Introduction? 

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I engaged in a mandatory module
called Work related conducted by London Metropolitan University which
enables you to undertake a period of professional activity where there is a
structure of where a client gives you a project to complete on time with the
aim that the student gains valuable experience of working in a working
environment and developing academic skills relating to the degree and
professional amongst many other aims.  

 

I was given a default?work
related project for the completion of my?work-related?module. In agreement with
my supervisor and client, the project to be completed was an application for
online web, desktop or mobile called “Employment outcome”.??I was
required to spend a total of 150 hour completing the web application and
reporting my progress on weekly logs.  

 

Employment outcome is?an?application?to?be
used by students, employers and placement officers. I was given the ‘post
placement’ section of the application. The requirements included adding a
backend alongside the frontend for the application and for the
applicants to use and report on their action plan and post
placement forms.  

 

My initial reaction when I was given the
job description was one of frustration because of the workload but after
some?deliberation?I understood this was a major?opportunity?for me to develop
my skills from various modules and classes and implement them in a work
related environment with standards and deadlines. This application had
relevance to my BSc Computer science course where I studied Data structures,
Databases and currently distributed system which will help me utilize my skills
even further.  

My aim was to produce an interactive
web application that could be used by students and employers to report their
experience and I also wanted to utilize SQL database to meet the
client’s requirements for a backend management system
to help maintain and manage the information submitted.?The
central focus of this web application was usability to users with
relatively little technical expertise. I had to incorporate?the
information and?forms for the component given to?me by my client.?I made my
mind up on the way I was going to approach it which was?use?different
technologies and software engineering methods to create a comprehensive
application to both provide a user-friendly front-end and efficient back end
for collection, storing and analyzing data input.  

 

 

LO1: Demonstrate
s/he can operate effectively as an independent learner in a supervised work
environment, including the selection and application of appropriate methods and
procedures to required tasks. 

 

I created a web application
without any external input but the clients cooperation. I met the clients
demands both with timing and web application requirements to create a dynamic
website with HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery and JavaScript web technologies
with a fully functional backend SQL database system which has 3 tables for
the user registration, student review form and action
plan form to store, analyze and insert data into without any
errors. I applied appropriate methods in planning, developing, implementing and
testing stages in which a combined 150 hours was spent individually
developing this web application and documenting it through weekly logs.  

 

I developed skills and reached learning
objectives whilst developing as an independent learner
who analyzed in detail the task that was given to me and came up with
a plan to implement a website which I believed would more than
satisfy the client’s needs. I believe I have operated effectively as
an independent learner and that is evident by the web application
produced and the documentation behind it explaining the developments leading up
to its implementation and the trials and tribulations among
the successes and learning strides I have made in understanding the
working environment and developing my web development skills. 

 

I believe I had set myself in a good
position to now fully emerge myself in learning web development to an expert
level in the coming years and using the appropriate methods to
do so because of this experience. I also believe my supervisor
and teacher will take the evidence provided in the form of my
web application and without hesitation agree that I
have operated a thrived in a work environment and applied myself
fully by implementing a wide range of web technologies to a good level to
create a dynamic front-end alongside finding a innovative solution to creating a backend
database  

 

 

LO2: communicate
appropriately with colleagues and superiors.? 

 

In
any working environment may that be for a freelance company or major
multinational company such as Microsoft or in any industry, communication
is held in high priority and is a skill which is highly sought after and
deemed a requirement amongst employees.  

 

Developing
my communication skills amongst my peers and superiors was a big objective of
mine prior to starting the module but during the module I understood further
the importance in having a dialogue with your friend or peer about the work you
are attempting to complete. I had numerous conversations with my client related
to the application I was developing for her, communication between us two
provided me with clarity of what is expected of me and provided my client
clarity & assurance of the stage I am at and the understanding of
work.  

 

In my
personal experience avoiding an unpleasant situation is easier if you do the
legwork up front and have a constant dialogue with your client to make sure you
are making the correct choices with the application you take on. Communication
with my supervisor and client in this module allowed me to identify my goals
and scope of the application which in turn enabled me to make an application
which fitted my client’s requirements.  

