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Hi everyone,

it’s James here writing my final solo internship blog – how has time flown by so fast?? It’s strange to think that our time here is drawing to a close, but today I’ll be looking back over everything myself and Pamoja has been up to over April.

As I look back over the blog posts I’ve written I notice a general trend – reporting. From our customer support and ticketing system, to our SQL Databases, I’ve created and delivered reports across multiple systems to a myriad of users. However, there has always been a common feature – I’ve had little input in the backend structure. Let me explain what I mean;

Normally when I am given a report to create, the data behind the report is packaged and ‘shipped’ to me in a structured format with clear table and column names – all its missing is a bow on top. It’s quite easy to take this data and use it to create nice looking reports. However, with my limited time remaining at Pamoja I want to get as much experience as possible, which means moving away from just using the already nicely packaged data and diving into the database and getting it myself (gulp).

Writing my own stored procedures to retrieve and package my own data was very new territory for me as my SQL writing skills needed (and probably still need) some training. However, it was extremely rewarding to write my own working stored procedures that used our reporting database to grab data from different places and bundle it together in a neat(ish) package. I then used this package to create and deploy reports on our internal reporting portal to serve internal users. While I enjoyed having the data ‘spoon-fed’ to me, it has been immensely informative and rewarding to complete the whole process myself from; writing a procedure to packaging the data – using the data in a report – deploying this report online. Big thanks to Bill McDonald for his patience in showing me the ropes of writing my own SQL procedures, it wasn’t always smooth sailing but the challenge is part of the fun!

As a further test to my new SQL skills, I was given an SQL query (a bit of code which will return some data) and asked to firstly adapt it into a stored procedure so it can be called at any time, and then to use it to create an online report. This was a good challenge as it pulled together a lot of things that I’d been working on (since I started this reporting project) and the new skills I’d just attained.

In addition to taking on a more backend development focused role, I’ve also been working creating some visualisation of important documentation – namely the Pamoja Student Lifecycle. There are a lot of different factors and dates which determine what place along the lifecycle a student is and how their status may differ to another student. I’ve been working on demystifying this process by drawing up a clean and clear lifecycle timeline – it’s great to have documents containing all of the different lifecycle terms ect, but people respond well to pictures! When this is finished it will provide more clarity on lifecycle terms and lifecycle steps.

I’d hate to talk about myself for the entire post, so I’ll go over what’s been going on with Pamoja! April has been a great month for food as there have been two Pamoja lunch buffets. These lunches are a great way to have a chat with everyone and relax for an hour, not to mention sample a lot of the abundant food. Having one buffet lunch in a month is a treat, but having two is just spoiling us! A massive thanks (from everyone) go to fellow intern and blog writer Emilie and to Jess for organising these top-notch events. But that’s not all! There are some great things on the horizon, such as the culture buffet with food from around the world and a mini-golf trip – I’m a pretty bad golfer, but that’s a fore-gone conclusion (I apologize now for that awful golf pun).

I hope you enjoyed reading about what’s been going on in April, it’s been quite a busy and rewarding month – I look forward to seeing you all in a few!

James – Pamoja Intern Programme, BA Computer Science Undergraduate at Oxford Brookes University

 

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