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Career Path Assignment: Reflection on Personal Development


Task: The aim of your placement is to increase your employability. This is defined as the set of competencies, demonstrated by a combination of knowledge, skills and behaviors, that make individuals more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupation, benefiting themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. The first three Interim Reports encouraged you to reflect on the knowledge, skills and behaviours you have developed, with the fourth shifting the focus to your personal development and how this will help you in future.

You should use your reflections in your previous interim reports to enable you to complete the below career path assignment tasks:

Assessment 1: a) explain what your supervisor has been expected from you in your placement
b) identify the behaviours and standard practices that will be required in your future career
c) were these aspects of the profession new to you or were you prepared during your time at university
Assessment 2: To evidence this learning outcome, you need to refer to your previous IRs and provide summaries under the following headings:
a) What skills have you developed in your placement

Assessment 3: Critically analyse how scientific, practical, social or political contexts of practice can impact on the advancement of their professional practice. You need to consider:
• The context within which your placement role is operating.
• How is it making a difference Is the product/service available to everyone who could benefit from it
Assessment 4: Reflect on the significance of the Industrial Practice in terms of future employment and career possibilities.
You need to describe:
a) How your placement has benefitted your employment prospects
b) Whether it has enabled you to identify a specific career path
c) What your next steps will be


Assessment 1
Expectations of the Supervisor discussed within this career path assignment

As an employee, I can expect that my supervisor will set a tone of respect in every part of the workplace. They will also lead by example. A respectful workplace is when we treat each other with consideration, dignity and attention. It is also a workplace where individuals and workers are treated fairly and with respect. Every member in the workplace is expected to consider how their behaviour affects others during the interaction and show respect too. Being respectful can be achieved through respectful communication, motivation, participation, and encouragement. Business is a professional environment. Although people in business enjoy each other's company, there are times when individuals may need to be separated from others to concentrate on their work, either for privacy or for mental/physical/emotional needs (Ayub Khan et al., 2018). However, employees must understand everything that will be expected of them as part of their job. I believe this is best accomplished by formally identifying the role and expectations using a written description. Supervisors should share that they do not want to be held back or surrounded by any stereotypical attitude but rather let their performance speak for itself and be treated as an equal in any environment.

It is also reasonable to expect that the supervisor will know a great deal about the organization, including its history and future goals. If a stable work environment is desirable for its employees, it is also reasonable to expect that the supervisor will regularly communicate (Wall et al., 2017) to their workgroup staff those changes in direction or ideas known by them which have not been properly brought to the attention of the group as a whole. Most jobs require employees to work closely with at least one supervisor. There are some aspects of this relationship that are less comfortable than others. These include the time-honoured tradition of the supervisor giving instructions to those who work for them and then, perhaps, becoming irritated when the instructions are not carried out in the manner or time frame they would prefer. To prevent this from becoming a source of discomfort, employees who report to a supervisor need to understand that their supervisor will have certain expectations about them such as availability, cooperation and performance (Ozbek, 2018). Employees who take pride in their professionalism and want their supervisor to respect them will, in turn, need to fulfil these expectations by working with integrity and good faith on behalf of both the organization and their supervisor.

Standard Practices and Behaviour
Our world is changing faster than most of us can accommodate in our day-to-day lives. Old jobs disappear, new jobs are born, and the ones we hold become outdated. To make the best use of their time and resources, I need to enter the workforce to anticipate these changes. In some cases, careers accompanied by high levels of stress are unlikely to remain high in demand, as the costs outweigh the benefits.

As an automation engineer, it will be standard practice for me to know about the latest innovations and changes in the technology and the company I work in can benefit from it. I should be able to understand analyse data.

Focusing on self-improvement is important in a profession like this. Increasing one's knowledge is an ongoing process that should not be overlooked. Having a limited level of knowledge will only allow me to do the same tasks over and over again; whereas, an expansion of my knowledge will help me grow and explore new horizons. For me to reach my full potential, I must continually strive for self-improvement.

Being able to communicate effectively is important for social and workplace interaction. Clear, concise and accurate communication always wins out above poor communication skills. Being a good listener is important for me to improve in my future career. It is a well-known fact that most businesses conduct meetings to discuss important matters and make important decisions. Therefore, good communication skills are an asset to every job applicant or employee. Even if the meeting goes well, some misunderstandings and miscommunications could still take place. Therefore listening and following instructions is as vital a part of communication as speaking clearly and appropriately (Coffelt et al., 2019).

Aspects of the Profession
The aspects discussed above were new. Working as an automation engineer I found how challenging some parts of the job can be. Further, I got exposure to the innovations that are becoming standard for the market I will be working in. This helped me understand how important it is for me, as an automation engineer to myself updated with the latest technologies and innovations. Another aspect that understood was the importance of data and its collection. Big data is already being used to inform business strategy and support marketing activities. In the future, jobs will be about filtering and interpreting the vast amount of data being collected (Wang et al., 2020). Those who can interpret and make sense of this information will have a competitive edge over others.

