Oregon State University|blogs.oregonstate.edu
Blog Owner
Morgan Kandula

Category: Uncategorized

Blog Post #4 – Tips & Tricks

  May 18th, 2023

Welcome back readers! I’m here writing my final post on my capstone project and I hope you are excited to hear about it. We are nearing week seven of ten and our project is really starting to take shape, at least for me it is. My progress has been a lot slower than I had hoped in the beginning, so let’s talk about what to do when stuck on an issue.

Surprisingly, I have not been as stuck trying to solve a new problem as I have been stuck waiting on technology. Let me explain: our project involved a database stored in MS SQL Server on a computer owned by our project sponsor (it is not hosted on any server anywhere). To access the database, we must virtually access said computer with a software called TeamViewer. Another team of undergraduate students is also working on the project in Oregon and one of the students got so frustrated with this setup and it not working that they actually went and borrowed the computer from our sponsor. At this point in the project, I completely understand why they did that! But, I do not live in Oregon so that has not even remotely been an option for me. Instead, I have been learning to practice patience while waiting for TeamViewer to load up and connect – ie going to grab a coffee while I wait or playing a little game of tug with my pup. And I think this experience has also taught me to be a better communicator with near-strangers that might be working on adjacent projects that affect me.

Okay, now that my rant is over (hah) I will tell you a bit about how I learn new things. I guess I’m still pretty old-school and hesitant to trust technology such as chatGPT while learning and developing new skills, so I generally stick to good “old-fashioned” google searches. When learning a new technology, I will usually find the website dedicated to that technology (ie the Tableau website for this project) and search around for demo and training videos/documents that they have. Then I will move on to specific searches online like “how to modify a filter in Tableau” to expand my understanding. When I need some inspiration in solving a specific task, I will do a few things. I might go to my whiteboard and try to draw out my problem to see if visualization will help me solve it. Or I might go to google and search for something like “how to create a new view in Microsoft SQL Server” because it is some task that I have not yet completed before and need a little guidance.

All in all, this project has been a great experience in patience and learning new things. I can’t wait to see how things turn out and I am finally picking up steam! Thanks for sticking around with me as I have written about my journey. Tata!

Read the post...

Blog Post #3 – The Journey

  May 4th, 2023

Well hello there readers! Nice to greet you again. We’re about halfway through the course and halfway through our project. My partner is killing it with his Tableau experience and has already delivered a dashboard that our client has stated is good enough to call our project. 😂 But nevertheless, we soldier on to do even better!

Our team is using Discord to chat, Zoom to meet with our sponsor, and Trello to track our progress and so far this all seems to be working out well. We’ve dealt with some technical difficulties on calls from week to week, but overall seem to be communicating well and getting the work done. The project management tool we chose was trello because it is free and easy to use, but in my opinion it is lacking in one way. The free version does not allow us to see a timeline of our tasks and I would really prefer to have that visualization.

I think our team is following our standards and project plan pretty well and jiving overall. My part of the project is to improve the loading times of the queries that feed the dashboard visualizations… I think that if the methods I am attempting work as well as my research shows, we should see success on all aspects of our project. The only issue we are running into is difficulty getting into the SQL database and loading things on my current device. But this is merely slowing me down, I do not think it is a showstopper.

Stay tuned for the next (and final !!) post in the series as we make our way to program completion.

Read the post...

Blog Post #2 – Project Technologies

  April 19th, 2023

So a quick update before we get in too deep: I’ve been assigned a partner, and we were assigned to the project “Update Tableau Data-Sorting and Data-Viewing Dashboard for climate change experiment” for TERA. A quick recap on what this project is: TERA is not-for-profit research foundation that was both formed by and is still managed by Dr. Jillian Gregg. The foundation was initially formed to conduct research on warming of grassland climates for the EPA. They collected data on symmetric and asymmetric warming for 10 years in 12 different terracosms. Now they are seeking support with visualizing their findings for publication purposes.

A few groups of students have come before us and started the support that TERA needs. The very firsts group chose Tableau as the software for visualizing the data, so that is where we will be continuing the improvements. Basically, the technologies that we will use were decided before the project started: data is stored in Microsoft SQL Server database, and is currently being visualized in Tableau.

