Learning new skills

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So, we’re just about half way in to the first semester and after enjoying a blissful reading week at home, it’s back to working hard. YAY!

It’s now getting close to the holiday break and everyone’s getting excited to go home. No one however is excited about the amount of deadlines scattered across our advent calendars.

So far I’ve had about three assessments. One of which was a midterm for the Financial Reporting course unit. I gained an A in A-level Accounting, so was a little bit complacent when it came to revising for this test, however I achieved 60% in it, although I know in myself that I could have got higher. A valuable lesson learnt, just in time before the January exams.

The other two assessments have been to present a pitch. I really enjoy giving presentations, especially when the topics they are based on are of interest to me. Both presentations were presented in teams and we all received excellent feedback on our presentation skills.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been practicing our technical skills in labs. We have been mainly practising programming in Visual Basic, creating websites, and also creating and manipulating relational databases. We have two pieces of assessed coursework due at the beginning of December. One of our tasks is to design and implement a cash till program for a chemist. The program is required to perform a range of functions, such as calculate VAT on products, maintain stock levels and to reorder products etc.

For the other piece of coursework, we are required to build a relational database that reflects the dynamic of a university and its library. It will store information about students, staff etc, as well as library items. We then need to create a variety of queries written in SQL to retrieve required information from multiple tables in the relational database.

All of these skills we are picking up will complement other course units we are taking, such as the Integrative Team Project. In this unit we have been set a real world problem by Jaguar Land Rover to which we have to design and create a web-based application. We have spent so far going through the waterfall cycle, designing all aspects of our proposed application on paper. Next semester is when we shall create the actual application.

Despite the workload, I am still very excited to go home for the holidays and have only one plan for my time there. To relax and take it easy. I am returning to Manchester late on New Year’s Eve, hopefully in time to catch the party with friends who are returning too. After that I shall be taking up residency in John Rylands library in preparation for the January exams.

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