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kaka
post Mar 19 2019, 10:11 AM
Post#1



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Joined: 13-March 19



I am not sure if this is the right place to post this so if there is another, better place, please feel free to move this thread.
nyway, I am looking at getting Microsoft Certified in both Excel and Access (for starters), but do not really live very closely to any physical schools where I can attend a course that would prep me for the certification exam. I have looked around online, even the microsoft website, but there is a bit if maze of different publications to consider and I want to be able to find something I can do at my own pace, and will prepare me well for the exams.
Suggestions, thoughts? smile.gif
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GroverParkGeorge
post Mar 19 2019, 10:42 AM
Post#2


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Welcome to UtterAccess. I am not sure you'll find what you're looking for exactly.

Microsoft does offer many certifications, and probably has classes aligned with them. However, there really isn't a certification that would be recognized industry-wide.

You'll get recommendations for specific courses that some people have taken, of course. The most important thing to learn for MS Access, though, is going to be a find understanding of Relational Database design, i.e. Normalization of your tables.

--------------------
My Real Name Is George. Grover Park Consulting is where I do business.
How to Ask a Good Question
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mediator_ram
post Apr 25 2019, 06:06 PM
Post#3



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Joined: 22-April 19



You can take up the Microsoft On-Demand courses which are online.
Otherwise, you can consider sites like udemy where there will be instructors to help you via online itself.
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MadPiet
post Apr 25 2019, 06:28 PM
Post#4



Posts: 3,331
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One of the big challenges with learning Access isn't Access at all - it's learning enough design theory stuff (normal forms etc) so that you are creating a database that can be queried. If you don't design your database to be queryable, then you're wasting your time. And you need design theory to know how to design your database properly and why it should be that way. If you don't understand that and try to treat Access like Excel, you will end up extremely frustrated.
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WildBird
post Apr 25 2019, 09:30 PM
Post#5


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From: Auckland, Little Australia


My 5 cents plus + GST worth.
I'm Microsoft certified in Access and Excel (MOUS - Microsoft Office User Specialist). I did this back in 2000 or 2001. Not sure if they have changed, but it was mostly Access specific stuff, not so much relational database design. Things like to get a link to an external excel file, what menu option would you use. To make a field a primary key, what would you do? Stuff like that, not really database design stuff (like knowing what an index is and what primary and foreign keys are used for etc). This was a long time ago that i did this, but I did these to get something to add to my CV. If I was hiring someone, I would not care about these certifications, I consider them useless in terms of database design, but most hiring people etc dont know that.

--------------------
Beer, natures brain defragging tool.
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tina t
post Apr 25 2019, 10:35 PM
Post#6



Posts: 6,120
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From: SoCal, USA


i'll throw in my two cents with WildBird and Piet and George: i've looked at a lot of online classes for Access, and taken two or three. they help you learn the basics of using the software...which is useful, of course, but doesn't prepare you to design a relational data model. it's a bit like taking somebody who is illiterate, teaching them to recognize the letters of the alphabet, and telling them that's all they need to know to write a commercially successful novel.

a certification of some kind may impress a HR rep looking to fill a job opening with a body - and if you need a job, that's nothing to pooh-pooh. fool them, by all means, but don't fool yourself. getting a real education in relational design and learning to build a solid working relational database app is not an easy road. but it absolutely is do-able. if you're serious about it, take a look at the beginner's reading list here on the UA website; i think the link is on the Home page.

good luck, and come on back when you need help on the journey (it's a never-ending journey, btw). the light's always on here.

hth
tina

--------------------
"the wheel never stops turning"
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WildBird
post Apr 25 2019, 10:51 PM
Post#7


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From: Auckland, Little Australia


QUOTE
a certification of some kind may impress a HR rep looking to fill a job opening with a body


This is the point. The certification is on Access, and not database design. You could pass this exam, and have very little knowledge of building a database. You might have years of experience building databases, but using different systems, such as FoxPro, SQL Server etc, and attempt the exam and fail. I have years of experience, with FoxPro, SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, and Access and passed the certification. So at the end of the day, you might have 3 people attempt the certification. The one with most experience might not pass, and of the 2 who did pass, 1 has no experience or knowledge. Makes the certification kind of useless in my opinion, but it may impress a HR rep. That is the only value I see in this particular certification.

