Introduction? ? I engaged in a mandatory modulecalled Work related conducted by London Metropolitan University whichenables you to undertake a period of professional activity where there is astructure of where a client gives you a project to complete on time with theaim that the student gains valuable experience of working in a workingenvironment and developing academic skills relating to the degree andprofessional amongst many other aims. I was given a default?workrelated project for the completion of my?work-related?module.
In agreement withmy supervisor and client, the project to be completed was an application foronline web, desktop or mobile called “Employment outcome”.??I wasrequired to spend a total of 150 hour completing the web application andreporting my progress on weekly logs. Employment outcome is?an?application?to?beused by students, employers and placement officers.
I was given the ‘postplacement’ section of the application. The requirements included adding abackend alongside the frontend for the application and for theapplicants to use and report on their action plan and postplacement forms. My initial reaction when I was given thejob description was one of frustration because of the workload but aftersome?deliberation?I understood this was a major?opportunity?for me to developmy skills from various modules and classes and implement them in a workrelated environment with standards and deadlines.
This application hadrelevance to my BSc Computer science course where I studied Data structures,Databases and currently distributed system which will help me utilize my skillseven further. ? My aim was to produce an interactiveweb application that could be used by students and employers to report theirexperience and I also wanted to utilize SQL database to meet theclient’s requirements for a backend management systemto help maintain and manage the information submitted.?Thecentral focus of this web application was usability to users withrelatively little technical expertise. I had to incorporate?theinformation and?forms for the component given to?me by my client.?I made mymind up on the way I was going to approach it which was?use?differenttechnologies and software engineering methods to create a comprehensiveapplication to both provide a user-friendly front-end and efficient back endfor collection, storing and analyzing data input. ? LO1: Demonstrates/he can operate effectively as an independent learner in a supervised workenvironment, including the selection and application of appropriate methods andprocedures to required tasks.
I believe I had set myself in a goodposition to now fully emerge myself in learning web development to an expertlevel in the coming years and using the appropriate methods todo so because of this experience. I also believe my supervisorand teacher will take the evidence provided in the form of myweb application and without hesitation agree that Ihave operated a thrived in a work environment and applied myselffully by implementing a wide range of web technologies to a good level tocreate a dynamic front-end alongside finding a innovative solution to creating a backenddatabase LO2: communicateappropriately with colleagues and superiors.? Inany working environment may that be for a freelance company or majormultinational company such as Microsoft or in any industry, communicationis held in high priority and is a skill which is highly sought after anddeemed a requirement amongst employees. Developingmy communication skills amongst my peers and superiors was a big objective ofmine prior to starting the module but during the module I understood furtherthe importance in having a dialogue with your friend or peer about the work youare attempting to complete. I had numerous conversations with my client relatedto the application I was developing for her, communication between us twoprovided me with clarity of what is expected of me and provided my clientclarity & assurance of the stage I am at and the understanding ofwork.
In mypersonal experience avoiding an unpleasant situation is easier if you do thelegwork up front and have a constant dialogue with your client to make sure youare making the correct choices with the application you take on. Communicationwith my supervisor and client in this module allowed me to identify my goalsand scope of the application which in turn enabled me to make an applicationwhich fitted my client’s requirements. Duringthe course of this module I learnt valuable knowledge that one of the mostimportant factors to consider when handed a project is the client andpeers you will be working with and keeping constant communication to establishthe information, direction and approvals to avoid any confusion. Me and myclient have been in constant communication and I did a demonstration of the webapplication where she gave me positive feedback and some minor tasks todo.
LO3: describe andevaluate the structure, major activities and responsibilities ofthe?organization. Thiswas one learning objective I didn’t fully achieve and didn’t grasp. Iunderstood the responsibilities placed upon me by my client,including time span. Understandingthe structure and responsibilities of the organization is valuable incompleting work but I misunderstood some of my responsibilities at the startwhen I was given the project to complete, I had to clarify which activities Ihad to complete and then I understood I had to do the post placement section ofthe application. This is one learning objective I hope to improve in upcomingmonths and look at case examples of different organizations and report theirstructures and responsibilities.? LO4: Demonstrate his/heranalytical and advanced problem solving skills related to the subject Problem solving and analyticalskills are important when taking part in a work environment or developingan application as it requires overcoming problems you may come across in yourweb development process which the chances are high especially in web developmentwhere coding has to be changed and improved consistently. Problem solvingrequires analytical and creative skills.
Analytical skills are useful infinding the best alternative solution when encountering a problem where thereare many possible causes and have to be identified and analyzed. I came torealize in this module that developing these mental skills are vital insucceeding in a web development environment may that be freelance or workingfor a major company with a team. Being innovative and creative in webdevelopment is a big positive and these two factors go conjointly with problemsolving 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 databasemanagement. I went into this web application project with a clear mind aboutthe web technologies I was going to use for front end and back end butduring implementation stages problems started occurring and I had to useproblem solving skills to identify and find solutions in implementing new codefor my web application to have the desired effect.
