Career advice? (1 Viewer)

Db-why-not

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Hello,
I just wanted some advice on what career direction I should go. I really enjoy designing and developing access databases, using vba code to automate different processes, making my forms interactive. I've also been learning more about sql server and connecting my access forms to sql server. I like working with it. My spouse is telling me I should really focus on learning some other frontend program. I have some HTML experience. I'm thinking about learning more about front end web development or full stack developers. Im just wondering what programs topics should I focus on learning. I'm probably going to be self taught, online courses only, I don't have time enroll in full-time program. I'm thinking about learning more about. .Net and asp.net. , c#. If I want to do more front end design is that the best platform to focus my time on learning for the best career options?
 

CJ_London

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take a look at the similar threads section at the bottom of this thread. This one, https://www.access-programmers.co.uk/forums/threads/career-question.151675/ although 12 years old is still relevant today.

Your thread title is career advice - so where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time? Or to be more precise - what do you want to be doing? Answer that and we might be able to provide more specific advice.

With regards languages, they fall in and out of favour, new ones come and go. What really matters from an employers perspective is can you demonstrate you can do the job? The web is particularly fluid and fickle so be prepared to get to grips with not one but perhaps half a dozen different technologies.

Look at your local/national job boards to see what is popular right now, see what sort of skill sets are being sought
 

Isaac

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I'm tentative about giving someone career advice based on limited personal knowledge (of you), but given what you've mentioned I'll just throw out a few thoughts. Also, note that I have very little knowledge of the world of web programming but will comment on what I have observed based on what I see as our similarities--enjoyment of interface design and sql server...

- .Net is huge and seems to be a good long term bet
- .Net combined with SQL server matches a LOOOOOT of job descriptions...more than they can fill, it seems like, in the US anyway; you really can't go wrong with it
- In any case where you're specifically choosing between learning vb.net and c#.net, I'd recommend c#.net...it seems to be the 'preference' of the majority of job postings and large companies that have choices between the two - even in 'limited' applications, like SSIS. (I say this even though applying this advice to me means I need to switch gears too--after dozens of interviews where c#.net is required vs. vb.net). It can be hard to make this choice when you're coming from VBA, so all-things-VB* feel more familiar, but c# seems to be far more the way things are going.

A few years ago, right at the same intersection of absolutely loving making interfaces and front end apps in Access, while equally loving all things SQL Server, I was introduced to SSIS. To me, it became the absolute most amazing hidden gem I never knew was an option until then--a beautiful combination of everything I'd been doing, it seemed. Hands down, SSIS is the most "fun" thing (and relatively quick to learn at least to get to a basic functional level, of course you can go as deep as you want) I think I've ever done. Of course, like everything else, after a few years of popularity there is a school of thought that thinks the most fashionable thing you can say now is that SSIS is getting old, but IMHO SSIS jobs are going to be quite a thing for a long time to come. Developing in SSIS gives you the chance to either continue or start learning vb.net or c#.net, as well as continue to use T-SQL and all things SQL Server - optionally combining the two (or just using 1 or the other) in every package you make. I found it to be a gateway to the next level, and highly enjoyable while getting there. The breadth of things SSIS can do and be a part of is virtually infinite. The platform makes it easy to learn "just a little bit more" about SQL Server + .Net with each package you build--unlike, for example, full fledged .Net apps made in Visual Studio, which it's hard to create any fully formed product knowing just a little bit. It also gives you the chance to begin including experience with Visual Studio, .Net, and T-SQL development on your resume, without yet being a broad-based expert in any of them, but learning more with each package you build. Although I spent years gaining wisdom and maturity in SSIS design, it only took me a day or two to build my first, fully-functional package, scheduled to run nightly. Now that's a good effort-vs-reward ratio.

That's my soap box on how good SSIS has been to me. Then again, if you really have a passion for web development, go with what makes you happy - I don't know enough about it to comment.

Good luck!!
 

The_Doc_Man

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I'm with CJ on this one. My uncle long ago gave me some simple advice. First decide what you want to do or like to do. THEN decide how to make money at it. You'll never be rich but if you can make money doing what you like to do, you should be much happier. Look inside yourself for direction before you worry about what the rest of the world is doing today. Don't look to others first. Look within yourself.

I'm thinking of a mental image from the movie The Wiz. Dorothy and her friends have reached the Emerald City only to find a bunch of mindless people walking in a circle, like a flock of grazing sheep, being seen and being a part of the scene. Every so often, a voice comes over a loudspeaker talking about how the current color of the moment is red. Or yellow or blue... and everything changes color to match the color advised over that speaker. The mindless sheep keep walking but now in the new color.

Modern web languages are somewhat like that. They come and they go. People go the direction of the latest "trendy" language. If you choose to go the path of the web, learn the principles that underlie web actions and interactions. And if you go the path of the DB, remember again that a lot of what you will learn with Access can be applied elsewhere if you just look beneath what we do to glean underlying principles.
 

