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Advice to Kenyan Computer Science Students on Final Year Projects

· 2 min read

A university student from Kenya recently reached out to me on e-mail to ask for advice on his final year project so I’ve decided to publish the response incase it can help others;

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for reaching out.

Specifically on your computer science project for final year, I doubt it’s changed much but for grades it’s usually less about solving a real problem and more about:

  1. Have you applied what you’ve been taught? Lecturers want to see what they’ve taught in your project. They’ll probably be marking against some specific criteria like use of SQL queries etc. There is no way to be “smart” around this. Don’t use what you’ve seen in the outside tech world. If you want to get a good grade, stick to the lecture’s notes.
  2. Show output. A lot of output and response to action. When something is clicked, say that it’s happening with a log output and let the lecturer/user “see” that something has happened. E.g A DB insert statement should be followed by a log entry or display of “we are saving your data” and finally display the entered data along with other data already in the DB. Also add comments to your code at every stage — it’ll be useful copy later for your documentation.
  3. Excite and surprise. This is the hardest part but also pretty important. Add functionality that would otherwise not be expected and adds a sense of “magic” to the system. For inspiration, look at easter eggs that other tech companies have in their systems. Also, take time on how the user journey begins and ends. You want to make a good first impression, and leave the user with “a good taste in their mouths”.

Otherwise have fun on the project and don’t take yourself too seriously. Whatever you choose, do it well and leave enough time for documentation.

Wishing you all the best

— Lemayian