Alexandria Le's CS100w Blog!

Sharing what I know, while I learn.

Month: November, 2014

Handing Off a Project to a Client: What are the risks and challenges?

As our semester is coming to a close, our CS 180i Website is almost complete and ready to give it back to the client! Our baby has grown into a toddler and into an adult in our very own hands! Well, our website baby. Here’s before and after photos of our home page:

Front_Page_Before Front_Page_First_Draft

Excuse me as I wipe my figurative tears, they grow up so fast! If you want to check out the rest of the website, click here!

Now, handing off this project is not an easy task. We have to teach and show our client how to use it properly. We have to make sure that this website will be okay when we set it free. Basically, in order to have a successful project, the website must be able to run efficiently without us. In the “For Dummy’s Handbook”, it states that when handing a project back to the client: “Put all the materials together and keep them for your records. Too, sometimes clients will come back to you for follow-up work, so having everything from the first project on file and readily accessible will make the follow-up work flow much easier.” So great, now we know: you have to make sure you explain to your client how the website will work and teach them how to maintain it as well as keeping copies for yourself just in case anything goes wrong.

That ties into the risks and challenges involved: What if the client doesn’t know how to use it? What if they don’t like it? What if you and your team have to placed more time to the project even after handing the project off to the client?

How can we prevent these risks and challenges?

  • If the client doesn’t know how to use the project properly, make sure you set up proper time for a training period. This training period will teach the client how to maintain and run the website when we’re away.
  • In order to prevent a sudden dislike over your project, make sure you’re consistently communicating with your client. With Agile methodology, this helps this challenge as well. With consistent communication, your client will have a constant understanding as well as visuals with each deliverable. So that they will know exactly what they are getting by the time they get the entire project back.
  • With proper timelines and sprints, there is no reason why you should be spending any more extra time on the project once you’ve handed it off. With proper management and team skills, your project should be 100% done by the time you give it back!

So, goodbye project! It’s been a good 10 weeks! It’s time to hand you to our client. Our sweat, tears, love, and figurative blood as been placed onto you. Be a good website and bring in the internships!

References

Anyangwe, E. (2012, February 9). HE in FE: Top tips and resources to promote collaboration. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/feb/09/he-in-fe-colleges

How to Hand Off a Project to a Client. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-hand-off-a-project-to-a-client.html

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What Five Technical Skills are Employers Seeking? What Five Soft Skills Put You on Top?

As a computer science student at San Jose State University, eventually I plan to venture the tech world in search of a good career for my future. As I search I know a few things that I need to have in order to find the perfect job for me; I need to be able to have good coding skills as well as people skills. I must be able to confidently complete my work. Most of all, I need to be ready and able to do anything the work place throws at me. But besides that, I need to know the technical and soft skills that will give me that extra edge against my peers (like the ones below)!

What are technical skills exactly? They’re the skills that are related to the job at hand. It is our abilities and capabilities when it comes to the computer and coding itself. It’s the skills that we learn at school today such as coding languages, development methods, hardware, software, and all those technical, on hand goodies. So here’s the top five that employers are seeking for:

  1. Programming Languages
  2. Data Structures
  3. Software and Mobile Designing
  4. Database Management
  5. Data gathering and analysis

Great, so we learn these skills at school and maybe even outside on our own time. But is that all? Grant Gordon, a hiring manager at Intronic Solutions Group states, “Rarely do they want people buried behind the computer who aren’t part of a team,” he says. “They want someone with Java who can also be a team lead or a project coordinator” (Brandel). So the answer is no. Technical skills aren’t the only thing employers are looking for! You could have all the technical skills, but that only makes you half the person that employers are looking for (actually, to be exact 15% percent according to the picture before). They want more, 85% more. Luckily for you, I’ll tell you exactly what the other 85% looks like:

So, that 85% accounts for soft skills. The people skills, the not-coding skills, but also known as the “you” skills. Here are the top five soft skills or “you” skills:

  1. Leadership
  2. Conflict Management
  3. Coaching
  4. Team Player
  5. Decision Making

Essentially, employers are looking for people who are more than just mean, strong coding machines. They want you to be leaders, friendly, and ready to own the work place. In order to be successful, you have to be well rounded, you have to be 15% technical and 85% “you”. As I am getting closer and closer to graduation, I aim to be a full 100% of what employers are looking for. I strive to be a strong competitor against my peers and to be successful within my own working environment and with these skills, I believe that I can one day achieve true sucess.

References

  1. Lethbridge, T.c. (1999). What Knowledge Is Important to a Software Professional? Computer: 44-50. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. Retrieved from http://courses.utep.edu/portals/870/lethbridge_WhatISImportant.pdf
  2. Brandel, M. (2007, July 11). 12 IT skills that employers can’t say no to. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2542247/it-careers/12-it-skills-that-employers-can-t-say-no-to.html
  3. First Image. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/met/files/2009/11/computer-science.jpg
  4. Second Image. Retrieved from http://www.monarch.edu.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/soft-skill-saavy.jpg

Social Media and Branding: CS 180i Website

As my team and I are currently working on our CS 180i Website, we’ve run into a few dilemmas:

  • How do we want to brand ourselves?
  • How can we create our website and turn it into an online social networking place for internships, an online student center?

studentcenterfinal

(Our Website, so far!)

We have had experience with LinkedIn and branding ourselves as professional people to recruiters. However, now we are given the task of finding a brand for our very own website! Before finding out a brand, we have to learn what branding is. According to the dictionary, a brand is an identifiable entity that makes specific promises of value” (Dolak). Okay, now we know what a brand is, now we can get started with finding a brand for us.

With the growth of technology and social media, branding is extremely important. It lets people know who you are and what you can do! For example, on LinkedIn, you want to brand yourself in a way that is fit for future jobs. You even put in your skills and people can endorse them! However, it’s important to have an awesome header, which is another type of “catch phrase” or a tag line for people to remember you by. For example:

“The snack that smiles back! ________!”

Goldfish! I know, you got the answer right, almost everyone does. But why? It is because of branding! So with our CS 180i website, that’s what we want to do! Find a tag line or even an icon that is memorable.

Say Hi! That is Goldfish’s mascot and icon, Finn! We are looking for our very own Finn. We have brainstormed a couple of ideas so far, but nothing concrete unfortunately. Some tag lines that we have thought about are:

  • “Finding the intern in you”
  • “Computer Science in the real world”
  • “Help us, help you find an internship”

So far, we are not loving what we have come up with. Hence, we are still brainstorming, but at least we know what we are aiming for! We are aiming for a brand that is memorable, creates trust in the users, and one that connects to people. Eventually, we hope that our website will even implement using twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to improve our brand on a larger social media scale.

Overall, we want to create a brand that is successful and one that we will always be proud of. Personally, I think this website is going to be a great beginning to our long term careers in Computer Science and a great way to get out there on social media. We are looking for you, our very own Finn, and we will find you!

References:

Dolak, D. (2010, January 1). Building A Strong Brand: Brands and Branding Basics. Retrieved November 4, 2014, from http://www.brandframe.no/files/Fagartikler1_50/36BuildingAStrongBrand.pdf

Mattero, A. (n.d.). How to Leverage Social Media for Effective Business Branding. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from https://blog.shareaholic.com/social-media-business-branding/