A goal without a plan is just a wish!
New semester has begun. Many have started doing their thesis , many half way through it and some even coming to an end.
Having completed my master thesis and answering as many mails as possible regarding doubts with regard to thesis, I decided to write a blog post on it.
Thesis can be stressful or it can be fun. Well however you take it, this post gives a very abstract view of how it can be proceeded. Be it any university around the globe, some things never change. I learned few very important things at my university and work place (Vector Informatik GmbH) while doing my thesis and it proved to be very effective when the time came, so I thought of sharing it with everyone out there.
Following are some of the basic rules you can follow to keep things a little (less) messy. They are not with the details of how to put a comma in your report, but a plan that can prepare you for the entire thesis.
So here are 6 main phases for your crucial 6 months:
- Research – As boring as it sounds, it is one of the most crucial stages and helped me thoroughly. For one simple reason – it helps in creating a mind map and gives a complete overview of the topic in your head (or paper, however you like it). Knowing all about your topic, recent news about the topic in the industry and the working knowledge of some common platforms and tools can be really handy.
- Conceptualize – At this time, already having the overview with you, is the designing of the concept phase. You work with all the ideas, build concepts all around and with your topic and by the end of this have a diagram that can summarize your thesis completely. This not only helps you to be more confident but also gives you the comfort to discuss it with your mentor / colleagues.
- Implement – In my opinion, this is one of the ‘jam’ layers of the thesis. Reason being, it takes much more time & effort for ideas to turn into a concept than implementing them in form of working models. My colleague and a friend at Vector Informatik GmbH always told me, “It’s not about the syntax and programming part that you should be worried about, always focus on the concept.” And this not only helped me overcome my fears of this phase, but also accelerated my work.
- Testing – No, it is not same as before any more. You’ve seen your idea converting into a concept and then into a working model and finally it’s time to test the waters (in this case your work :P). Testing phase is not only crucial but this can decide if your work can be further used or is going to remain on the papers of your report.
- Writing – Hearing the word report writing makes a lot of them feel jaded. But it has to be done! There is no way you can prove your work in real world until you have it all with you in form of documents (and sometimes copyrighted). It’s true. I have seen people taking credits for others work only because of the absence of document that proves the rightful ownership. In case of thesis, more than anything it is something that will be used to measure your performance and grade you. Hence, the bottom line is keeping a record of all your thoughts/work/success/failure noted down in form of words. In the end it helps you gather all your thoughts that are lost in the other million thoughts.
- Defending – This particular term scared me. A lot. And not because I am not used to giving presentation, but just for the fact that I would have to prove that my work of 6 months is worth something. Preparing an interesting presentation (not a novel and not a picture book) is a start. Then making notes (1 or 2 lines for each slide) and finally, timing yourself for the presentation. These points are something you find in every link that you read about ‘defending the thesis’ and I agree they are crucial (very). But, the most important thing that I found during my defense was – confidence is the key. Quoting my mentor the day before my defense – “Remember you are the master of the data. It is your thesis and only you have known it inside out. So be confident and give your best.” These words created magic for me. Yes, it is your thesis and no one knows it better than you do. So go out there, dress well and give an amazing presentation!
These are just the few clouds you see from the window, that is your thesis. There is a lot more, and a lot more details with respect to each thing that has to be prepared at each stage. But again, having a picture and self-confidence will definitely kick things off at the right pace (or gain pace in case you have started with it already).
All the very best for your thesis! In case of any questions or any kind of help, you can contact me any time.