Db-why-not

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I'm tentative about giving someone career advice based on limited personal knowledge (of you), but given what you've mentioned I'll just throw out a few thoughts. Also, note that I have very little knowledge of the world of web programming but will comment on what I have observed based on what I see as our similarities--enjoyment of interface design and sql server...

- .Net is huge and seems to be a good long term bet
- .Net combined with SQL server matches a LOOOOOT of job descriptions...more than they can fill, it seems like, in the US anyway; you really can't go wrong with it
- In any case where you're specifically choosing between learning vb.net and c#.net, I'd recommend c#.net...it seems to be the 'preference' of the majority of job postings and large companies that have choices between the two - even in 'limited' applications, like SSIS. (I say this even though applying this advice to me means I need to switch gears too--after dozens of interviews where c#.net is required vs. vb.net). It can be hard to make this choice when you're coming from VBA, so all-things-VB* feel more familiar, but c# seems to be far more the way things are going.

A few years ago, right at the same intersection of absolutely loving making interfaces and front end apps in Access, while equally loving all things SQL Server, I was introduced to SSIS. To me, it became the absolute most amazing hidden gem I never knew was an option until then--a beautiful combination of everything I'd been doing, it seemed. Hands down, SSIS is the most "fun" thing (and relatively quick to learn at least to get to a basic functional level, of course you can go as deep as you want) I think I've ever done. Of course, like everything else, after a few years of popularity there is a school of thought that thinks the most fashionable thing you can say now is that SSIS is getting old, but IMHO SSIS jobs are going to be quite a thing for a long time to come. Developing in SSIS gives you the chance to either continue or start learning vb.net or c#.net, as well as continue to use T-SQL and all things SQL Server - optionally combining the two (or just using 1 or the other) in every package you make. I found it to be a gateway to the next level, and highly enjoyable while getting there. The breadth of things SSIS can do and be a part of is virtually infinite. The platform makes it easy to learn "just a little bit more" about SQL Server + .Net with each package you build--unlike, for example, full fledged .Net apps made in Visual Studio, which it's hard to create any fully formed product knowing just a little bit. It also gives you the chance to begin including experience with Visual Studio, .Net, and T-SQL development on your resume, without yet being a broad-based expert in any of them, but learning more with each package you build. Although I spent years gaining wisdom and maturity in SSIS design, it only took me a day or two to build my first, fully-functional package, scheduled to run nightly. Now that's a good effort-vs-reward ratio.

That's my soap box on how good SSIS has been to me. Then again, if you really have a passion for web development, go with what makes you happy - I don't know enough about it to comment.

Good luck!!
I will definitely have to checkout SSIS, I have only been using the sql server management studio so far. That does sound interesting to me.
 

Galaxiom

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be a politician, that's where the money is.
Job security can be tentative though if they stay in long enough they get a free ticket to a cushy directorship or corporate lobbyist when they leave parliament.
 

Vassago

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What do you like about what you do now? The database structure design? The front end and VBA coding? The analytical side of things? I think that's critical in deciding where to focus your knowledge. SSIS is good if you want to learn more about DBA work with managing and manipulating the data. .NET is good if you want to focus more of programming the user interfaces and such. No matter which way you go, you'll likely find a use in all of these tools at one point or another.
 

Db-why-not

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I like the front end and vba programming but I also like quering the data and creating reports.
 

Isaac

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I hear you - I'm the same. I like interface design, and fancy myself having a knack for putting myself in the end-user's shoes, experience-wise (although we all do, that's why we do this probably), but SQL side is a must-have for me too. One nice way to combine this is using Access as a FE with SQL Server back end if/when possible, that way you can get your fix of T-SQL & stored procedures, then execute them in Access.

One useful way I once had fun with Access/SQL/SSIS was in a 'Claims Audit' database in a healthcare environment. Processing claims had to be audited at like 10% or so. So there were tables with claims details, assignments, auditors, feedback, grading, etc. Anytime an auditor audited a claim, a legally-mandated (Medicare) 'feedback loop' had to start, going back and forth between processor & auditor for a few exchanges. Since the back end was SQL Server, I created an SSIS package to run every minute watching a SQL table for certain new records, then fire off an email to the processor or auditor with the updated information and open db link. It was tons of fun. I also learned something from making a very dumb mistake. One morning I came in and the auditing supervisor informed me her email had something like 500 emails in it - duplicates. I'd made two mistakes actually. One was simply faulty SQL logic, that failed to make the requisite "email sent" update in certain scenarios. The other thing I learned was if you are going to run a package every minute and do something real consequential, like emailing, you might want to have a function that totally disables the Integration Services package schedule on "all other" package errors. To avoid a very embarrassing result. Maybe even have a function that allows a manager to disable it if it's crashing and burning!

Fortunately she was a very enthusiastic & forgiving supervisor. (Well, also, the alternative to what we'd created was Excel and spiral bound notepads)

Every time I see companies apologize for mistaken emails, which happens a lot, I think of a lonely developer somewhere making a silly human mistake that we all make and it reminds me regular people are behind it all, no matter how sophisticated it may appear.
 

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