. After that, I worked as a Traffic Consultant in Indonesia as a Transport Engineer for one year. I learnt many things there on how to assess the existing traffic and how to improve it using the knowledge I had gained from ITS. Then I moved to the airline industry in Indonesia, for the national flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia. I also gained a lot of experience as it was the first time I had been introduced to air transport. After that, I moved to Qatar.

I chose ITS because of a scholarship I got from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport, Indonesia that enabled me to study at ITS. This scholarship offered me a double degree programme. I spent one year, 2010-2011, studying at University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) Indonesia and one year, 2011-2012, at ITS. The course I took at UGM is Masters Programme in Transport System and Engineering (MSTT) which led me to choose the MSc (Eng) Transport Planning & Engineering course at ITS.

Long before I took my Masters degree at UGM, MSTT has been in a cooperation with ITS via alumna Prof. Siti Malkhamah. She was the Director of MSTT UGM when I first took my master at MSTT and she is now Vice Director at Engineering Faculty UGM. I chose ITS and University of Leeds because ITS at UoL is a well-known centre for research in Transport Studies across the world and I wanted to be a professional by following the steps of Prof. Siti Malkhamah.

I strongly advise prospective students to take this course because it offers a broad knowledge of transport, including planning and designing as well as transport policy. So it would be a great step in order to support a career in transport, for you will be equipped with a full package of transport knowledge to compete in the professional world.

I did not take part in the Employers Visits to ITS. However, I strongly recommend students to take part in that event because there are many employers from various backgrounds of industry, including government, and private sectors, looking for candidates. So it would be a good opportunity to see what it looks like working in the transport sector and of course applying for the jobs in advance. Don’t waste any chance that is offered to you.

My current job is the highlight of my career so far. When I was at university, I always dreamt of working in a professional, international environment and my current job gives me all of that. The work I do for the Ministry of Transport, Qatar building an integrated public transport, means I can get involved from the beginning of the project until it is implemented later on. Not only that, I also work with colleagues from various background and nationalities that will give me more knowledge and experience. All of these elements will be a valuable experience for my career path because I will be actively involved in achieving the Qatar vision in the coming years.

As an international student, I would say that networking is the key to getting a career. I got information about my current job from LinkedIn. It is a professional network and most employers use that as their means to hire new recruits. Apparently, my current employer also used LinkedIn to search for and hire their employees and I was lucky enough to be the one they found. ITS also has its own LinkedIn group network that you can join. I would recommend expanding your network regardless of what background you have. Moreover, if you want to seek jobs internationally then networking would be the key in addition to your qualification for sure.