Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do I Really Need to Learn Microsoft Access?


If you're taking training at an educational facility or just trying to upgrade your training so you can be a better administrative assistant you may be wondering about Access and how much you really need it. A lot of people put off learning it because, well, it is kind of hard at first. But it is worth knowing.

First, you should understand what Access is. It is a database creation and management software that can store, sort, and manipulate data. Clear as mud right? Well, I can make it easier to understand by telling you how administrative assistants often use it.

Do you know Excel? You probably do already or are learning it in an Administrative Professional course. Well, imagine that you have 50 Excel spreadsheets and each spreadsheet has 50 columns and 50,000 rows. That's a lot of information isn't it? Oh, and don't forget that each row and column is a different type of information. Sometimes the information in the rows are found in columns on other spreadsheets. Is your mind boggled yet?

Ok, now one day your boss says to you, "I need to know how many of our customers in Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec are spending more than $10,000 a year and I want you to go back five years. But I only want to know about the customers that are making purchases at our Store A, Store D, and Store M. Oh, and I only want the customers that have used MasterCard to pay us." You do have all that information but it is spread across 10 of those spreadsheets. Are you crying in the corner yet? Well, if you don't know Access you likely are!

However, if you know Access already you are quite likely to have all that information in a database in Access and because you have those databases you can use queries to pull all that information together into a table and present your boss with a nice, tidy report in a fairly short period of time.

So, to answer the question - yes, you do need to learn Access. Access will help you:

- handle large volumes of data
- answer complex questions
- combine data from multiple tables and databases.

If you're interested in developing these skills and more as an Administrative Professional, contact us at the college today!

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