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  1. #1
    mgbsher is offline Novice
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    MS Access, VBA, and MS SQL OR C# and .Net full stack developer

    Hi,
    I hope that I am posting in the appropriate forum.
    Please, I am a bit confused regarding which path to go through.
    Shall I learn Microsoft Access and VBA and Microsoft SQL OR I should and better go through the C# and full stack .Net developer.
    I know nothing about programming and only some Microsoft Excel.

    Thanks,


    mgbsher

  2. #2
    CJ_London is offline VIP
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    Might as well ask whether to go by train or bus. All depends on where you are trying to get to, how much time you have and what you are going to do when you get there

  3. #3
    orange's Avatar
    orange is offline Moderator
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    ??? You have told us some options for "getting there"?? But you have said nothing about WHAT you want to achieve, nor WHY. You must have some objective or goal.
    I agree with CJ- we need some context.

    Is this for a career or a project?
    Who are you? What interests do you have? What is your end goal?

  4. #4
    mgbsher is offline Novice
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    Thanks a lot for your replies and help and sorry for not providing enough information.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    Might as well ask whether to go by train or bus.
    I've got your point, sorry for not posting correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    All depends on where you are trying to get to
    I am trying to have an extra income through working online for others. I am just a regular microsoft office user with more focus on Excel, so I googled for what option do I've by using excel, and I've did not found much, but one of the website I've visited mentioned using Microsoft Access to develop software for different tasks. Honestly I've never used Microsoft Access ever before, so I've googled more and found some other opinions telling that Microsoft Access is not up to date with what market users may need, but some others mentioned that Microsoft Access is a solid tool and secure. So I've googled more to find a final way to make a plan, but the more I search the more I've got confused. So I thought to ask here, so I've googled for Microsoft Access Support Forum and this website was the 1st result, so here I am.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    how much time you have
    I've 6 hours free per day dedicated for learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    what you are going to do when you get there
    I hope to be in a top rated category in upwork or freelance websites.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    ??? You have told us some options for "getting there"??
    I really do like how you analyzed it, you are correct and I couldn't agree more. This is the exact situation according to what I googled for.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    But you have said nothing about WHAT you want to achieve
    Like they are saying, you do not know what you do not know. I want to have a programming career path, I am trying to do a career shift, from being an accountant to a programmer, and I thought that if I was not able to do a real carer shift in real life, I will do my best to at least work online as a developer.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    nor WHY.
    I live in a 3rd world developed country and recently the local currency depreciated a lot against USD, so prices went x4 or x5, and I've a family to support so I am looking for a way to increase my income and I do not have any option except to learn a talent and use it to work for others to get income to support my family. I said to myself, as long as I will set to my desk and learn, so I should learn the right thing that may help me to generate income instead of learning something that has no demand.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    You must have some objective or goal.
    Just make money, as I do not have the welfare of choosing but instead I am just looking for what may help getting money so I will learn it.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    I agree with CJ- we need some context.
    I am really much thankful and appreciated your questions as it helped me a lot to organize my thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    Is this for a career or a project?
    It is for a career, I do not have any kind of projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    Who are you?
    I am 48 years old and working as a financial accountant, and my previous experience in that field related to accounting, budget, finance and its related analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    What interests do you have?
    I like to learn programming (I know it may sound crazy as I never programmed before).

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    What is your end goal?
    work as a programmer online or offline.

    Last thing, in my closed circle there are no one interested in programming and I live in some local village that has not a lot of activity.

    So I am somehow find that I am in a point that I should choose which path to go through to learn programming? both paths I do not know anything about them but I just googled a lot and ended up my determining these two paths. Both paths are to work as a developer at the end. The reason for asking is to know the right path. All the tools I've mentioned I did not work on it before but just what I've understood so far from google search. I will set to my desk and learn so I do not want to waste time learning the wrong path.

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    TBH, could you not do better, doing accountancy work via email etc?
    Using the skills you already have?

    I got bamboozled once by the Job Centre. They suggested not going for a job I had been doing for many years, like your accountancy, but try something else. Sounded sensible at the time.
    By the time I got out of the door, my thinking was 'If I cannot get a job doing what I know, how on earth am I going to get a job doing what I do not know.
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  6. #6
    orange's Avatar
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    Since you are posting/participating in an online forum, it would seem you have access to internet.
    Honestly I've never used Microsoft Access ever before

    I would recommend some youtube videos (introductory) on general
    -programming concepts
    -database concepts
    -problem solving

    to get some appreciation of the subject matter. There also many articles (written vs video) on these topics.
    Depending on your interest and whatever you may discover, then seek more focused/targeted videos/articles.

