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AQA Computer science NEA help needed ASAP

I am currently in a stage of finding ideas for my Comp sci NEA. I am thinking of making a stock control database for a hardware shop which allows the user to search and sort for products, in the form of a website backed with a database. We are using C# (Visual studio) as our programming language in the A level and I haven't done comp sci gcse so I don't know any other languages. What languages and platforms would you suggest I could use for this project? Also, any tips related would also be useful.
Reply 1
Original post by eepycar
I am currently in a stage of finding ideas for my Comp sci NEA. I am thinking of making a stock control database for a hardware shop which allows the user to search and sort for products, in the form of a website backed with a database. We are using C# (Visual studio) as our programming language in the A level and I haven't done comp sci gcse so I don't know any other languages. What languages and platforms would you suggest I could use for this project? Also, any tips related would also be useful.

Idk to what extent you will be relying on manipulating the data, but I would recommend picking up Python maybe?...generally a great programming language to know (I do it for A level CS), particularly for data analysis, manipulation and it offers a whole host of support with its modules.

You can easily make a UI and support it with the database backend through using UI modules and modules like Flask to get your desired functionality between the database server and the front end.

Python also has many database modules, which you can use to make your tables in your database, and your queries for searching the database. Just make sure it complies to 3NF to allow efficient querying because you might be marked down otherwise?

My project had a small scale database backend for login credentials and stuff, and I would say that of the entire project, it wasn't really the most fun, but the additional functionality really boosted my project to another level (the database is an EXTREMELY small part of my bigger project).

if you don't wanna learn Python, you can also try Javascript? Slightly more arcane than Python, but again, offers unlimited functionalities and capabilities which you can utilise to make your project better. I don't really have too much experience with Javascript, but my friend did her project with it and I'm telling you now, it looked AMAZING 🔥.

I'm sure there are other languages you can use, but those are the best imo for your idea.

However, if you feel that it's not possible to pick up a language, maybe switch to doing a game? C# supports game functionality really, really well so yeah, maybe go for something like that?

Not to destroy your idea or anything, but a piece of advice. A database system is one of the most bone dry things you can make for NEA. It's not that it doesn't solve any problems - it's just that when you're committing to do a year long project, you wanna make sure you stay motivated throughout, which I can definitely tell you is not easy (but that might be down to me having a large workload in addition to NEA). That's what made programming my project really fun this year, but the documentation really took all of the fun out of the process, but it's a necessary part so you gotta do it.

If you find interest in it, by all means, go for it. But just to letting you know that people in my year who did databases were bored to death, and in some cases struggled to add functionality (but then pulled it together in the end to secure decent marks).
Reply 2
Thanks for replying.
I was also thinking of learning javascript. I have decided to do a project based on database because my teachers keep stressing us to use one as it gets the highest marks. I heard that games generally score less than database projects if it doesn't have complex algorithms. Also, I didn't really have any ideas I was passionate about for the nea so I thought I might as well just follow the advice of my teacher.
Btw how many marks did you get for your NEA?
Reply 3
Original post by eepycar
Thanks for replying.
I was also thinking of learning javascript. I have decided to do a project based on database because my teachers keep stressing us to use one as it gets the highest marks. I heard that games generally score less than database projects if it doesn't have complex algorithms. Also, I didn't really have any ideas I was passionate about for the nea so I thought I might as well just follow the advice of my teacher.
Btw how many marks did you get for your NEA?

So funny you should say this...everyone in my set who did a game scored very highly (with some exceptions but worst case in my set was 55 which is insane when you consider that our teacher said at the start of the year that if people get above 50, that's a really good mark on the NEA and that he'd be ecstatic for us. So when we all got 55 and above, he threw a party for us all. 😂🤣).

I scored 63 with my NEA out of 75, but two people who also did games got higher marks than I did (67 and 73). Everyone who did databases got sub-60, and our class mean (class size of about 12 people) was 59. I know I said my project was a game and it is a game, but it also had a small scale database backend.

The reason people who do a game don't score highly in a lot of cases is because they don't manage their time well. They're far too focussed on improving aesthetic and adding functionality for the user, rather than the actual documentation, which is what is marked at the end of the day.

Whereas with databases, it's much easier to do well in terms of scoring again provided you manage your time well, because you might finish making the project slightly earlier than someone who did a game but then there's not much you can add in terms of functionality and people in my set seemed to really struggle with this and so they got marked down on their implementation of the project. They started adding all sorts of random nonsense that just wasn't really needed for their project and it really showed. I feel like the skills document, which they show us to say "these are the skills you should aim to incorporate into your project", is definitely geared more towards people who want to make games and/or projects that have some form of proper applicability to the real world.

You can take up any project, but provided you do your documentation justice, that will produce maximum credit for you. As for your teacher saying to take up databases, my teacher said the exact opposite. He said, and I quote, "DBMSes tend to be the most common choice as it's less work but people tend to struggle with functionality, and not to put down the idea of anyone who's thinking about doing a DBMS, but it's very dry and people lose motivation very quickly and it's really, really boring." He also warned us about being careful with doing games because people tend to struggle with managing to finish on time due to documentation. Still, it didn't deter 7 or 8 out of the 12 people in my set to do a game.

Games are really fun to do for that reason because the testing process is actually quite enjoyable (getting yourself into complex bugs, not so much, but hey, that's part of the development experience and regardless of what you take up, I guarantee, you will run into a bug at some point).

Also, idk whether you're AQA or OCR but if you're AQA, the NEA is intended to solve a problem FOR SOMEONE ELSE, so you can't just leave it up to your own imagination. You're gonna have to find an end client if you are AQA.
Reply 4
Haha I guess different colleges have different approach to the NEA.
I have a client in mind for my project, but I'm just not sure what improvements I need to make as the system they're using now has pretty much most of the features a database needs to have. I also need to learn how to connect database to my application, and some GUI. As for my gui, I'm using Windows forms C# to create it.

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