Magdalena Hader is the First Graduate of Austria’s New Artificial Intelligence Program

Magdalena Hader, MSc., is a native of Linz and has successfully completed a Master's degree in the new "Artificial Intelligence" program.

Magdalena Hader
Magdalena Hader

The Johannes Kepler University Linz has offered a graduate degree program in Artificial Intelligence for two years now, the only one of its kind in Austria. Magdalena Hader, MSc., is a resident of Linz and can now celebrate her degree and also the fact that she is the first to successfully complete the new Master's degree program.

Assist. Prof. Günter Klambauer (Institute for Machine Learning) is not surprised in the least: "During lectures, Magdalena always struck us as a very motivated and determined student. We were not surprised that she is the first graduate of the AI program. We would like to sincerely congratulate her for successfully completing the program." Magdalena Hader is one of many enthusiastic and talented students in the program. Johannes Kofler, head the program together with Prof. Sepp Hochreiter, added: "The influx of students in the AI program continues unabated. We are confident that many outstanding graduates will follow Magdalena."

How does it feel to be the first graduate of Austria’s new AI Master’s degree?
Magdalena Hader: While it came as a bit of a surprise, naturally it's a great feeling. As the first graduate of the program I can’t really benefit from the experience of others and the bureaucracy was also a bit more complicated. However, I am proud that I managed the additional difficulties and glad my fellow classmates can benefit from my experience.

Why did you decide to study AI at the JKU?
Magdalena Hader: I first came across the new degree program in the media. After taking a closer look at AI for the first time, I realized that I was actually very interested in this subject area. I attended an information session at the JKU and strongly believed this program would be the best way for me to obtain profound expertise in the field.

Would you recommend the program to others?
Magdalena Hader: Yes, definitely. It's very exciting to learn from experts – these are tips and tricks you can't get anywhere else. The combination of theoretical background and real-world applications is well balanced and the curricula addresses many other different aspects, such as legal and social issues.

How was the support you received?
Magdalena Hader: The support was very good. The professors and course instructors were always open to questions and feedback. I really enjoyed the fact that you could tell when a professor or course instructor was especially enthusiastic about his or her subject area or topic.

What is next for you?
Magdalena Hader: Before starting the program, I was working as a software developer for several years and I studied then as well. Although I did this program completely for myself - independent from my job - I can now apply what I have learned in my job.

AI can be a controversial subject, with images ranging from the Terminator to a magic bullet that could solve all of our problems. What kind of potential do you think AI has?
Magdalena Hader: People with superficial insight discuss a lot of things and I believe this is a problem. I think AI is neither one nor the other but rather a tool. Just like any other technological advancement, the impact depends entirely on the user. AI has great potential and the greater the potential, the greater the risks. But when it comes to AI in particular, I feel like problems are being addressed very early on.

Many women tend to be more reserved when it comes pursuing an engineering degree. What was that like for you? Do you have any advice for these young women?
Magdalena Hader: I am lucky that this was not an issue for me. My parents always encouraged both me and my sister (she also holds an engineering degree from the JKU). I think perhaps women may not consider this an option as more men pursue technical professions. My advice when searching for a degree program is to look closer at engineering degrees and try not to be influenced by preconceptions and what others think. The programs themselves are certainly no more difficult for a woman as for a man. As long as more women are not in the program, you may have to get used to working mainly with men but that's not a bad thing.

How old are you and what do you do in your free time?
Magdalena Hader: I am 31 years old. I like solving puzzles and learning new things. For the past two years, my main ‘hobby’ was my studies. Otherwise, I enjoy playing the piano, sports, and spending time in the great outdoors.