We have a guest blogger for our latest post! Nathaniel Read is a first year Computer Science BSc student who’s been working part time with the team as one of our student testers. Here’s his story:
Over the last few weeks I’ve been invited to work in the SIS office on the Fees, Funds and Finance strand of the SITS suite at the University of Hull.
Before starting at the office, we met up for a Quiz Night with the team which was great, allowing me to put names to faces and meet different people before I came in. After previously working remotely with the team, this week it’s been great working with them more.
My work so far has focussed around Clearing and ensuring the system is ready to go live and includes all the Business Functionality for one of the University’s busiest admissions periods in late August. Clearing Enquiries as a system encompasses everything from managing calls and creating enquiries to following students through and converting enquirers to undergraduate students and managing them up until enrolment in September.
It has also included the Fees, Funds and Finance System which comes into service on the 31st July 2018 to manage all student incoming funds for tuition and accommodation payments from next year onwards. This is moving over from our legacy system, and will ensure our students get their bursaries, loan payments correctly and can make payments to the University efficiently.
Working through user stories – which are what end users would do with the system, an example being “as a Finance Administrator I would like to see all application deposit payments and sponsored applicants that are awaiting review, and be able to mark them as accepted once offline payment has been received or if a valid sponsor letter has been provided”, I need to go through the story and test if the functionality works and gives the outcome that is expected so it’s ready to use for the end user.
If the tests pass and I get the expected outcome, I can mark the project as ready to be deployed (introduced to the Live environment) and assign it back to the product owner (person who takes responsibility for that part of the development) who ensures it is sent out. If the tests however fail, I document what errors have happened, how to reproduce and the development team correct them and return the project to me to retest.
It’s been great with the responsibility I’ve got in this role and it feels like I’m making a real difference to students with the work I do as I know everything I test is used for my own academic progression and management and as a student I see the other side of what I’m testing and experience as an end user. I’ve enjoyed working with the team in the office and it’s been especially beneficial to be able to communicate with people and discuss the intricacies of the system by just popping to speak to a developer or product owner at their desk.
As someone who focusses mostly on time developing software, it has been invaluable seeing development from the user’s perspective and it has helped me to develop my own software more intuitively and think more about the user’s experience moving through.
Dr Neil Gordon, Head of Computer Science, who worked with us to recruit the student testers, commented, “from a School perspective, it is great to see how our students have been able to utilise their course – and develop further skills – carrying out some real-world software development for the university, and to see how it has helped to develop own understanding about software development and users’ needs.”
It is, of course, also beneficial for the SIS team to have the students working alongside them in the office.
Programme Manager, Barry Storey remarked “It’s really helped us have the students on hand to discuss the intricacies of the system as we finalise the development and they test it for us. We’ve been really impressed with their knowledge, capability and dedication.”
You can read more about Nathaniel, his studies and his experiences on his blog.