Five years, thirteen countries, and a growing business

Cindy Himawan, ST

Cindy Himawan did not have a privileged upbringing, and her mother struggled hard to finance her studies. However, in 2006, Cindy succeeded in obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from Institut Teknologi Harapan Bangsa (ITHB). Her qualifications were soon opening many doors for her – as were her character and her determination to succeed.

Within five years of graduating, Cindy has completed information technology projects and assignments with major companies around the world. Starting in Jakarta, she has gained working experience in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States.

The SAP difference

As competition intensifies, companies around the world must become more effective and efficient than ever. One technology that can help them improve productivity is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), an information system that helps them manage their resources and run their business in an integrated way.

Today, the world’s leading platform for ERP is SAP. Its name stands for ‘Systems, Applications and Products [in Data Processing]’. Developed in Germany by ex-IBM professionals in the early 1970s, SAP has become the world leader, with a client base far larger than competitors such as Oracle and JD Edwards.

In Indonesia, more than 80% of large companies run SAP, including Pertamina (the state-owned oil and gas company), Astra International (the country’s largest auto manufacturer and distributor), Indofood Sukses Makmur (the largest processed-food producer), and many more.

International opportunities

Fortunately for Cindy, ITHB allows all students to obtain professional certification in SAP in order to serve the needs of industry. To become an SAP consultant, a university graduate needs extensive knowledge of information technology, and ideally a professional certification to. They also need the ability to work both individually and in a team, communicate effectively with both clients and system engineers, and have the commitment to deal with a task list and workload that can be almost overwhelming.

As an SAP consultant, Cindy’s main responsibilities include identifying client requirements, translating them into technical configurations, and ensuring system integration.

On her travels, Cindy met several other SAP consultants from Indonesia. It made her proud to see that Indonesia is starting to be internationally recognized as a source of technology expertise, as well as India and China. Reflecting on her experience, Cindy confirms that the same international opportunities are available for other Indonesian professionals too.

Committed to learning

Despite the experience she has gained, Cindy is still keen to learn. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Information Technology from ITHB, with a GPA of 4/4. Capitalizing on her experience as a freelance consultant, she has also established an IT consulting company called Aplysit in partnership with her husband. Several national and multinational companies have already entrusted sizable IT projects to the fledgling consultancy.

Cindy’s story should inspire young Indonesians to take responsibility for their career and make sure they choose the right degree program. And it shows that the right choices can lead to much more than just a university degree.

At ITHB, for example, information-systems students are also given SAP professional certification; the university is one of just a handful in Indonesia to offer such a program. In parallel with their formal training, ITHB’s Career Resource Center (CRC) develops student’s ‘soft skills’, including communication, business presentation and reporting, and career planning. The CRC also has extensive links with major employers, both within Indonesia and beyond, giving students a valuable helping hand with finding a job.

Cindy’s story proves that an international career is well within the reach of young graduates, even though it may seem difficult at first. ‘The key is to prepare yourself,’ says Cindy. ‘That way, when opportunities come, you are ready.’