I was happy with my progress and considered the forms complete as itincluded a modern interface seen in established websites. I then tried to linka PHP form which contained a database connection which was queried but whenI refreshed the page CSS styling was discarded and it was basic HTMLcode. Hours were spent trying to fix this problem but using analyticalskills it helped me find a solution which was inserting the CSS stylingcode in the actual HTML page and not in a separate Cascading Style sheet it waslinked to. ? LO5: Evaluatecritically her/his performance and abilities and plan for their improvement.? Self-improvementis a natural instinct outside of study, in any project I start I amto implement it to the best of my ability and set up a wide range oftesting methods across differentmodules to look for errors and eradicate them. Testing in web developmentis a major factor in point out defects and errors made in development stages thusproviding a foundation to improving the website. I hadto critically test my web app and document my finding.
I used many testingtechniques to find issues and bugs which may affect the usability oraccessibility of my website. A hefty section of mytime expenditure went into testing and documentation on how toimprove on the errors found. I usedthese 5 testing methods for the employability web app 1. FunctionalityTesting 2. Usabilitytesting 3. Interfacetesting 4. Compatibilitytesting 5.
Performancetesting I didfunctionality testing to test all my web pages, forms, links and database. Itested the response time of each page as statistics show 40% of users will exita page if it is not loaded within 3 seconds, I had to insure for accessibilitypurpose each page and the links responded in less than 2 seconds, which theydid. The next functionality test was the validation of my forms anddatabase testing. I had to check in the PHP file to see if I queried mydatabase right and test My SQL for data integrity errors while updating,deleting and inserting data from tables. Iundertook usability testing to evaluate mywebsite to ensure it had a smooth navigation and goodcontent to appeal to the users by using different users withdifferent level of understanding regarding websites andcomputing skills to use the website. I gained qualitative insight into any usertroubles. This was followedby interface testing to test the front end of the application.
I alsocompleted compatibility testing and tested my application to see if it wascompatible on different browsers and phones which it was. The most importanttest I completed was performance testing, web load testing and stress testingon different internet speeds and insuring it has a quick load time to meet theusers demands.Thesetesting methods gave me insight to what I didn’t implement and/or what I didimplement and to what standard before the website was launched. Challenges? ? Challenges were ever present whilstcompleting the web application and meeting theclients?demand. Time management was a major issue because of the manyconsecutive?coursework’s?I had to?complete in the same time span of theapplication.
?? I usednumerous tools and software to help with the application development and timemanagement. This helped me estimate time and resources to accomplish my tasks.When a client hands me a project time expenditure is the first thingon my mind. The client gave me a time scale not vice versa which wasdifficult considering employees/freelances in web design state the time scale,but I had to take into consideration this module is about developing my skillsand meeting learning objectives. I had to take into account time forplanning, development, implementation and testing. The biggest challenge Ifaced is I didn’t have a team to hand out responsibilities to, I had to do allthe stages of the web application myself which was difficult.
Embedding web technologiestogether was?difficult especially because of the lack of resources.Linking or inserting a different?language in the source?code?was?a difficultprocess because each language had a different code/process in embedding itamongst HTML or CSS.?? ? Embedding PHP & CSS stylingwas the biggest difficulty for me because I knew the?importance of?CSS?had onthe front-end of the web app in terms of usability, visualization and stylingof the pages and I knew I had to include PHP as it had valuable facilitieswhich made it compatible with various types of databases which was needed torecord and manage the data as the client required. The HTML code was done well and I felt asif I had a great structure to my website including the layout, navigationand?divisions?but CSS was challenging when taking into consideration itsimportance and knowing it is hugely responsible for the?vitalization?of yourpages.?Specifically?imposing a?color?theme throughout the pages was adifficulty because of the different divisions and margins in the pages andvarious element, an example is when I was creating my forms there weredifferent types of data e.
g. Date or Text, a date would consist ofa?calendar?and Text would consist of a normal text boxwhich meant changing the CSS stylesheet to incorporate your design.? Testingthe application was daunting and time consuming using various techniques andtargeting components, usability testing, and competitive analysis. Themore experience you have the more you save unnecessary expenses and time,unfortunately in my case I do not have much experience nor expertise in webdevelopment so the process was time consuming.
Conclusion?? Theweb application that was implemented and concluded to be the final version wasa web application which had a user login as the index page and a home page withlinks to social media accounts and three pages; post placement student reviewform, action plan form and contact us form. All these forms have backendfunctionality and all date entered is collected. The application was presentedto the client and the feedback was positive.
? The whole experience was a relatively newone too me but a hugely beneficial one as predicted prior to starting themodule. The experience in a working environment was invaluable in ajourney of self-improvement. I got a sense of the real world, the demandsof clients, the pressure?involved?the skills needed to succeed?in a workingenvironment. I thought the environment I was put in?duringthis project was important to my development academically as I development myskill level in all programming languages and most importantly learntto apply it in agreement with my clients demands.