This profession has also made me realise the importance of self-improvement. This was something that has been an important aspect of the university. Here in this profession, I found the practical side of it. Focusing on self-improvement helped me become better at my job. This was not a deliberate strategy, but rather something that I gradually noticed and felt good about once I did. I found that self-improvement shared several characteristics with the actions necessary to perform well at my job.

One important aspect that I learned from this profession was how clear and concise communication can be effective in a professional environment. My experience with this internship taught me how to program, but also how to communicate to others about complex topics. Through effective communication, it helps establish goals, solve problems, and make informed decisions. However, to be successful in the workforce clear and concise communication is also important.

Another important aspect that I learned from this internship was the importance of behavioural skills. Essential skills that are required by an individual when it is about to transition from the employment sector to self-employment is a combination of managerial and behavioural skills. The market demand for people with unique behavioural skills has been rising the world over.

Assessment 2
Skills Developed and the Knowledge Gained

This placement has taught me a lot and helped me improve vastly. The first thing that it taught me was the importance of liaising with colleagues and managers which can be a difficult job. It requires the ability to put across a message tactfully whilst maintaining professionalism and an approachable persona. A key component is keeping my teammates informed whilst maintaining confidentiality. The basic principles of good communication help enormously here (Alyammahi et al., 2020). When creating requirements, as an automation engineer I must liaise with colleagues and managers to clarify the intended function of the product. Liaising with colleagues helped me understand their perspective, needs and what they need to do their jobs more effectively.

The second skill was to learn how to develop automation using Terraform which is an open-source tool for building, changing and versioning your infrastructure safely and efficiently and Cloud formation which is a highly automated way of provisioning infrastructure across cloud environments (Naik, 2021). Terraform can be used to provide infrastructure for all major cloud providers, including AWS, GCP, Azure and others. Using it I learned how to manage existing resources from several different providers, allowing me to easily integrate existing systems into your AWS account. Terraform provides a clean workflow over existing infrastructure via flexible templates to codify changes in code and track the history of how infrastructure is changed (Shirinkin, 2017). Cloud formation is a new way of managing infrastructure. It integrates three technologies in a powerful and novel way--templates, application programming interfaces (APIs), and command-line tools. Each is useful on its own (Goniwada, 2022). Together, they are transformative. This allows users to create and manage cloud computing platforms that can scale rapidly, handle large amounts of data, and be made highly available and reliable. Further, I learned to maintain the K8s services. Typically every organization needs to provision, configure and maintain different services running on the set of servers. The typical way of maintaining that is via a centralized approach where all software applications are installed on a single physical or virtual instance and centrally administered by a single entity (administrator) (Fogli et al., 2021). With the release of Kubernetes which is an open-source container management system, I can move away from the traditional centralized method to a more distributed approach - containerization. Managing K8s through the command line without an external DNS provider requires basic knowledge of how to configure one's host OS with static networking information (Bulej et al., 2021). The placement helped me understand that a reliable K8s deployment requires a solid networking foundation since the network layer is where all routing, load balancing, and name resolution occur.

Next, I learned how to work with our main infrastructure team. Most projects use some open source libraries and although C3MOM is an open project, it requires similar infrastructure to what one would find in a closed project. I learned to work with our core infrastructure team to have the infrastructure, security, and networking managed in the same way as for other projects. The infrastructure team is hard at work on a core set of components to power our internal and customer-facing services. This is the most important work for the company, as it impacts everything the company does. Working with the infrastructure team, I've been in the middle of lots of interesting technical issues. I have done work to manage bandwidth- and latency-sensitive applications, like the cloud database clusters that keep Office 365 and Azure SQL up-to-date (Truyen et al., 2018). I have worked with IPsec to provide tunnelled connections into some of our most sensitive environments. And we're now investing heavily in making sure that every new application needs fewer servers by using microservices and containers. I further learned the reliable use of modern tools for supporting SDLC. Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is the methodology that controls and guides the process of software development from planning to deployment of software. The main challenges of most companies implementing software projects using SDLC are that it can be expensive and can take up precious resources that are best utilized elsewhere. The use of modern tools to support the software development life cycle has become a key factor determining the level of productivity and efficiency of software development (Usman&Ogwueleka, 2018). Since the application has been moved from on-premise to cloud, as an automation engineer I am now free to use modern tools that provide me with a lot of flexibility and enable me to release stable releases with ease. This placement has taught me how I can now easily monitor the processes related to software development. I use Jira for project management, Bitbucket for code review, Jenkins for continuous integration and support of automated testing procedures.

