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MS Access - is it difficult?

(7 Posts)
TrillianAstra Mon 01-Jun-09 14:27:48

Assuming I am:
a- reasonably intelligent
b- familiar with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel
c- aware of what a database is supposed to do

Is there any reason why I can't, for example, set up a very small database of contacts' phone numbers and addresses, pratice searching and sorting, and then apply for jobs that say they want me to be able to use Access?

What else does one do with a database? Oh, mail-merge. What else should I find out how to do before I claim I can use it?

throckenholt Mon 01-Jun-09 14:30:20

give it a go - can't be that hard to pick up the basics.

Molesworth Mon 01-Jun-09 14:32:32

It depends on the level of expertise that employers are asking for tbh. They might want someone who can use an in-house database that has already been set up ('use' could mean everything from basic data entry to setting up complex queries), or they might want someone who can create one or more databases which could be anything from a basic contact list to something considerably more complex than that. Anyway, having said all that, I'd say that there's no reason why you can't claim to be able to use Access if you can set up a simple database and manipulate the data in various ways. If you're fairly IT savvy and can use the other Office apps I'm sure you won't have any problems at all in picking it up!

PortAndLemon Mon 01-Jun-09 14:35:17

Data modelling (including entity-relationship diagrams or similar -- evidence of understanding one-to-many and many-to many relationships, at any rate), forms, queries (including SQL) and reporting, probably (depends what they mean by "use it", which may vary from "create your own databases" to "type numbers into this form". But if I advertised that I wanted someone to be able to use Access then that's what I'd be looking for. Being able to use VBA would be a help but is stretching more into programmer territory).

If you are going to create your own practice database you should make sure it has two or three linked tables with appropriate data entry forms (including text boxes, checkboxes, radio buttons, drop-down lists) and that you can query and run reports across multiple tables.

If you get a book on relational databases (look for something with that in the title) out of the library that should give you the theoretical background and then you can play around with Access.

FelineFine Mon 01-Jun-09 14:36:58

I think you will be okay. It's a little tricky to start with but once you get the hang of it you will be fine. I had never used it before the job i am doing now. It's fine. I like it!

AMumInScotland Mon 01-Jun-09 14:38:21

You should also practice setting up forms, as those will make it easier for other people to use your database.

Depending on the job, they may also want you to be confident using more than one table linked together - eg an orders table and a customer details table.

But the job description ought to make it clear what kind of abilities they want - in many places they may be happy if you're not scared witless at the sight of a database someone else has set up!

TrillianAstra Mon 01-Jun-09 15:17:55

Thanks everyone. I'll get started on a basic oen now - good point about making the form have different types of data entry. That way I can claim at least a basic knowledge of databases.

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