We will continue to use these technologies for those purposes: database and data visualization. But we are considering optimizations on how they are used. For example, there are ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) options for connecting directly from SQL Server to Tableau. Previous students instead wrote custom SQL queries to export data into CSV files, then manually combined them into one giant table of data, and finally loaded that into Tableau. The dashboard is now struggling to show significant amounts of data on most computers, which is not helpful.

There are alternatives for databasing and data visualization, but as a team we did not even discuss these because the negative effect of change technologies would be too great a cost for TERA to learn and understand. Instead, we will be working with the current environment and doing everything we can to improve it.

Happy Coding y’all!

Read the post...

Round 2 – Post #1

  April 4th, 2023

Hello again! Last quarter I started out with this course, but realized (just in time) that it was my last chance to take Mobile Software Development and switched courses in the first week. Now I have all my core classes and electives out of the way and will be devoting this quarter to the capstone project entirely.

So, without further ado, welcome to my Capstone blog round two! To explain why I chose Computer Science as my second degree, let’s talk a bit about my history. My first bachelor’s is in Operations Management and that led me to the world of supplier development, change management, and more recently product data management (all within automotive industry). I learned pretty quickly on that while I do like operations, I much prefer the technical side of data management and chose CS as my route to that technical world.

The projects I chose on the survey were all related to my personal interests of environmental issues and/or travel to help motivate me to do my best possible work on the project. I then tried to prioritize based on my skills that I have and want to develop. So the Tableau Climate Data project came first where I hope to build my SQL, database management, and data visualization skills even more. The next few projects I chose intersect environment and mobile applications.

From my project, I hope to experience delivering a complex project from start to finish. This should help me to grow in whichever technology project I am assigned (database, mobile app, both). From this course, I hope to continue my experience path in working on a team to complete a computer science project from start to finish.

From a group-work perspective, I tend to see myself mostly as a planner/organizer. I will step up to lead if necessary, but I am always happy to be a contributor without leading as well. Before completing this program, I generally dreaded group projects as there always seemed to be at least one member that did not pull their weight… But so far at OSU, I have had a very refreshing group work experience in all of my classes. So I expect this trend to continue and look forward to working with my team over the next 10 weeks.

Well then, it’s nice to meet you! And I look forward to completing this journey with you over the next three months. Talk to you next time!

Read the post...

Week #1

  January 10th, 2023

Welcome to my Capstone blog! It’s the first week of the quarter and we’re all getting settled in and ready to start on our projects. I’m hoping for one that will help me grow my skills and show off what I’ve got. My top choices are related to environmental issues which are near and dear to my heart and I hope to use what I learn in this course to develop additional tools to help fight climate change in my future.

After spending a few years in supplier development and change management for the automotive industry , I am ready for a change to a more technical data-management role. Eventually I hope to freelance while raising my kids and traveling the world.

My programming journey started humbly with modifying Microsoft VBA Scripts at work and has since expanded to Python, C, Javascript, SQL, and even Raku, Racket, Ruby, and Prolog thanks to Programming Language Fundamentals. So far my favorite technologies have been SQL and noSQL database management which I have implemented UI’s for with node.JS and REACT applications.

The way I learn best is by doing, so I’ve got high hopes for this quarter and the project I’ll blog about here. You might see me working through an issue by writing about it in my blog or calling up a teammate to talk it through. But my saving grace when I get really stuck is having a perfect partner that knows when to tell me to shut it down, get some rest, and come back tomorrow to review the problem with fresh eyes.

Well then, it’s nice to meet you! And I look forward to completing this journey with you over the next three months. Talk to you next time!

Read the post...


  January 9th, 2023

Hello! My name is Morgan and I am two electives and this capstone away from getting my Computer Science bachelor’s degree. My first degree is in business with a focus on Operation Management and International Business. But after entering the workforce as a Supplier Development Engineer, I quickly realized that programming and data management were where my interests and some talent lie hidden.

I started this program at OSU in the fall of 2019, taking 1 or two classes at a time with a few breaks as I transitioned jobs and am very happy to be nearing the end of this journey so that I can move on to the next one! I’m now a data analyst for a consultancy firm and hoping to be in the new division of programmers when it develops here in the US. I’m passionate about mother Earth, love to travel, experience new places, and eat delicious food when I am not working or programming.

So, let’s see where this new journey takes us! I’ll be posting updates on my capstone project here for all to see and hopefully learn from.

Read the post...