System monitoring is a critical part of running a large-scale distributed system (Shafiq et al., 2021). It requires building and maintaining a data acquisition infrastructure, transforming raw data into useful information, distributing that information to the right places in real-time and reporting it in a way that makes sense to humans. Configuration tools such as Puppet, Chef or the Spring Cloud provide powerful mechanisms for managing services and applications in cloud environments (He et al., 2018). The monitoring problem is multiplied when we take into consideration service resiliency metrics: uptime and response time for remote procedure calls to the microservice health endpoint and health checks for verifying readiness of instances of service before accepting client requests. This placement has made me more agile and ready for a challenge like maintaining and configuring system monitoring.

There are a lot of tools that can help teams become more agile from source control systems (like Git) to Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. From the experience that I gained during this placement I have learned that one of the biggest challenges teams face when creating a new deployment pipeline, is that they usually do not know how to define it properly. They are creating something they have not created before and they're sort of fitting pieces together trying to find the best way. The placement made me able to help DevOps teams set up and configure secure, repeatable, reliable delivery pipelines for every stage of application development.

Assessment 3
The Context of the Placement

As an automation engineer, my placement role was very scientific and practical. The job was about handling and configuring data through the use of modern technologies such as K8s, Terraform, Jira, Jenkins and other similar software that makes the job of an automation engineer much easier. Automation engineers like software developers have to solve problems that are encountered during the whole development process and make sure that the process goes smoothly, minimizing costs, errors and delays. The skills I have learned have helped me to not just work effectively in my placement, but also to help others gain more technical knowledge about the company, about themselves and the industry in general. By learning and sharing my knowledge with my peers, we were able to learn and progress together. While working, it is required that the automation engineer should be able to manage a technical portfolio with a diversity of resources and bring additional tools or expertise when needed. One of the areas in which I have been working and improving is software coding where I can write scripts and contribute to the different projects that we have. I believe it is necessary to continue learning new technologies to improve my job performance. In addition, automation engineers must keep up with all the changes in the technology market and learn them as they occur (Herrera et al., 2017). These technologies that I worked with helped me gain an understanding of how scientific this job is and how most of the program depends on precise calculations and correct use of programming. Digital technologies can provide scientific data processing. Digital Devices, like the computer, are more precise than any man-made machine. This precision allows people to store numerical data accurately and retrieve it almost instantaneously. Numerical methods offer answers without the need for extensive theoretical understanding. We can think of these answers in two ways: as optimal solutions to specific problems and, at the same time, as examples of general concepts and methods. Numerical methods are thus both useful and intellectually satisfying. This placement made me realise how scientific the whole process of automation and data handling is.

The Difference It Makes
On this job, I worked in an environment with very few people and my work was very scientific. I had to work virtually due to the pandemic. This virtual workspace made it easy for me to communicate my ideas with my colleagues from all over the world without being physically present at work. I learned about how to automate the deployment of an application into a Kubernetes cluster and how to set up Jenkins for continuous integration and delivery (Fu et al., 2019). The application automation system was implemented using Kubernetes to handle the cloud infrastructure side of things, and using Terraform to handle the application configuration management and deployment. I was also responsible for creating a solution for reporting indicators inside of select KPI dashboards. This included producing reports about missed payments, internal data transfers between its branches, branch efficiencies and many other similar tasks. It was very interesting designing solutions that could take KPI requirements from different teams throughout the project and deliver them in real-time. This included generating the report architecture and building up all the necessary structures, tables and equations before results were produced. This also included producing graphs in high quality that would match the expectations of senior management and other professionals involved with the project – according to their personal preferences. Using my knowledge of finance I also gathered data from multiple sources into one location where it could then be accessed by other users. I was in charge of creating reports for KPI dashboards that were requested by different teams during the project. This included missed payments, internal data transfers between its branches, branch efficiencies and many other similar tasks. Creating solutions was very interesting because it gave me a chance to design reports using Tableau that could take KPI requirements and deliver them in real-time. These responsibilities made me understand the practical side of this job. Working on various stages of the project's development gave me first-hand knowledge about its architecture, technologies, and overall processes. This experience broadened my understanding of the IT industry and helped me realize the importance of making decisions based on the experience and expertise we already have rather than waiting for some miracle technology to save us from our mistakes. The product/service of the company I am working in can simply be described as data solutions. The primary consumers of this service are corporate and start-up whose business requires data handling and management. The services are available to any company that uses them. To handle large amounts of data, automation is crucial. The whole world is going through a digital revolution at a very fast pace and this implies that every industry needs to be innovative to succeed. The automation of business processes is critical for business sustainability. Businesses everywhere are practising data automation as a powerful way to improve their productivity and thus competitiveness. And it's working. This is why businesses of all sizes and industries all around the world are automating business data processing. Data Automation employs several ways to solve repetitive and complex data management problems that are challenging and painful to address manually. It can be used to organize operational and transactional processes, improve the accuracy of the information, cut processing costs, facilitate the integration of business systems and other benefits. Data automation ensures better performance and scalability of your data environment. For instance, by enabling change data capture (CDC), all the changes made at the source level are propagated throughout the enterprise system based on triggers (Fu et al., 2019). On the contrary, manually updating tasks consumes time and requires significant expertise. Data automation is a form of software development that focuses on the elimination of repetitive tasks. This involves the creation of a system that can recognize and process data changes without human intervention. So it can be said that the services that the company I was placed in provides are beneficial to their customers. With a real-time data capture architecture in place, companies are now more capable than ever before to offer their customers greater convenience and more personalized services. Today, businesses have the option of implementing sophisticated systems that can automatically collect, cleanse, store and make sense of voluminous amounts of data.

