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Software engineering capstone projects demonstrate hands-on development experience

 

Diving in and developing a good idea takes confidence. Purdue Computer Science students possess that trait in abundance. Pursuing a capstone project is a completion marker for students’ coursework. In the Department of Computer Science, CS 40700 (Software Engineering Senior Project) is the capstone course which offers a hands-on development experience to seniors in the software engineering track of the computer science major.

Students use the knowledge, skills, processes, and tools that they have learned throughout their college career in a final professional project meant to solve a problem by creating a software solution.

The course instructor is Professor H.E. Dunsmore, along with graduate student teaching assistants (TAs); Eliz Tekcan, Tulika Sureka, Sripath Mishra, and Disha Dudhal, guide the teams to achieve a level of quality the industry expects of professional software engineering projects. TAs also help the students by using their knowledge of real-world software development practices. Each serves as the project coordinator for 4-5 teams, helping teams to formulate a design, implementation, and project plan. 

Eliz Tekcan also serves as head TA, coordinating five teams, while also mentoring and guiding the other teaching assistants. Every team is comprised of four to six students, this semester’s class consisted of 87 students, in teams of four to six, for a total of 18 teams. 

“This is my favorite part of the semester,” said Tekcan, “because we get to see how hard they worked on their final projects.” She added, “The projects we recognize at the end of the year always involve a well-communicating team developing every facet of their project, as well as technically skilled students putting their ideas into action.”

One of the benefits of capstone projects is to have another opportunity to create a long-term project with the help of others. Undergraduate, Razan Alkawai, said, "We used our previous experiences in classes as much as possible. Most of our team had good frontend experience from CS 30700 and internships. She added, “I had more backend experience, so our group divided the work based on our expertise. With frequent communication, we were able to complete our tasks efficiently."

Project work like these capstones can prepare a student for a future position. Seung Heon Lee said, "While working on our project, we learned the importance and power of planned documentation and deadlines.” He added, “The design documentation with the UI prototype enabled us to execute the same design style throughout the whole application. This experience of working with the standardized format will help us to provide high-quality future applications more stably."

 

 

 

 

Four teams from CS 40700 were identified by the instructors for demonstrating excellent quality and coding.

 

Snowdrop

Ramya Mandyam Anandampullai, Razan Fouad Alkawai, Seung Heon Lee, and Jihyun Pyun created a plant care app that provides its users with general plant care information from a growing database based on the USDA plant API. The app allows users to track water times, sunlight exposure, and outside temperature exposure if they log information regularly. Existing plant care apps have premium paywalls and do not allow access to all features in one self-contained app. Tulika Sureka, graduate teaching assistant, served as the project coordinator for Snowdrop.
Snowdrop was designed to address that using an intuitive interface and free-to-access features. The app also provides an in-app community section for users to exchange advice and ask questions. 
Ramya Mandyam Anandampullai said, “The software principles we learned from CS30700 and past internships have taught us how to work efficiently in groups.” She added, we've also had experience in the technologies we used, which helped us develop features quicker, understand the time constraints required for each task better, and hence plan out the whole app in an efficient manner."

 

Boiler LiftUp 

Pooja Bhasker, Lucas Cope, Vaibbavi Senthil Kumar, Anisha Sinha, and Harim Song created an app that aims to combine various aspects of fitness into one platform. The app allows users to meet all of their fitness needs such as suggested workouts, nutrition tracking, stat tracking, as well as social networking. Sripath Mishra, graduate teaching assistant, served as the project coordinator for Boiler LiftUp.
This app was specifically built for Purdue students who are trying to start lifting weights or continue on their fitness journey. After having their own experiences with multiple fitness apps, the Boiler LiftUp team was inspired to create a new app that helps students keep a comprehensive record of all things fitness. 
Boiler LiftUp also helps students connect to find their gym buddies. Anisha Sinha said, "Boiler LiftUp was created to reignite a passion for fitness and health within the Purdue community while also promoting opportunities to connect socially with other students.”

 

HackerTime

Sukriti Rai, Qiren Zhao, Erpan Abuduwaili, Chunao Liu, and Hadrien Billaud created a web application that minimizes the steps interviewers must take while setting up technical interviews. Interviewers have to set up sites like Zoom and HackerRank, which require numerous steps. HackerTime includes the video and coding environments all on one site. This site also includes a quick and lightweight setup. Disha Dudhal served as the project coordinator.
“Our team identified a problem students can face, and we used skills learned throughout our time here at Purdue to develop a solution,” said Hadrien Pierre Billaud.
With the focus on minimization, simplicity, and taking some suggestions from actual interviewers, the HackerTime team designed this app to make the common interview process much smoother. “It’s still amazing when I look back at where we started, and how our ideas sprouted from a concept to actual software,” said Chunao Liu.

 

inSites

Chris Koehne, Ruoyang Ye, Tom Appenzeller, Rohan Shankar, Jackson Oriez, and Dion Peng created a feature for social media sites that provides users with statistics on their account usage, similar to a feature based on Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature. inSite provides statistics catered towards each social media, even providing the option for data to be stored and assessed over time. Head TA, Eliz Tekcan, served as the project coordinator for inSites.
Team member, Tom Appenzeller, said, “Additional features like multi-factor authentication and OAuth identity verification provide a layer of security to the user.” He added, "With social media presence becoming an integral part of society, providing an objective perspective on someone's online appearance can be incredibly useful.”

Writer: Cole Crider, cridern@purdue.edu

Source: Eliz Tekcan, etekcan@purdue.edu

 

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