STEP Reflection

STEP Reflection

Name: Yifan Song

Type of Project: Undergraduate Research


Brief Description

I have worked as a research assistant in the Center for Aviation Studies at OSU for DV8 project, an interactive data visualization framework for aviation data analysis. My job is mainly programming to make DV8 a MVP (minimum viable product).

What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed?

This is a good chance for me to practice learned skills and gain new ones. As a double-major student of computer science and data analytics, the focus of this research is exactly related to my majors so that I can apply what I’ve learned from class into a real project. The research also serves as the first outside-class experience for me to discover its difference with in-class learning in my field. From the research, I found myself very interested in doing this kind of practical project and wished to continue apply what I’ve learned in the future. I have also learned how to work professionally and efficiently, more specifically, agile programming, in a team which prepare myself for more advanced industrial or academic project. In addition, I have understood the importance of self-study and enhanced this kind of ability.

What events, interactions, relationships, or activities led to the change/transformation, and how did those affect you?

During this research, I have realized how “good coding” would boost the whole project. For example, I didn’t pay so much attention with the variable names and code comments which led to troubles in reading my code for other team members and even for myself afterwards. Another good-coding is to divide a long piece of code into small pieces of modules so that debugging and modifications would be much easier. All these coding tips have been taught on class but I had never felt the power of them until this research.

I have learned not only programming skills but also how to work professionally for a team project including time managing, task assigning and priority deciding. Making backups is also crucial in a big project: I once broke the server of our project and used the backup to recover it. However, it would be a catastrophe if the backups were not there or updated. I then realized that working habits may sometimes determine the final result of a research.

One of the most impressive finding for me is the significance of self-study. Most of my tasks during the research are not related or directly related to what I had learned. I first have to learn and practice new programming languages or libraries by myself to complete my task. I thought this was because my lack of knowledge and experience but it turns out to be a normal situation for everyone after I consulted my professor and senior teammates. Learning skill is always more important than the knowledge itself.

Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

The above understandings and transformations are invaluable not only for my academic or professional development but also for my whole life. Good coding and working habits which increase my efficiency and reliability are helpful in future academic and professional path. These skills can be repeatedly used in different jobs and positions. Moreover, understanding the difference between in-class knowledge and out-class usage will directly affect my study in the following two years. I will focus more on why and how, the concept and methodology of a learning, instead of simply memorizing the text. Nowadays, what really offers an advantage is the skill of study as there is an unlimited and keep-updating amount of knowledge which can never be learned completely.


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