Assessment 4
Benefits of the Placement

The placement has been extremely beneficial to me for my future employment prospects. The ability to learn quickly and the skills that I picked up during my internship are the two key things that helped me to succeed at the place I work at. The work culture at the organisation is such that, every employee is expected to keep his/her skills current and up-to-date. There are also regular assignments and projects given by the company to their employees to promote excellence in their respective fields of study. I have learnt the skill of working collaboratively while working at the organisation. The work at the company involved interacting with many other departments and different groups. This helped me a lot in improving my communication and social skill, as well as in interpersonal relationships. The concepts and knowledge of computer networking, server administration, and computer programming helped me to get a better understanding of the work that needed to be done by me. The skills that I gained during this internship includes learning how to maintain the K8s services from a centralized approach often means that provisioning and configuration become of high priority. In this scenario, most of the technologies are observed with monolithic design patterns, in which all application components run as one process on the same server. The performance of the application may end up being slow or an unresponsive behaviour of the software may be observed. Then I also learned about the use of new tools of software such as Jira and Jenkins. Issues with the project I was involved with were raised daily by the supervisors working on the project. Jira was used to keep track of issues. Issues were generally labelled and organized via tags, keywords and categories. This made it easier for me to find issues that were about similar things, such as defects in a specific product or defects regarding a specific portion of code (Karnieli-Miller, 2020). The site provided a graphical user interface so that issues could be easily created, viewed, updated and resolved by all the users involved with the software development process, regardless of whether they were involved for quality assurance or something else.

Career Path
The skills and the experience that I gained from this internship has helped me become clearer about the career path I want for my future. My experience at the company has led to a direct change in my career choice. Obtaining an internship in an international setting such as this has helped me to develop interpersonal and professional skills that I can look back on with pride. My primary goal is to reach the managerial position at the top. For that, I have been working hard and improving myself. As a result of this experience, I am now more realistic about my career goals, and more able to choose a future employer who will appreciate my worth. Delivering a presentation about the current project without any difficulty, mastering the video conference software, improving my communication skills by taking part in meetings with my colleagues from overseas, and of course the most important thing, I have become more confident to work in an international environment. This internship has given me the confidence that I can become a very good manager.

The Steps I would like to Take Next
Some initial goals need to be fulfiled to gain this position. After this internship is over my goal is to obtain a job as an automation engineer in some reputed multinational company. Here I would like to gain experience and specialize in designing, implementing and maintaining software for computer-controlled manufacturing systems of various kinds. This kind of work requires an engineering discipline that combines a theoretical understanding of the relevant sciences with practical knowledge of the implementation details and limitations of particular computer hardware architectures. This would help me move one step forward in becoming a team supervisor which I aim to become within a year. As a team supervisor, I hope communication and leadership skills would improve. I have always been interested to learn the group dynamics among co-workers, especially in different project teams. I am convinced that these skills will greatly help me guide my team. Not only me but also my team members look forward to greater opportunities to use these skills on working tasks. The next step would be to become the team manager. Being a team manager is one important factor that I look forward to becoming. It is essential that the leader coordinates with his team offers team members critical development feedback, and can prepare them to build up their capacities (Slade, 2019). As a team manager, I hope my project management skills and team management skills would improve. As a project manager, I'm responsible for coordinating the work of people and systems towards the delivery of specific projects. As a team manager, I'll have more staff on my team and will be responsible for performing team building activities and training with companies in the area who want to improve their teams. Finally, I hope my experiences in all these positions will help me become a manager. Here as a manager, I aspire to develop skills regarding self-management, networking and have the ability to make the right decisions. Managers are responsible for managing projects, people and budgets. If a manager lacks any of these skills, the manager may cause negative consequences. A good manager takes initiative, makes smart decisions and will be adaptable to a dynamic environment. I believe the key to being successful in my career is keeping up-to-date with new developments and technology, and I want to gain the ability to make future-proof decisions. Networking with peers is also a crucial part of my personal development.

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