    There are some links to tutorials in my signature that may be helpful.

    Does your current employer pay for educational courses related to your work. That may be a method to get more formal training -- once you've narrowed the field(s) of interest a little.

    You are welcome to ask questions and participate in this and other forums.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    CJ_London is offline VIP
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    I am an accountant (FCMA/CGMA) and used to be FC/FD/CFO of a number of companies, national and international before deciding to go it alone, specialising in identifying gaps in corporate systems which I could fill with a mixture of excel, access and a sound knowledge of SQL.

    But it is not an easy path. I did it because I have a low boredom threshold and enjoy the challenge of solving problems, not the day to day routine. The money can be good, but in all honesty if money was the objective I would have stayed with accountancy.

    As far as upworks and the like are concerned look at the rates and the amount of work it brings in - with perhaps a few exceptions, not a living wage - a bit like actors, a few make good money, most donít.

    so my advice is stick with accountancy, be the best you can be and add to your skillset by really understanding excel and itís macros, learn about access and how it works but in particular SQL. When you know that you can draw data from multiple sources, normalise it, transform it to Ďusefulí data for decision making. Then look to get a job somewhere else that pays more.

    In the UK right now, 90% of the contract jobs require multiple programming language skills, PLUS relevant industry experience, and those languages change all the time, currently probably C#, Java, python, javascript plus a number that are here today but will be gone tomorrow.

    appreciate a living wage in India is probably less that the UK, so you have a chance to be competitive in a world market, but you need skills and experience to succeed.

    access is not dead, not by a long way, it is very good at what it does, it is what is called a RAD tool ( rapid application development). Most of the tools I have built have lasted anything from a few months to a couple of years (one client 20 years) until the corporate systems can catch up, typically to meet changes in the corporate environment ( legislation, new paths to market, poor implementation of new systems, acquisitions and mergers, etc)

  8. #8
    mgbsher is offline Novice
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    Thanks for your reply Welshgasman.
    Quote Originally Posted by Welshgasman View Post
    TBH, could you not do better, doing accountancy work via email etc?
    Using the skills you already have?
    I am afraid that I can not do my job through email but it requires me to physically go to office and work from 08 AM to 03 PM.
    Or you mean to offer my skills to others using the email service? If you mean the later or last mentioned option, please, may you explain how to do so? or what is your point you want to tell? Please excuse my English as sometimes I can not understand everything being said or written.
    What I can do is building using Excel a full financial model from data entry till releasing the full financial statements and its associated reports and provide them all in dashboard so viewer can click on different items to explore different scenarios, and that includes formulas, pivot tables, graphs, slicers ...etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Welshgasman View Post
    I got bamboozled once by the Job Centre. They suggested not going for a job I had been doing for many years, like your accountancy, but try something else. Sounded sensible at the time.
    You mean that I can make use of my business experience in Accountancy field in the programming? did I get you right? Please, I am very interested to know more about that point please if your time allow you to give more details.

    Quote Originally Posted by Welshgasman View Post
    By the time I got out of the door, my thinking was 'If I cannot get a job doing what I know, how on earth am I going to get a job doing what I do not know.
    I couldn't agree more, I am keep thinking about possibilities for what you said, and I do appreciated for how to make use of what I know, of course if your time allow providing more details.

    Thanks for your reply orange
    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    Since you are posting/participating in an online forum, it would seem you have access to internet.
    Yes, I do have monthly 250 GB limit subscription, with 30 MB speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    I would recommend some youtube videos (introductory) on general
    -programming concepts
    -database concepts
    -problem solving
    You know what, after googling for the right way to learn programming, I can summarize what I've found so far as I've combined it in these steps (Not my opinion but just what I've found after search):
    1) Learn programming concept using a good language, and good language mean that language that force you to learn and understand what is going on as if you are reinventing the well, while you will not invent it for real, but it is just for the sake of learning, and many suggested C++ for such purposes. So to learn programming concepts, fundamentals, and principles using C++ even if you will not use C++ later on in your career, as also, C++ will let you switch to any other language easily, while if you started with something easy like Python the transition won't be the same ease. (This point I felt it is like a war for which is better and I found it really hard to make up my mind, but it is just what I've found in search)
    2) Learn Data Structure.
    3) Learn Algorithms.
    4) Learn Object Oriented Programming.
    5) Learn Object Oriented Design.
    6) Solve a lot of problems using pen and paper first before code.
    7) Learn Database management.
    8) Do projects from day 0 for anything you learn.
    And after google I've made up my mind to go through Microsoft tools path as I read a lot about how much $$ they are investing in C# and other associated tools to make it cross platform (this point tooks me a lot of time to understand as I was not aware that .net is for windows only in the past, but now it is for almost many things and many systems).