--------------------
Beer, natures brain defragging tool.
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MadPiet
post Apr 25 2019, 10:57 PM
Post#8



Posts: 3,331
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Tina's advice is spot on. learning database design and normalization is hard. (I would be a whole lot harder than most people think it is.) You have to work at it, because there are parts of it that are not at all intuitive. If you put in enough work, the "rules" (Normal forms) make a lot more sense. The good thing about learning the "rules" is that they apply to any relational database engine (Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc), so you can practice on Access and then later learn SQL Server (it's a steep learning curve, but doable).
I've had to work on "databases" that were designed by people that didn't understand how to apply the Normal forms, and it was a real mess. And the sad thing was that if they designed properly to begin with, I could have done the job in maybe two days. The theory part helps a lot because you come to understand what will work and, maybe more importantly, designs that will not work, and how to fix them. takes a fair amount of work, but it's absolutely worth it.

I had to take one of those silly Access "tests" before they would interview me for that job - and the questions were, in my opinion, not really indicative of whether the test taker really understood what goes into creating a well-designed database. The test was stupid easy, and completely worthless - they assume an ideal world and usually an existing properly designed database. And when things are not designed properly, you need to understand (1) what's wrong, (2) WHY it's wrong, and (3) how to fix it. And all those pointy-clicky tests don't even come close to testing that. For my money, I could care less if you knew where all the features are hiding. I would be much more interested in knowing if you know how and more importantly when to use things.
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JonSmith
post Apr 26 2019, 06:20 AM
Post#9


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QUOTE
Not sure if they have changed, but it was mostly Access specific stuff, not so much relational database design. Things like to get a link to an external excel file, what menu option would you use.


Oof, these tests are even more lame than I thought.

For my 2 cents.
I have zero certifications. But an in a high paying role as a C# developer in a flagship robotics team for one of the biggest media companies in the world. I started off just messing around with VBA and used it to make my job easier and built on that over the past 10 years. I also got lucky with some job opportunities tongue.gif

I would disagree that proper relational design is so hard and counter intuitive but do recognise alot of people struggle with it.

I think it boils down to if you want to learn, forget these courses as there are better avenues, if you want to flesh out your CV, which is certainly worthwhile and could make the difference to getting an interview. Go for it.
If you set out with those expectations clear I think you'll know if its worthwhile or not.
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DanielPineault
post Apr 26 2019, 09:23 AM
Post#10


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HR people do look at these, if you have them. I've consulted with a couple HR departments in companies and was floored at how they had no clue what these titles/abbreviations stood for, nor had any concept of their value, or not. So if you want to do this for 'hireability' then go for it, it cannot hurt.

If you want to learn, then the certifications won't help. You are best to read, review demos, look at the UA Code Archive for instance, ... that's were you'll learn the most. Also, be very careful with Microsoft templates as historically many are horribly designed (they have improved though)! If you are simply looking to learn, start with http://www.UtterAccess.com/forum/Newcomer-...t-t1998783.html


@JonSmith -
QUOTE
I would disagree that proper relational design is so hard and counter intuitive
What I've found is you either have this ability or you don't. For some of us it is obvious just looking at the data, and for others they could analyze the data for weeks and still be no further ahead. (Just like some people are artists, musician, ...and others not) It's an ability that some people are gifted with.

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2019 Microsoft MVP, UA VIP, EE Distinguished Expert 2018)
Professional Help: https://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: https://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...(you are responsible for your choices and actions)
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JonSmith
post Apr 26 2019, 09:34 AM
Post#11


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Quite right Daniel, thats kind of my point.

For me, spoken languages are hard, I live in the Netherlands though and interact with a huge variety of nationalities here. It amazes me sometimes how easily some people can speak so many languages fluently and effortlessly.
Same with music.

