My Biggest Success During This Course

I would say that this project provided me with the most immersive team experience I’ve had in the entire program. I got a lot of hands-on experience, not just in web development, but also in teamwork, communication, and real world problem-solving While I had glimpses of collaboration in previous classes like databases or Software Engineering I, those projects involved just one partner and were relatively small in scale, leaving me feeling somewhat independent. However, working on this project was incredibly rewarding as we engaged with real industry partners with genuine needs.

Throughout the project, we encountered various challenges, from troubleshooting setup issues to defining user stories, investigating and refining inherited code, and establishing development standards for long-term consistency. I found myself taking on somewhat of a Scrum Master role, guiding the team in defining project requirements and focusing on actionable tasks that contributed to the overall project goals.

Interestingly, my biggest personal challenge wasn’t coding; it was learning to navigate system configuration issues. Troubleshooting these issues proved to be far more frustrating than learning React or exploring new libraries. Each team member had unique system configurations, which meant I often had to tackle problems that others didn’t encounter. However, overcoming these challenges made me feel like a more proficient developer, as it required me to delve deeper into the intricacies of system configurations and find my own solutions.

Working with React

So, over the course of this Capstone project, building a visualization tool for Fire/EMS professionals, the primary technology my team and I have been using is the React Javascript framework. It’s a powerful JavaScript library used for building user interfaces by breaking down pieces of a webpage into ‘components’, giving them characteristics and capabilities and passing them around the logic of your code like functions. This makes making code modular and reusable fairly easy and intuitive because that mentality is baked right into the framework’s design philosophy. In general, it’s been fun to learn how to use because it’s so widely adopted in the industry and I’d been meaning to spend more time with it.

In our project, React is used on the client-side to create dynamic and interactive visualizations for the end-users. So far, extending the previous team’s work has not been too difficult, though there have been some growing pains with learning how to make certain libraries play nicely together.

I’m sure there’s easy ways to do this but it would be nice to know exactly how React is implementing vanilla Javascript under the hood and how the DOM is being manipulated, at least for my own sense of understanding and competence. So far, we haven’t used any other tools in the general React ecosystem, like Redux or any complex CSS tools like Tailwind but we may in the future. Overall though, I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to work as part of a team on this project and with this particular piece of technology.