Today I surface from a crazy month of studying and testing. I found out fairly late in the game that Microsoft had given thousands of vouchers for free access to their online training and certification tests for Office and IT products to various states, and that Alabama was one of them, and that I could get some through our local career center. I then became a fixture of the responsible officer's inbox and the career center's computer lab, and this morning I passed the last of the certification exams for Excel, Access, Word and Powerpoint 2007.
I've used Office since it was a collection of tools that weren't called that, and although I have some skills, I knew improving them wouldn't be a waste of time. Also, a standardized piece of paper that explains that I am indeed rather "familiar" with Excel, Word, Access, and Powerpoint is a nice thing to have, when one is jobhunting.
I hadn't expected to find how much I liked working with Access and Excel. I have all sorts of ideas for home databases, now, that spit out ingredient costing sheets, or remind us to do house maintenance based on fairly complicated schedules.
(I wish MS Project had been available in the Elevate America program, but no such luck. I'm not sure how I would have gotten to it, anyway - I've taken 27 online courses in the last month, and the other aspects of my life would like some attention now, thankyouverymuch. Ironic, that.)
Although I am tired, it feels good to get back in the groove of studying, and I am casting about for what to work on next. The bits of coding required by Access are SQL, which I'd like to learn better, so as to be a more effective data retriever. (Sounds like a breed of dog.) I'd also like to learn more about how one designs databases: general theory, sketching techniques, if that makes any sense. How do you decide how the structure will work? Are there a lot of false leads? How do you recover?