So my point is more that, in the same way we don't say learning a language is hard or learning music is hard I feel the same caveat applies to relational design.
Some of us can naturally pick it up, some need to work abit but can get it and well some data engineers, you wonder how they ever got qualified cause they are clearly clueless and will never get it.

I think making out that its so hard can deter some people so trying to avoid that! Try it out, see if it makes sense to you!!
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MadPiet
post Apr 26 2019, 11:59 AM
Post#12



Posts: 3,331
Joined: 27-February 09



Can't say I agree with the "you're just born with it" claim. At the beginning, normalization and especially foreign keys baffled me. Once I got my head around that, the rest was easy. It may take some time to do that though. Once you understand what normalization is about and how to spot good vs bad designs, it's a whole lot easier and more natural.
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DanielPineault
post Apr 26 2019, 03:10 PM
Post#13


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"you're just born with it"
Not normalization per say, but the mindset to analyze and breakdown data intuitively. You can be taught many things, but seeing data in a certain manner, no. You either have that instinct or you don't. The technical stuff PK, FK,... that is built upon a basic ability in my opinion. This all comes back to those personality tests they perform... emotional, analytical, ... personalities...

But that's just my impression. I never read a single book or took any classes (on programming or databases) and I knew that data should be broken down and linked by (what I eventually found out were PK and FK). It was simple instinct/ or what I perceived at the time to be common sense. Like anything else, given enough time, anyone can learn anything, but in a very general sense you either have that basic skillset or you don't.

Just as much as you'll never make me into an artist, I just don't have that capability, yet for others it oozes out of them without effort to create beautiful masterpieces with little to no effort.

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2019 Microsoft MVP, UA VIP, EE Distinguished Expert 2018)
Professional Help: https://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: https://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...(you are responsible for your choices and actions)
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tina t
post Apr 26 2019, 03:19 PM
Post#14



Posts: 6,120
Joined: 11-November 10
From: SoCal, USA


with all due respect <bows to Daniel>, i must agree with Piet here. relational design principles certainly didn't come easy to me when i started out. heck, it took me three months of reading, re-reading, and pounding my head against a wall, before i finally "got" the concept of macros (yes, i know that's mechanics not theory). but just illustrates that i'm no whiz at computer stuff! but i finally did get it, re relational design, and have slowly gotten better at it, over the years. i'm living proof that a person with no formal education or training in programming can learn to design solid working relational database apps, if you're willing to apply the elbow grease and keep at it.

hth
tina

--------------------
"the wheel never stops turning"
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MadPiet
post Apr 26 2019, 05:08 PM
Post#15



Posts: 3,331
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Normalizing an existing model is one thing, building a useable database from a description is something else. Those can be really challenging. I had one professor in university who was really good at explaining how to do that. His advice wasn't rocket science, for sure, but it was another way of looking at the modeling problem that made much more sense to me than everything else I had heard or read. Gets really funky when you're dealing with a large collection of relationshps (verbs) in your ERD and you have one relationship related to another, which is where things get interesting, because you have to figure out how to model that in a database.
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JonSmith
post Apr 29 2019, 03:13 AM
Post#16


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QUOTE
But that's just my impression. I never read a single book or took any classes (on programming or databases) and I knew that data should be broken down and linked by (what I eventually found out were PK and FK). It was simple instinct/ or what I perceived at the time to be common sense. Like anything else, given enough time, anyone can learn anything, but in a very general sense you either have that basic skillset or you don't.

Just as much as you'll never make me into an artist, I just don't have that capability, yet for others it oozes out of them without effort to create beautiful masterpieces with little to no effort.


I'm with Daniel here, I came to normalisation ideas on my own without reading a book and before I started using Access and to me it is intuitive, I was 18 I think and trying to fix a spreadsheet for allocating time spent with a patient and it didn't work when you saw the same patient more than twice in a day. I created a beast of a thing that did a basic relational design, it was super awkward because, well it was in Excel and my VBA skills at the time were limited.

Unlike something like Art I think you can still learn normalisation and be really good at it, it just takes alot more work.

Also another one of us that doesn't take classes or read books. I think we all congregate here tongue.gif
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