ZHANARTU continues to introduce our readers with professors and instructors of “Nurali Aliyev Bachelor of Information systems in Business” program (BISB) at KIMEP University. We had a chance to talk with our new professor from Turkey – Dr. Umut Tosun. He was kindly invited in Kazakhstan to continue his teaching career as an Assistant Professor of Information Systems in Business at KIMEP University. Since August 2021 he shares his knowledge in Machine Learning, Human Computer Interaction, and Python Programming.
ZHANARTU: Dr.Tosun, thank you for your time and please accept our warm welcome to Kazakhstan! Could you please share your story, where are you from, where did you receive your academic degrees etc?
– First, I would like to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. My name is Dr. Umut TOSUN, and currently I am an Assistant Professor of Information Systems in Business at KIMEP University. I am from Antalya, which is on the southern coast of Turkey. I received my B.E. degree from Izmir Institute of Technology, Izmir, Turkey in 2004, my M.E. degree from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey in 2007 and my Ph.D. from METU, Ankara, Turkey in 2013, all in Computer Engineering. I was granted with the degree Associate Professor by Inter University Council (UAK) of Turkey in 2020.
ZHANARTU: What was your international expertise in the IT sphere before you joined BISB program?
– I have been here since August 2021. Before joining to KIMEP University, I was an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University. Between 2004 and 2017, I worked for Bilkent University, ASELSAN Defence, Argela Turkish Telecom, Siemens Enterprise Communications, and Anca Motion Australia. I worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering at Baskent University and Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University.
ZHANARTU: What courses do you teach at KIMEP University now?
– I teach bleeding edge technology courses like Machine Learning, Human Computer Interaction, and Python Programming at KIMEP University. My expertise is in database management systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
ZHANARTU: Does your working experience help students to understand the nuances of working in IT-sphere?
– I also went through the same steps like them, and I feel like I am coming from future to show them whom they might/might not be like. I am a mentor for them besides being a lecturer.
ZHANARTU: What topics are BISB students most interested in and why?
– Our students are interested in topics like machine learning, AI, game programming, IT security. This is because they are smart. They want to be the early adapters of these topics. They want to use these technologies earlier than other people to take advantage of them.
ZHANARTU: What practical skills students should receive after completion of your courses?
– My students gained a lot of knowledge. They can now use machine-learning techniques to design their financial models, forecasting and data analysis. They can use eye tracking, hypothesis testing and A/B testing as well as statistical methods to make their E-Commerce sites profitable. I am proud of the achievements they gained. One of my students was in the team, which won the Open Data Challenge on 2nd-5th of December 2021.
ZHANARTU: Wow, such a great start of your mentor career here! What do you consider the greatest achievement in your teaching practice?
– I am proud of all my students. Many of my students work in Europe, and in top companies of Turkey. The best thing about being a university professor is being able to teach students who can be better than you can in the future. To make sure they do not make the same mistakes you made. Sometimes when you enter the classroom, you see very bright students. The only difference between them and you is these 8-10 years of experience. It is a great pleasure to see that at the end of 8-10 years he/she has come to a better place than you were in that age.
ZHANARTU: By the way, did you notice some peculiar differences in teaching approaches both in Turkey and in Kazakhstan?
– Turkey has a solid IT education. We started to hear unicorns from Turkey in the recent years. I have joined a couple of combat drone competitions with my students in Turkey. I don’t know why, but I sometimes believe Turkish students have some inborn skills for combat drone design. As a result, we started to see the success of Turkish Engineers in defense industry too. I see most of these skills in my students in Kazakhstan as well. They are very good at maths, and they have superior skills of English. Persistence and perseverance are key for success in IT. I try to give these skills to my students. Rest is just technology.
ZHANARTU: BISB is a relatively new degree program at KIMEP University; its main advantage is giving knowledge in the field of both: information systems and business. From your point of view, what prospects BISB program has in the future?
– Fintech is one of the most popular skills if you search for jobs from portals like seek.com or indeed.com. This needs both business and IT-knowledge. BISB gives you all these skills. Moreover, you can specialize in only Business or IT as you get to know your skills. This is unique.
ZHANARTU: What advice you want to give to your students, when they graduate?
– A perfect IT-specialist in business is supposed to have both IT and management skills. He/ She should be a lifelong learner and should be passionate about advances in IT. The best motivation is success and loving your job. What I realized in my career is that the people who work for money or fame are stuck at some point. Nevertheless, people who love what they do would never give up.
ZHANARTU: What do you like most about your work?
– Every day is a new day in IT industry. My work gives me the opportunity to follow the latest content and share with my students. It is not just bits and bytes. What we are working on, something tangible only professionals see. I feel wonderful when I see this also in the eyes of my students.
ZHANARTU: Dr. Tosun, thank you very much for your time! We wish you only success in Kazakhstan!