Dear Readers!

In this post I’m sharing with you the certificate I earned for completing the The Ultimate Microsoft Access 2013 Training Bundle found on Udemy. To be truthful, I completed the majority of this course weeks ago, and only left out some unimportant/irrelevant topics, such as WebApps (already deprecated), OBCD and SQL server (well worth a separate course of their own), touch screen facilities (nobody uses with a desktop app) etc. Since there is no way to get your certificate unless you watch through all sections, and I was more concerned about useful topics (see below), the certificate had to wait a bit, at least until the point when I could allocate some time to watch the rest of the videos.
For interested people, here is an incomplete list of topics that were covered:

  • Tables (design, relationships, field properties, data types, field size, masks, etc.)
  • Queries (select, join, append, update, delete)
  • Forms (design, fields, subforms, properties, etc.)
  • User-centered design (separation of front- and backend, setting passwords, encryption, locks, hiding settings and menus, providing navigation forms, buttons, data export capabilities, etc.)
  • very basic VBA and SQL programming
  • and some others

So the logical question would now be: why would I start doing a course on Access? Well, the above topics already give the right answers I think, but to be more precise, Access has the advantage of being able to touch on all of these topics in a single package, and more importantly, it allows you to start facing all these very early in the learning process. By the time you finish your first semi-complicated (at least from a beginner’s perspective) project, you already had to face all the major UI problems, like

  • how to present raw data in an easy to digest form
  • how to separate intuitively read-only and writable fields (separate modifier form or put everything in one place)
  • what is the logic according to which you connect your forms to give the impression of completeness on the application level
  • where to put buttons, how many, what they should do, are there any superfluous functions, are there missing functions, etc.
  • are there enough checks for actions to ensure data integrity (not strictly UI, but a save button might do a lot of checks)
  • what color schemes, decorations, etc. to use so they don’t obscure or overemphasize intent

Non UI related problems that one will face are:

  • proper naming of objects (it gets out of hand very quickly if some naming standard is not used)
  • code organization (function size, how to reuse code, in how many separate modules (aka. translation units) should one put functions, should some functions be private?, etc.)
  • storage efficiency (proper field length, choosing the right data types, avoiding data duplication)
  • security (for both data and application)

One can easily see, that simply by using Access, one will face very common and very real problems that do not restrict themselves to being present in Access alone, but are found almost everywhere else as well. So to quickly get back to the original question of why would anyone start playing around with Access, well, the answers should be really obvious now.

Once again, thanks for reading.