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What Has Been YOUR Access Career Path?

P: 34
Hi, All,

I just recently returned to the job market and my goal is getting 3+ years of Access developing/programming projects under my belt through an IT or regular agency before I even dare to approach an IT consulting firm. I'm going to target the IT agencies first, and if that doesn't pan out, regular job agencies. I have yet to look into online freelancing. I'm posting to ask your opinion based on how YOU started your Db building career. Has my industry research not revealed a path I should consider? How did YOU break in? Is online freelancing worth pursuing?

Thank you for your time and sharing your story (feel free to give me the real short version if you want).

Oct 16 '12 #1
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5 Replies

Expert Mod 2.5K+
P: 3,482

My short version is that I have been designing DBs for about 17 years, but it started out as a way to automate office functions or simply store data. As I changed jobs (in my non-IT career) I found more uses for DB development which applied to my job. After years of playing with Access, I became pretty good at it. Then, an opportunity opened up where I could focus on DB development full time. I was given the opportunity, because I demonstrated how vaulable an office automation DB could be.

I would consider my path to be very "non-traditional". You may want to freelance, or simple check with friends of private businesses of their needs for a DB. Most need one without even realizing it: purchase orders, receipts, inventory, suppliers--you name it.

I wish you all the best in your job search!
Oct 17 '12 #2

Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
My path was, I started out years ago doing general office work. Took an interest in computers and did some programming courses. It took a while to break from one field to the other. I took on low paying short term jobs just for the experience. Built up my reputation doing agency contract work (I still do an odd job for agencies I built up relationships with). Eventually, I went out on my own as a consultant.

So essentially, my career was built up slowly by gaining as much and as diverse experience as I could. Then building my reputation by concentrating on two or three agencies I built relationships with. Eventually, I was in a position to take on my own contracts.

So the best advice I can give is:
  • Gain experience, the more and more diverse the better.
  • Build up your reputation, work with agencies that work well with you. Ask clients you have worked well with if you can use them as recommendations. This will be invaluable over time.

Personally, I never went the path of online freelance. I did look into it a few times but generally, the decent jobs were taken by the "subscribing" freelancers and the rest wasn't worth doing. I have my own website, my linked-in profile and my reputation. That along with contacts I've built up over the years seems to work for me.

Oct 25 '12 #3

Expert Mod 100+
P: 2,321
I think the Access path might differ from most other IT paths. Access is often started by non-IT people, who fall in love with the power that access can provide.

I started my own career graduating (2007) as a Civil Engineer (Similar to Master) in Applied Physics, with micro-systems (the kind you make in a clean-room using silicon wafers) as a speciality.

I couldn't however get a job in that area, and got hired into a Risk Management Department as a consultant doing Risk analysis on railway infrastructure. One of my clients was short on hands in general and asked me if I had the time to develop a Issue tracking database, and I told them up-front and honest I didn't have a clue how to do it, my experience in Access was a MP3 database I had spent about 10 hours playing with (and never got to work btw, as I lost interest).
They didn't have anyone else, so they still wanted me to it.

I then made my first database and to be honest, I am not that proud of the result, but it was my first real database.

I got another chance (in december 2008) for a different client who needed a database to keep track of Requirements. This was a radically different setup, in which I got to work next to the 20-30 people using the database on a daily basis. With their input, the help of Bytes and places like it, I rapidly developed my skills, and have been pretty much full time developing access solutions since then.

I am still employed in the Risk Management department, and not a IT house. If I should suddenly loose my current clients, I might consider going free-lance or joining a IT house, but at current I am very satisfied where I am.
Oct 25 '12 #4

Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,768
I started learning about computers back in 1978 at School. I did an A-Level in Computer Science so I had an earlier start than most.

My main interest then was getting into computer programming, which I did for many years. I didn't do a degree at the time due to my personal circumstances, so getting a job in IT at all was extremely fortunate, but get one I did - before even the end of the Summer Holidays. I had mixed emotions about that at the time ;-)

It was all mainframes back then, so I used various computer languages on them until I had an opportunity to work for a startup that a friend of mine, whom I respected a great deal (Very experienced IT man who was then working at the same company.), from which point I got a lot of experience working with micros. Some years later on, IBM introduced the first IBM PC, from which all current PCs are derived and computers at home are conceptually derived. I should clarify by saying that I'm referring to business strength computers that were good for more than just gaming and hobbying.

As time went on and I stayed in the business I learned more about programming, but also more about a much broader range of IT, from supporting hardware, to organisational concepts, and from designing drivers for our own advanced microcomputers, to learning to use and enhance typical PC applications such as the Office Suite.

It was at Barclays de Zoete Wedd (Later morphing into Barclays Capital), the Foreign Exchange arm of Barclays Bank, that I found myself looking into what could be done for colleagues in the way of extending their desktop applications to allow them to work faster and smarter. This is where I had my first exposure to Access (Version 2.0 at that time).

I did many things since then. Became an IT manager myself responsible for the company's IT provision (on the PC and networking side. I reported to an IT director who had fuller responsibilities). During this period I found myself spending much of my energy developing Access databases to help manage the data of the company. The primary storage of the data was within an IBM Unix system, but intelligent manipulation of it, over and above what was provided by that system, including preparation for reports etc, was done by me mainly in Access (though Excel also proved very useful at times - especially for submitting formatted data to those that required it).

When I left that company I started working for myself as an Access consultant. Having had such a broad set of experiences in Access, and within the IT field generally, I find I'm very well placed to handle almost anything that can be thrown at me.
Oct 25 '12 #5

Expert Mod 10K+
P: 12,430
My training was in psychological research and my first job out of college was at a research department back in 2006. Because of the amount of data they collect and use, they had a need for databases but were understaffed in that regard. Since I had taken a one or two programming classes, they asked me to do it. That's how I got started in Access. That is also around the time I came to Bytes.

I then moved onto a different department where they used Access as a front end and SQL Server as a back end. It was here that I greatly expanded my knowledge of other languages, but my database knowledge did not grow as much as we did not have direct access to the SQL Server.

It wasn't until my current job where I deal almost exclusively with SQL Server that my database knowledge rounded out.
Oct 25 '12 #6

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