 

During
the course of this module I learnt valuable knowledge that one of the most
important factors to consider when handed a project is the client and
peers you will be working with and keeping constant communication to establish
the information, direction and approvals to avoid any confusion. Me and my
client have been in constant communication and I did a demonstration of the web
application where she gave me positive feedback and some minor tasks to
do.  

 

 

LO3: describe and
evaluate the structure, major activities and responsibilities of
the?organization. 

 

This
was one learning objective I didn’t fully achieve and didn’t grasp. I
understood the responsibilities placed upon me by my client,
including time span. Understanding
the structure and responsibilities of the organization is valuable in
completing work but I misunderstood some of my responsibilities at the start
when I was given the project to complete, I had to clarify which activities I
had to complete and then I understood I had to do the post placement section of
the application. This is one learning objective I hope to improve in upcoming
months and look at case examples of different organizations and report their
structures and responsibilities.

?

 

 

LO4: Demonstrate his/her
analytical and advanced problem solving skills related to the subject 

 

Problem solving and analytical
skills are important when taking part in a work environment or developing
an application as it requires overcoming problems you may come across in your
web development process which the chances are high especially in web development
where coding has to be changed and improved consistently. Problem solving
requires analytical and creative skills. Analytical skills are useful in
finding the best alternative solution when encountering a problem where there
are many possible causes and have to be identified and analyzed. I came to
realize in this module that developing these mental skills are vital in
succeeding in a web development environment may that be freelance or working
for a major company with a team.  

 

Being innovative and creative in web
development is a big positive and these two factors go conjointly with problem
solving skills.  

 

During all stages of developing the
“employability app” I encountered problems that I needed to analyze and solve.
Problems ranged from user interface & user experience to database
management. I went into this web application project with a clear mind about
the web technologies I was going to use for front end and back end but
during implementation stages problems started occurring and I had to use
problem solving skills to identify and find solutions in implementing new code
for my web application to have the desired effect.  

 

The first problem I encountered was when
designing two form interfaces, this was a significant stumbling block which
could have derailed my web application completely. I had created two forms at
the particular moment which were a contact form and an action plan form. These
forms contained pure HTML and CSS code with some JavaScript which was
linked via a command code at the beginning of the
form code. I was happy with my progress and considered the forms complete as it
included a modern interface seen in established websites. I then tried to link
a PHP form which contained a database connection which was queried but when
I refreshed the page CSS styling was discarded and it was basic HTML
code. Hours were spent trying to fix this problem but using analytical
skills it helped me find a solution which was inserting the CSS styling
code in the actual HTML page and not in a separate Cascading Style sheet it was
linked to.  

 

 ? 
LO5: Evaluate
critically her/his performance and abilities and plan for their improvement.? 

 

Self-improvement
is a natural instinct outside of study, in any project I start I am
to implement it to the best of my ability and set up a wide range of
testing methods across different
modules to look for errors and eradicate them. Testing in web development
is a major factor in point out defects and errors made in development stages thus
providing a foundation to improving the website.  

 

I had
to critically test my web app and document my finding. I used many testing
techniques to find issues and bugs which may affect the usability or
accessibility of my website. A hefty section of my
time expenditure went into testing and documentation on how to
improve on the errors found.  

 

I used
these 5 testing methods for the employability web app  

 

1.       Functionality
Testing 

2.       Usability
testing 

3.       Interface
testing 

4.       Compatibility
testing 

5.       Performance
testing 

 

 

I did
functionality testing to test all my web pages, forms, links and database. I
tested the response time of each page as statistics show 40% of users will exit
a page if it is not loaded within 3 seconds, I had to insure for accessibility
purpose each page and the links responded in less than 2 seconds, which they
did. The next functionality test was the validation of my forms and
database testing. I had to check in the PHP file to see if I queried my
database right and test My SQL for data integrity errors while updating,
deleting and inserting data from tables.  

 

 

I
undertook usability testing to evaluate my
website to ensure it had a smooth navigation and good
content to appeal to the users by using different users with
different level of understanding regarding websites and
computing skills to use the website. I gained qualitative insight into any user
troubles.  

