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In this student blog by BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing and Security student AJ Cox, she gives an account of the preparations involved in first year computing event Computing in Business. This week long event for first year Computing and Informatics students involves them being given a brief to create a computing system for use by businesses and then working in a team to produce that system before it is assessed and scored by industry experts and academics. The winning team will have the opportunity to apply for a placement with JP Morgan.

Monday

The first day was full of anticipation, meeting some of the team for the first time, being given our full brief and finding out who exactly we would be interviewing. On the interim between the 9am brief and interviews starting at 1pm, we (like many other groups) thought “lets go to Dylan’s student bar!”. We got food and sat down trying to figure out what interview questions we could add to our list. The interviews were probably the most fun part of the week for me, conducting and writing notes about their jobs trying to refine our requirements for Tuesday’s 12pm deadline!

Tuesday

More focus went into creating our diagrams and requirements, teaching part of our group how to do data flow diagrams and user stories was a challenge but we managed to make the 12pm deadline with 20 minutes to spare! The actual requirements weren’t released until 2pm and so we started work on the website interface to have at least the building blocks of HTML before we needed to sit and discuss what the new requirements wanted from us and where we needed to go from there in our code, in our paperwork and what exactly was going on! This was our planning day.

Wednesday

Our first day of full coding, this presented its own set of challenges as our group only had two strong programmers in the needed languages and we had only 5 members show up for most of the day! I managed to get a log-in system up and running where it checks the username and password then if correct, the role of the employee for the later redirection. We however faced many issues with Repl.it, the online interface we were using – it would not let us link pages no matter how hard we tried and researched.

 

Thursday

The pressure was on, deadline is 5pm and we had a meeting with our SCRUM leader at 4:40pm – we needed everything done and handed in by 4:30pm and to make it more complicated there were two more absent members for the first part of the day! It was a whole race against time. I had already spent the night prior completing all the websites HTML and putting them together – attempting to implement some JavaScript. That was the focus of the day – get as much coding done as possible while the sub-team finished up the paperwork side and made posters.

Friday – The Exhibition

This was the final day; everything was not going to plan, we were stressed! The markers waited at the front with clipboards. The time had come, we set up, prepared everyone on what the code meant, ran through our paperwork and wished for a nice first marker. Anxious, we hovered around our stand. They came, they chatted – it was a nice marker! The presenting team came back with smiles of relief, after that it flew. All worries subsided, we knew we had this! We had fun and the week of stressing was finally over, we took our group photo and disbanded for our well-earned naps!

What I enjoyed most about CiB was applying the interview techniques I’ve learned over the years as a student ambassador into a real-life context with genuine employees. Then following up those interviews to create a set of thorough business requirements, it gives a fun insight into how the typical 9-5 office life is on a developer’s side of the company. The hardest challenges to overcome was the ability of our group with HTML and JS, and absent members, a group of few strong programmers and people not showing up with no contact was difficult to overcome as it put us behind schedule and essentially understaffed us. We had to just push through and keep working to the best of our ability – we had a deadline to meet after all! For the future of this course it’s really helped us get into group work mindsets, each year has a group work unit but not as intense as this one. It’s helped consolidate the skills we’ve learned across all modules of this year’s semesters and put them into a practical use. For employment I think it shows the real life issues that can come up in teamwork and we gain critical skills on learning how to overcome these and getting on with the work in the foreground when necessary as well as learning how to correctly address these issues within the team.

We may not have done the best out of all the groups, but we did our best and had fun while doing it.

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