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    to get some appreciation of the subject matter. There also many articles (written vs video) on these topics.
    Yes I do watch you tube a lot, and explore many ebooks on archive.org as I like both videos and books, but prefer books more.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    Depending on your interest and whatever you may discover, then seek more focused/targeted videos/articles.
    Sometimes I feel lost as if I do need a mentor to just guide me for what I should learn as there are dozens of resources with a very short time.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    There are some links to tutorials in my signature that may be helpful.
    Yes, they are, thanks a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    Does your current employer pay for educational courses related to your work. That may be a method to get more formal training -- once you've narrowed the field(s) of interest a little.
    I am afraid that I am on my own, and the last course I took was on udemy and I saved for several months in order to buy it.

    Quote Originally Posted by orange View Post
    You are welcome to ask questions and participate in this and other forums. Good luck
    Thanks a lot for your valuable time replying and helping me.

  9. #9
    CJ_London is offline VIP
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    As a continuance of my last post and seeing your most recent response, it doesn’t matter what language you settle on, you need to understand how real data is organised and how to retrieve it in an efficient way. Often you will be presented with data that is not normalised and/or missing key information. To be effective you will need to be able to argue/discuss/persuade whoever to provide the data the way you require to provide back an effect solution

    So still recommend you learn about database normalisation and the SQL language - unless wherever your path takes you does not involve data.

    I’ll just add that excel is an excellent data presentation tool, but it does a poor job of organising raw data - so from a programming perspective, potentially your current experience is at the wrong end of the data ‘chain’

  10. #10
    mgbsher is offline Novice
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    I am an accountant (FCMA/CGMA) and used to be FC/FD/CFO of a number of companies, national and international before deciding to go it alone, specialising in identifying gaps in corporate systems which I could fill with a mixture of excel, access and a sound knowledge of SQL.
    Oh man the FCMA/CGMA certificates or designations are one that I am dreaming about getting them but it is costing a little fortune to just register for the exam and its relates mandatory expenses, GOD bless you and I hope you do more success and achieve what you may dream about. In my work they are using Oracle e-business suite but an old version, I think version 8 maybe, and it happened a lot that the technical guy does not understand the business or accounting process to implement it on the ERP and that leads to a lot of extra steps, so most of us still depend on the Excel to get the job done and only use ERP to just record the entries and our manager show his super manager that we are using an up-to-date system and ERP but the truth is Oracle e-business failed to fulfil the business needs, and it is not because Oracle is bad, but because the technical guy does not implement it correctly to reflect the real business daily process because he does not understand accounting correctly. So, if you may tell how you started in your own and would it be possible to do it over the internet or you were go to clients and meet them in person?

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    But it is not an easy path. I did it because I have a low boredom threshold and enjoy the challenge of solving problems, not the day to day routine. The money can be good, but in all honesty if money was the objective I would have stayed with accountancy.
    Honestly, I've nothing to do except going through the path of learning as I feel guilty that I can not afford prices and want to learn to get any income whatever effort it may takes, but what do you mean by stayed with accountancy?

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    As far as upworks and the like are concerned look at the rates and the amount of work it brings in - with perhaps a few exceptions, not a living wage - a bit like actors, a few make good money, most don’t.
    OK, I will listen to your advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    so my advice is stick with accountancy, be the best you can be and add to your skill sets by really understanding excel and it’s macros, learn about access and how it works but in particular SQL. When you know that you can draw data from multiple sources, normalise it, transform it to ‘useful’ data for decision making. Then look to get a job somewhere else that pays more.
    I will follow your advice to the letter, and so far I am using Excel, PowerPivot, and Power Query and PowerBI. and I will learn the tools your mentioned using books.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    In the UK right now, 90% of the contract jobs require multiple programming language skills, PLUS relevant industry experience, and those languages change all the time, currently probably C#, Java, python, javascript plus a number that are here today but will be gone tomorrow.
    oh that is really horrible to keep changing all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    appreciate a living wage in India is probably less that the UK, so you have a chance to be competitive in a world market, but you need skills and experience to succeed.
    Nice point of view, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    access is not dead, not by a long way, it is very good at what it does, it is what is called a RAD tool ( rapid application development). Most of the tools I have built have lasted anything from a few months to a couple of years (one client 20 years) until the corporate systems can catch up, typically to meet changes in the corporate environment ( legislation, new paths to market, poor implementation of new systems, acquisitions and mergers, etc)
    Sometimes I am telling myself that for sure still there are some others need x,y , and z tools. But was you able to achieve with MS Access what can be done with corporate system like Oracle for example or I am getting it wrongly?

