Live IT projects 2023 in students’ words
We’ve been participating in the Live IT Projects as mentors for 8 years. Nevertheless, this project can still positively surprise us. Sometimes with the drive of students to complete the work to 110 percent, other times with creativity in preparing presentations. And sometimes with how well people get motivated by an approaching deadline ?
Live IT Projects are a unique compulsory subject of final year students at the Department of Computers and Informatics at FEI TUKE. As part of that, at the beginning of the semester they choose a real programming problem and then work on its solution together with specialists from companies for 4 months. In this way, they combine the theoretical skills acquired in school with practice and, in addition, learn to plan effectively, because they develop according to the Scrum methodology.
This year at bart, we mentored 3 projects divided between 15 students. Each group was led by two Bartans. Programmers Dominik, Martin and Viktor provided technical support and Romana, Mirka and Monika, acting as product owners, looked at the project as the final customer. We wanted students to experience even more authentic Scrum in this way and get feedback on their work from multiple sources. And what have we developed together? All sorts of practical stuff.
1. Colour mixer
The author of this topic is a former “Live IT guy” and today our colleague Dominik. As a programmer, he works on the development of a solution for the multinational company Dejmark, which sells premium paints. Based on this cooperation, he came up with an idea that would save the company’s employees’ time and at the same time increase the accuracy of mixing colors. Students were given the task of creating a mobile application in which an employee inserts the desired color shade. Based on the data from the database, the app then breaks down the color into individual pigments and determines their exact amounts necessary to create the shade.
The topic attracted students with its practical usability as well as the Flutter technology, which we recommended to them for its development: “I wanted to work on something that may have a real use in the future. And I also chose this topic because I’m interested in creating mobile applications,” says student Ivona.
And what did the students learn from the project after 4 months of work? “I’ve learned to work with APIs and, at least in part, build mobile apps. I also got to know the Flutter framework and I improved in teamwork and meeting deadlines,” Miroslav said.
2. Live IT differently
Last year’s finalists Miška and Katka were also invited to the introductory discussion of Bartans on topics related to Live IT Projects. We wanted to know how they chose the topics and we wanted to come up with the most interesting projects thanks to this information. But we learned a lot more. For example, that the choice of the topic itself is technically demanding, requires a lot of communication and it would be advisable to simplify it. So we seized the opportunity and designed the project Live IT differently.
In this case, the task of the students was to develop a logging-in application based on their own experience, which made the distribution of topics for subsequent years of university students more effective. As Marek says: “The biggest motivation for choosing this project was that at the beginning of the semester we didn’t know where to look for the necessary information and we also saw room for improvement in the organization.” In addition, during the creation, future graduates added additional functionalities, such as an overview of all documents related to the project, a communication channel for searching for team members or for mentors to manage teams.
Unfortunately, due to the complexity and shortness of time, we weren’t able to bring the application to such a state that it could be deployed at the university in the next academic year. However, the students are happy because they’ve learned a lot. “I’ve gained more experience with Spring and I’ve found out that working in a team isn’t the easiest thing to do. Everyone may interpret the assignment in their own way, and if it’s not communicated correctly, problems can arise easily. Although there weren’t many of them, sometimes I felt that we were working on a solution alone rather than in a team,” Laura said. “I’ve found that the work of the Scrum Master is more demanding than I originally imagined,” Marek adds with a smile.
Our last project was among this year’s finalists. Scrum master and mentor Mirka came up with its theme. Behind the clever name, she hid an application that’s supposed to help teams estimate the time needed to develop individual tasks when planning work. Therefore, it’s a product that can be used by any IT company operating on Scrum.
This is what helped us the most in mentoring – our company is the primary target group of the application and therefore we were able to really responsibly guide students and tell them what it should contain. “Mirka knew exactly what she wanted in the app and how it should work. She was always willing to meet and help not only with development, but also with the video or the poster. And Martin helped us a lot with the launch of technologies that were new for us. When we didn’t know what to do, he spent time with us sometimes even later in the evening, as part of his free time. They were great!” Michal applauds the cooperation.
We had such a good rapport that the uni students came to test the first prototype of the application straight to us. It was used for planning by our testing team and it provided students with important feedback, thanks to which they perfected the project. What have they learned? “A lot of things when it comes to the technological side. For me, for example, websockets and working with them were a complete novelty. Regular meetings were also an interesting part of the development of the applications, where we presented what we managed to do and agreed on goals. This was new to us, as we haven’t done such a large project from start to finish as a team,” Michal explains.
The result is definitely worth it and the project video will convince you about that:
How would we sum up Live IT Projects 2023? Already at our first meetings, we said that we definitely wanted these students as colleagues! We noticed their responsible approach, team spirit, interest in learning something new and the joy of a job well done. And these are the most important characteristics of a true Bartan for us! So we believe we’ll meet some of them again. First, in an in-person interview and, who knows, maybe even for coffee in our kitchen soon.
We’re already looking forward to what the next year of the project will bring. But we know it will be just more positive surprises.