호우 사무관 / From a master in Electronic Engineering to Level 5 official
1. I am 호우, an official in Central Ministry.
I majored in Electronic Engineering in KAIST and completed my master degree in the same field, and currently am level 5 official in the Central Ministry. My name 호우 is an alias.
2. 6 months of wandering, specific major
I had two difficulties during graduate school.
First was about my specific major.
I got interested in designing circuits in electronic engineering and studied hard about the field. So naturally I entered the graduate school lab that dealt with circuit design.
After about 6 months, I had to decide my major in detail, and my professor wanted to expand our research to the bioscience field, aside from our traditional circuit design.
Although I wasn’t interested in bioscience since I had studied circuit design for 6 months, I started the research due to my professor’s recommendation. But the project ended in a failure after 6 months, due to my lack of knowledge and interest.
3. Ideal and reality, implementation of idea
The second failure was when I was dealing with circuit design project.
I changed the research direction mid-course since I didn’t to the fundamental research thoroughly. I had this idea that I thought would work well and ran many simulations undergoing circuit design for quite a time, but it didn’t work. After several trials I began to question the idea’s feasibility and searched related papers and prior researches, and concluded that my idea was not feasible as I expected.
The whole incident was because I didn’t study well about my field of study.
4. Reason for numerous failures
The reasons for my two failures were different.
The first one was because I lacked certainty in the field that I studied in. Then and now the field of bioscience is of great interest globally. The professor also persuaded me a lot, and I think if I was a bit more certain about what I should and could do I may have not experienced the failure at all.
The second one was because I lacked fundamental research about the field. It’s one thing to strongly pursue and go on with your work, but it’s more important to set the initial direction of the project.
This helped me learn that taking my time with setting the work direction is very important.
5. Preparing for an official exam every weekend, from Daejeon to Seoul
Since my school was KAIST, very few people prepared for an official exam, so it was very hard to find study groups or gather information.
I had to go to Seoul every weekend in order to participate in a study group and spent a lot of time and effort. After some time, I was quite burned out and decided to study by myself in Daejeon. At the time I was quite anxious about going through a path which most people around me do not choose.
6. An engineering school graduate official? No way!
I too was biased towards being an official. I thought they worked on related laws or funds, so I assumed that things that I studied in graduate school won’t play a role in this field.
But when I started this job, I realized that my former experience helped quite a lot. First, it helped when I had to plan and manage the national R&D projects. Additionally, when I processed technology-related works (energy, traffic, construction, environment, science technology), I was able to process them well since I had learned about those things in my time as an engineering student. So if you are thinking of preparing an official exam, don’t worry and just try.
7. Create an environment suitable for research
I was interested in research since I was a child and it suited me well, so I proceeded on to KAIST graduate school after graduating KAIST but experienced several difficulties mentioned above.
I thought setting up a suitable environment for research was as much as important as the research itself, so I became an official that supports the research work. Other people may think that my work is irrelevant with research, but I hope to improve the research-related environment in the future.
8. Use your failure as a mirror that helps you move on
I didn’t spend a lot of time as a researcher, but I learned a lot through my multiple failures and those failures helped me to become the official at the Central Ministry.
There hasn’t been a huge failure in the Ministry until now, but when I face the failures to come I won’t be let down or be frustrated, but will think about what I can learn and earn from those failures.
"Failure is a compass that will point you the way"
About the interviewee Department of Electronic Engineering, KAIST Master degree in Department of Electronic Engineering, KAIST Central Ministry level 5 official