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Thread: College student concerned with current classes

  1. #1
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    College student concerned with current classes

    Hello, I'm trying to get some help because someone had told me the classes I'm taking will not be useful in the future because it isn't used much. Here is the list of the core classes and my major. If I could get a opinion from a few people that would be amazing.

    Database Application Development

    And here are the core classes.

    Enterprise Data Presentation with Crystal Reports

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Introduction

    Relational Database Concepts

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Advanced

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Project

    Someone had told me all of this was going to become outdated soon. I really need help because school costs so much. I need to make sure I will be able to get a job and start a good life after school.

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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    Personally I would look for courses that taught using SQL rather than MS Access, the only time businesses use Access nowadays is when they have to support legacy applications.

    This isn't to say that the skill set you learn isn't transferable as it is, the basic concepts of relational databases are the same no matter which one you are using. I'd still rather learn SQL though, the last course I took was a MS SQL Administration course.
    Last edited by Cheesemill; August 13th, 2013 at 01:56 PM.
    Cheesemill

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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    This is a big problem because the only other thing they offer is web design. I can only do a associates degree right now and everything else they offer is in bachelors and certificates, I don't think I would be able to find a job with only a certificate.

    Do you guys think there are a lot of job opportunities as far as web developing goes?
    Last edited by RiotsHere; August 13th, 2013 at 03:00 PM.

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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    I work in database application development (in Australia), and I think your friend is right and learning MS Access is a waste of time and money.

    Most of the jobs I see related to database application development require knowledge of an Object Oriented Language coupled with strong SQL skills and knowledge of administration of a few databases. Advanced Linux and Windows administration skills don't hurt either. Java and MSSQL skills seem to be the most popular requirement.

    I do most of my professional work in Delphi, c++ and php interfacing with various databases and SQL is an integral part of the job.

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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    At least you are asking the right questions. Asking these questions after taking the classes (and spending the money) is too late. I'm sure those classes have excellent training materials--workbooks and example CD's--published by MS. But are the tools relevant in today's marketplace? Only you can answer that question. Go through the job listings and list the specific skills required and see how many times MS Access is mentioned.
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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    Quote Originally Posted by tgalati4 View Post
    At least you are asking the right questions. Asking these questions after taking the classes (and spending the money) is too late. I'm sure those classes have excellent training materials--workbooks and example CD's--published by MS. But are the tools relevant in today's marketplace? Only you can answer that question. Go through the job listings and list the specific skills required and see how many times MS Access is mentioned.
    And thats the problem it's really rare. But how does everyone feel about web design, I see it posted on job listings. The only problem is they always want extra things like Database exp, I mean should I just learn this stuff all on the side? I really have no idea what to do. All of these people expect you to know all of this stuff.

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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    Quote Originally Posted by RiotsHere View Post
    Hello, I'm trying to get some help because someone had told me the classes I'm taking will not be useful in the future because it isn't used much. Here is the list of the core classes and my major. If I could get a opinion from a few people that would be amazing.

    Database Application Development

    And here are the core classes.

    Enterprise Data Presentation with Crystal Reports

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Introduction

    Relational Database Concepts

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Advanced

    Relational Databases with MS Access: Project

    Someone had told me all of this was going to become outdated soon. I really need help because school costs so much. I need to make sure I will be able to get a job and start a good life after school.
    Make the effort to learn the underylying technology and not the "Access way" which only goes over tools Access uses and you will be able to use your skills in other locations more effectively. One reason for using Access as a learning tool is because it combines the database (tables and views), interface (forms), reporting and programming (macros and VBA) into one product, but the concept is used all over the place. Once you understand the underlying conecpts then going from Access to, for example, MySQL or PostgreSQL, is primarily in the interface. The commands may not be exactly the same but if you know what you are trying to do there is usually a ton of information on how to do it in the target database.

    For example, my knowledge with Access opened the door to move into a Data Warehouse running MS SQL Server and in my current job I am working on a web server with PostgreSQL. In all honesty, I haven't had training in any of these technologies save a Beginner's SQL Programming book by Wrox I picked up about 13 years ago!

    Learning how forms use controls, bind with data and how to make it flexible may be transferrable with application development (I don't know becaus I've almost always been on the Web). Access provides for building reports, which reflect the data, in a number of ways and Crystal Reports is just a more powerful program for doing the same thing (same as Cognos) though each is slightly different.

    For example, at work I am currently using Crystal Reports but before that both Access and Cognos provided me with the tools on how to generate a report like I want. I was using Crystal Reports for over a year before they finally sent me to training for it! Now I am considered the report master in the office.

    I only use Macros to easily put together code for producing repeated actions and then study and modify the VBA myself. While VBA may not be as portable as a C-based programming language, it does give you a chance to learn the principals of programming such as variables, loops, control structures, functions, etc. (dare I say, the "basic" part of programming )

    For example, I was starting with VBA before I was moved to the Data Warehouse and needing to develop an ASP website for displaying the data from the database. Since then I've moved to ASP.NET and using VBA for complex data importing. I have since been dabbling on my own with PHP and C# but from a reference of some understanding of programming.

    So don't settle for "click here, then here, then here" to do anything; understand what is going on and why you are doing it. Then whether it is in MS Access or some other program will not matter so much. Access will be around for a while but its use, and employment prospectives, are limited if you don't understand anything more than just the program.

    Good luck!
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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    There are lots of free resources (ebooks, tutorials, user guides) for SQL programming. Just do some searching on the web and start reading.

    The reason all of the web admin jobs have database skills listed is because 90% of webpages use a database to pull information to populate the webpage. Web designers need the same skills because just about any useful webpage will need to be hooked into a database. Spend some time at http://drupal.org and you will see that web design is really creating a content management system (CMS) and that requires database skills (like SQL).

    If you just want to create fancy fonts and graphics for a webpage, then there are other skills to learn, but web design requires understanding of the backend--what pieces are pulled and how they are pulled together to create a dynamic webpage.

    Also understand that webpages may be going away as more and more content is accessed through smartphones using Android and iOS apps. So understanding how these apps access servers would be a useful IT skill.
    Last edited by tgalati4; August 13th, 2013 at 05:41 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: College student concerned with current classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesemill View Post
    the only time businesses use Access nowadays is when they have to support legacy applications.
    Where I see it used a lot is where some member of non-IT staff has hacked together a database app on the side. That's one step up from what usually happens (a massive Excel spreadsheet!) but still not where it should be. I work in engineering and businesses are slowly being dragged round to seeing the value of organising their data in proper centralised databases accessible through web apps that can be got at from any device capable of running a browser. Locking your critical data into the Microsoft Office swamp is increasingly being seen as a dead end.

    Not that this stops the proliferation of uberspreadsheets in the meantime.

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