@Isaac thanks for the warm welcome
I appreciate your insight on this, I have been pondering the best way and the quickest way to get the Access skills I need.
For sure I'm guilty of being a creature of habit my work in Excel model building demonstrates that, one perspective is "it's tried and tested" another is "lazy, suboptimal and difficult for anyone else to use" and then I will come full circle along the lines of "it's a tool and the time pressure is ever present" all this competes with the perfectionist tendencies that are part nature and part the nature of the work in accounting/finance - I'm rarely if ever wholly satisfied with what I've done but I have come to regard that as positive force for improvement!!
A few days ago I realised that the way I am learning Access is very far from perfect, I came to the same conclusion as you have just outlined that the ideal approach would be a longer period of hands on experience building new DBs, understanding, using, enhancing and tinkering with existing ones after all what I can do in Excel has been developed haphazardly over years and years of work and thousands of hours of hands on experience, why should Access not require at least similar, no doubt it will be a journey.
As ever the "toad" of time pressure has a large influence on what is feasible, once I have built the tool I am looking at now I'm sure I will be expanding it and enhancing it, I also have some other DB's I want to build which will be simpler and less time pressured (typical!) .
With the safety net of Excel familiarity and understandable audit trail removed for me for now I quickly decided best DB practices needed to be understood and implemented and would help me get there faster, it all makes sense and seems essential foundations so far ( for me especially).
I'd certainly be interested to learn more about MySql since I have hobby websites and build them for personal use - would you say that MYSQL would be a good RDBMS to develop skills in?
I do understand about practical considerations. I often speak in idealistic tones....but in reality we do "the best we can within the given time", as the great old Toby Keith song says. It's just things to tuck away for whenever those chances maybe do present themselves.
As far as your question about RDBMS, that could spark a great debate - and also a lot of great information. I guess what I'll do is frame my answer as personal observations that I've made, certainly and fairly open to any critiques.
- SQL Server opens doors to the highest number of job opportunities anywhere across the US and world....and is (arguably, perhaps) the most used RDBMS in the world, providing jobs (even if it "ended" today), for probably at least a generation to come
- Oracle, PL-SQL, is much harder to get in the door - especially as a junior - a hardcore Oracle shop doesn't hire people who dabble (although a hardcore SQL Server shop sometimes will...). As a random example, I remember once I tried to do a bit of PL-SQL and the first hurdle I ran into was "how do you make #temp tables in PL-SQL?" When I posted that question on an Oracle forum (which took me 2 days just to figure out how to post it).........let me tell you, the answers were brutal, and demonstrated a commitment to set-based processing that that would even make Joe Celko seem like a nice person by comparison. They're sophisticated folks...
- Like so many things, because SQL Server is the most common one (especially in typical corporate America), that means A LOT of ripple effects, like:
- It is the easiest one to find documentation, examples, code snippets, and forum advice on every imaginable thing under the sun
- It makes your resume more versatile than just about anything else
- It is widely respected. (except those hardcore Oracle shops, who see it with some amount of disdain for the # of amateur dev's using it)
- SQL Server has a great free product, SQL Server Express, that you can install anywhere and practice - or even use for small businesses. (And "small" is a relative word, once you go from Access to SQL - I use it for pretty sizeable data!)
- Because it's a microsoft product, you can rest assured it plays well with Access.......and even Excel, from- and to-which you can easily execute commands or read data in or from a database using ADO
- It has a great IDE for common development use - SQL Server Management Studio (also a free install) - and on THAT point, and that one point only, the Oracle dev's have always conceded to me! (They have many tools, but the ugly and plain-jane Oracle Developer is a common one!)
But if you're looking for a career, especially if it's going to have anything to do with normal corporate USA, and given where you're at, (to me personally) SQL Server is hands down the easy choice to make - and easy to begin putting to use, too.
SQL Server has its own suite of products - some of which are also close to the #1 in their own 'right' - like SSIS for ETL work, SSAS for analysis, and SSRS for reporting.
I've seen plenty of people making VERY good money with only an intermediate knowledge at best........in the MS SQL environment.