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    As a continuance of my last post and seeing your most recent response, it doesn’t matter what language you settle on, you need to understand how real data is organised and how to retrieve it in an efficient way. Often you will be presented with data that is not normalised and/or missing key information. To be effective you will need to be able to argue/discuss/persuade whoever to provide the data the way you require to provide back an effect solution
    Thanks a lot for clearing that out for me, really much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    So still recommend you learn about database normalisation and the SQL language - unless wherever your path takes you does not involve data.
    OK, I will listen and follow the advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ_London View Post
    I’ll just add that excel is an excellent data presentation tool, but it does a poor job of organising raw data - so from a programming perspective, potentially your current experience is at the wrong end of the data ‘chain’
    Please, may you explain what you mean by (wrong end of the data ‘chain’)?

    Thanks a lot

  11. #11
    CJ_London is offline VIP
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    When I started there was no internet, what we had were business groups who typically met for breakfast and talk about what they did and/or what they were looking for. Basically old fashioned networking. In the internet age you would perhaps use LinkedIn and similar forums. My first two clients were startups where I set up financial and related systems and provided financing advice. One went on and is still around today, the other failed after 9/11 - their customer base was international and many cancelled contracts after the event since no one was flying. Would be different today with the internet.

    Much of my work involves going to clients to use and analyse their systems but that all stopped with Covid plus their focus was implementing systems for effective working from home.

    that work is starting to come back often now with the benefit of being able to work from home but still requires client visits
    With regards access I repeat it is a rad tool, primarily the front end. The back end can be anything that has a odbc connector, that includes oracle. Technically the ACE db that comes with access can do the same as oracle , perhaps not as well because the sql is a bit more limited

    And as a front end, there are limits - every user needs full access or the runtime version on their machine. The sort of thing I use access for is for perhaps a team of 10-20 users out of a 10,000 employee base. The access app will draw data from multiple sources - finance, hr, legal, sales, erp etc, package it up into report bundles and then send out to the 10000 in various forms, might be individual or group emails, might be a centrally located csv or excel file, might be uploaded to the intraweb or some other reporting package such as Hyperion. It fills the gap that corporate systems can’t fill - most companies would not be prepared to spend £1m or so on customising an existing corporate app for just 10-20 users

    by wrong end I meant you need to start where the data starts, might be user manual input, might be output from a corporate system, downloads from web pages, etc. excel is at the other end showing analysis of the data

  12. #12
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    No. My simple thoughts were that most documentation can be done online, even if it is needed to be scanned in.
    I myself am right now entering details into a Xero accounting system for my old employers as a favour to them.
    If I was in the office and I had some paperwork, I would scan that in and attach to the transaction.

    So, if I was running my own company as I used to as a one man band contractor, and I needed the services of an accountant, I could employ you to do my accounts. Ok, you would need to know UK accounting laws, but that would have to be easier than learning a new language(s) ?

    Hell, when I worked for GE Pensions, we had people in India writing code for some systems. They sent the specs and got code back in return.
    That had to happen multiple times before anything was correct mind, but that is another story.

    I even worked for an Indian software company that won the contract for the onsite computer systems on the DPS7 and I had to train Indians on that system.
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  13. #13
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    NoellaG is offline Expert
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    Just a thought: I work as a DBA for several companies, have a large responsibility and have to follow several trainings / a year to keep up with the latest techniques. Only to find out that the guys that give trainings like 'Mindfulness @ work' and 'Time management' get more money and have an extra income selling their books to the trainees. When I talk to those guys the only thing they had to do is taking a one week or online course to start giving the trainings, and most part of the course they took is about selling techniques.
    I guess I like databases more than money, but if your main goal is extra money, I would certainly explore that path.

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