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Too Many Headaches !

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by mous, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. mous

    mous New Member

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    I would be grateful if someone would take the time to read, give any useful advice, recommend any WM based training companies or point me in a starting direction, my head is ready to blow.

    I have self-taught myself MS Access for 7 years now (bad I know) and from this have created several simple databases used by many staff in the College in which I work. They do include some basic programming.

    These databases are extremely useful to staff but to be honest, they are at breaking point.

    I have now been given the task of re-creating these databases in SQL and linking its data to Access / VB Applications / Web Front End (What's the difference?)

    I'm toying with the idea of doing courses first of in:

    1. SQL Database Design and Implementation
    2. SQL Database Administration

    but I'm hearing that I must do A+ / networking fundamentals first. Is this right?? Someone has even suggest the HNC course (do I really have time for this? - I'm talking within the next year or I must so have made some progress on converting these databases somehow and creating a least two forms / front ends for them.

    I'm thinking I should also take:

    3. An Access Developers Course
    4. Visual Basic
    5. Business Analysis/Project Management
    6. HTML

    I've been given a great opportunity here to further my career but haven't a clue where to start. Although I have bought the MS Press books (a while ago now), I'm afraid its not sinking in.

    What is myPHP / mySQL / asp.net?

    I do have resources available to me at work but without a definite starting point ....

    Thanks for your time.
    Dawn
     
    Certifications: MOS (Master Level)
  2. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Hi Dawn,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I am the first to say how good I think the A+ course is whichever IT route you want, but it won't really help expand your knowledge on Access, SQL or PHP. Look for the reviews on Amazon (and wait for more knowledgeable members on the subject) and go for it :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    (Hm - I spent ages writing this - only to find the underlying post deleted! <giggle> I hope this works....

    I'll have a go - and I'm sure others will chip in! :biggrin

    Why is this bad? It seems admirable to me.
    OK - this is the important bit - *why* are they at breaking point? Access is fairly powerful, and to push it to 'breaking point' implies either too many people updating the tables, or the tables are getting too big.

    Quite a lot of difference. The main driver for the choice is how the College uses their PCs to get at the database.
    If they use IE then you want a web front end, if not then you have to deploy VB apps to everybodys desktops. This latter can be a nightmare sometimes, but can give a better interface to the database.

    IMHO - no. You don't *really* need A+ for this.
    PHP is a web-based (mostly) language that can interface well to databases. Not particularly compatible with the Microsoft world though, (IMHO) and it is the MS world you seem to be in.
    MySQL is a free(ish - the license conditions are not easy to sort out these days) database. Very good for some things, but might not be good for you.
    asp.net is the Microsoft equivalent to PHP (approximately)


    The difficulty here is that the 'correct' way to go is *very* dependant on exact details of the current setup - so is going to be difficult for us to give you a reliable steer.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  4. mous

    mous New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply... sorry, but being new to this forum unsure how to place in fancy quoted text. Here goes,

    I believe you learn a lot of horrible traits when you teach yourself, which is why I think these databases are at breaking point, yes the tables are huge, yes I haven't normalised them correctly (because I don't know how to retrieve the data any other way), there are on average around 40 users on at any one time, crap design, the list is endless (I think I'm confused with training because I should be better than I am currently and I have wasted a few of my years not learning the next step quick enough - oops I'm on the wrong forum for this - move on).

    I like the sound of nice interfaces but the College wants reliability, speed and ease of access (we do currently use IE), which is why they will probably want a web front-end. *BUT* I don't know how powerful web development is - I know I can retrieve information, can I post information back to an SQL database, can you get a slinky interface, is it capable of doing complex sums, can it provide user friendly reports?

    Would you choose a VB application over access (Why?) my preferred route.

    No A+? then what? I think I need knowledge on user groups / domains / security / group policy / the interaction with SQL.

    I know the College aren't that keen on MySQL / myPHP either.

    Thanks again
    Dawn
     
    Certifications: MOS (Master Level)
  5. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Hi Dawn,

    The A+ is a great course, but it is not going to help you out. It covers hardware and Operating systems in no great depth.

    If you want to learn about file permissions, user accounts, Group policy etc, then there is a mass of information out there which is summed up in the 70-290 Microsoft exam although there are plenty of books availible that cover each topic you mention in great detail.

    I will look at *my list* and post back.
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  6. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    No probs! To get started when you reply, use the 'Quote' button on the bottom right of the post you are replying to.
    I had to learn about this as well when I started! :biggrin

    While this can be true - just reading stuff about it is a major plus, against blindly following a simple path!
    If you know about 'normalization' you are *definitely* on the right path! I can tell you that many database people have been hamstrung because of old descisions which can't easily be altered!

    You need to separate the backend from the front. The backend can be Access or SQLServer or MySQL or PostgreSQL. The frontend can be a VB app, or IE. If IE you can use PHP or ASP to talk to the backend. IF VB it talks directly.

    From IE you can get and post info, you can update tables. You can impose rules on how the tables are updated. And the interface is as good as your design ability.

    To do reports you can roll your own with SQL, or many people use 'Crystal Reports'. In many installations a basic version of 'Crystal' has already been installed.
    See above - they aren't the same class of thing. You could use both or neither.

    I don't think any of that very important to the job at hand. I'd say that an Access dev course would be better so you could learn the basics. Don't forget that Access can be driven by SQL as well as the more heavyweight databases.

    I like them - they are easy to use and they are free (if set up correctly) which is always a bonus for cash-strapped colleges! It is just that you have gone so far down the MS route I'm not sure that the pain of changing is worth it.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  7. juice142

    juice142 Megabyte Poster

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    Hey, mous, welcome on board. :thumbleft

    I'm not a database sort of a chap, but judging by your posts I think your employer may be making more of a demand on you, in a very short time, than would be reasonable. It's a college you say? Aren't they prepared to train you? :rolleyes:

    I wish you all the best,

    J.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270, MCSA
  8. mous

    mous New Member

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    WOW! Thanks for all your replies. This forum's great!

    Having thought about your responses and sleeping on it, I'm proposing doing the following courses as a starting point:

    1. An SQL course

    So that I am able to convert my access databases into SQL and be able to maintain it.

    2. An access developers course

    So that I can learn "correctly" data retrieval, linking to SQL and other info not already learnt.

    3. Visual Basic

    So that I can learn more about programming and be able to produce good end-user interface design - one more question though - would I also have to incorporate Crystal Reports (my employer also wants me to learn this too) into VB apps, I don't suppose it does any kind of ease-of-use report design like access does.

    Thanks Again
    Dawn

    Watch this space !! (ha ha)
     
    Certifications: MOS (Master Level)
  9. dhorton

    dhorton Bit Poster

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    Certifications: Business Objects CR, MCTS SQL Server
  10. richardw

    richardw Nibble Poster

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    as per dhorton, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is the one to look at.
    It has reporting capabilities built-in, http://www.microsoft.com/sql/technologies/reporting/default.mspx which also does web-based reports, so could be that all you need is SQL server express.

    If you move completely to SQL, you might want to drop Access entirely.

    In terms of courses, tic in birmingham http://www.tic.ac.uk has a number of short courses, most 3 or 4 days.

    If the college does want to move to a new system, it is also the oppurtunity to look at what reports are currently being used, & make all the design & organisational changes before implementing a new system.

    If the college does teach IT, or has a local one that does, could you not get assistance from students/ex-students & teaching staff.
     
    Certifications: MOS (Master), MMI
    WIP: MCAS, AAT

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