 

 

This was followed
by interface testing to test the front end of the application. I also
completed compatibility testing and tested my application to see if it was
compatible on different browsers and phones which it was. The most important
test I completed was performance testing, web load testing and stress testing
on different internet speeds and insuring it has a quick load time to meet the
users demands.

These
testing methods gave me insight to what I didn’t implement and/or what I did
implement and to what standard before the website was launched.  

 

 Challenges? 

Challenges were ever present whilst
completing the web application and meeting the
clients?demand. Time management was a major issue because of the many
consecutive?coursework’s?I had to?complete in the same time span of the
application.?? 

 

I used
numerous tools and software to help with the application development and time
management. This helped me estimate time and resources to accomplish my tasks.
When a client hands me a project time expenditure is the first thing
on my mind. The client gave me a time scale not vice versa which was
difficult considering employees/freelances in web design state the time scale,
but I had to take into consideration this module is about developing my skills
and meeting learning objectives. I had to take into account time for
planning, development, implementation and testing. The biggest challenge I
faced is I didn’t have a team to hand out responsibilities to, I had to do all
the stages of the web application myself which was difficult.  

 

The
lack of flexibility and support was the biggest challenge in this module. 

 

Another challenge
before and during this module was having the suitable level
of expertise in
the web technologies particularly Pre Hypertext Processor
(PHP)  and JavaScript (JS) to
create a dynamic web application with a desired interface and
database system. Dealing with expectations of the employees is another matter
altogether, especially in web development, there are no
excuses regarding your web development expertise when
a client asks you to carry out a project. This was the case when
dealing with my client.  

 

 

Embedding web technologies
together was?difficult especially because of the lack of resources.
Linking or inserting a different?language in the source?code?was?a difficult
process because each language had a different code/process in embedding it
amongst HTML or CSS.?? 

Embedding PHP & CSS styling
was the biggest difficulty for me because I knew the?importance of?CSS?had on
the front-end of the web app in terms of usability, visualization and styling
of the pages and I knew I had to include PHP as it had valuable facilities
which made it compatible with various types of databases which was needed to
record and manage the data as the client required.  

 

The HTML code was done well and I felt as
if I had a great structure to my website including the layout, navigation
and?divisions?but CSS was challenging when taking into consideration its
importance and knowing it is hugely responsible for the?vitalization?of your
pages.?Specifically?imposing a?color?theme throughout the pages was a
difficulty because of the different divisions and margins in the pages and
various element, an example is when I was creating my forms there were
different types of data e.g. Date or Text, a date would consist of
a?calendar?and  

 

Text would consist of a normal text box
which meant changing the CSS stylesheet to incorporate your design.? 

 

Testing
the application was daunting and time consuming using various techniques and
targeting components, usability testing, and competitive analysis. The
more experience you have the more you save unnecessary expenses and time,
unfortunately in my case I do not have much experience nor expertise in web
development so the process was time consuming.   

 

Conclusion?? 

 

The
web application that was implemented and concluded to be the final version was
a web application which had a user login as the index page and a home page with
links to social media accounts and three pages; post placement student review
form, action plan form and contact us form. All these forms have backend
functionality and all date entered is collected. The application was presented
to the client and the feedback was positive.

The whole experience was a relatively new
one too me but a hugely beneficial one as predicted prior to starting the
module. The experience in a working environment was invaluable in a
journey of self-improvement. I got a sense of the real world, the demands
of clients, the pressure?involved?the skills needed to succeed?in a working
environment. I thought the environment I was put in?during
this project was important to my development academically as I development my
skill level in all programming languages and most importantly learnt
to apply it in agreement with my clients demands. 

 

I
personally believe I have met most of the learning objectives. I thought
the module specification was well thought of and the combination of weekly
learning logs and learning objectives worked simultaneously in improving my
skills. During the work related course I have increased my two weaknesses;
JavaScript and PHP to a level where these skills can be used to make any
website responsive and functional to meet all demands.