SQL….what?

My head used to spin when I sat in meetings with my company’s IT “experts”. They talked in codes.  Here are some of the terminology they used to scare the heck out of me when I was just out of college and what they actually mean in layman’s terms.

  1. Push and pull delivery methods: Push means the “experts” will write codes to deliver the data, reports or whatever to you. Pull means you, the end users, actually have to do the work to get the reports. 
  2. SQL: stands for Structured Query Language.  If you think you are just an accountant and don’t need to know this, think again.  You can save lots and lots of time by just knowing a few simple “select statments”. That’s code for go get a SQL book and start reading. I recommend this book. It’s easy to read. Hey, if I can understand it, so can you.
  3. Microsoft Excel – I absolutely love Excel.  A lot of the formulas that accounants like myself need to know can be easily calculated in Excel.  Now, Microsoft is getting fancier with the bells and whistles it just added to Excel 2010.  You see, Microsoft wants to stay competitive in the new Business Intelligence and Data Mining business that just exploded in the past few years. To get you started, plop on a chair at Starbucks with this book and your computer right by you.  When you are done, I want you to take the Microsoft Office Specialist test.  Find out more at www.microsoft.com.
  4. Microsoft Access: I have a love-hate relationship with this tool. I love it because I can do so much with it. I can analyze hundreds of thousands records in minutes. I can build forms to collect data with the wizard in seconds.  But, MS Access requires some patience and care.  MS Access and MS Excel combined are pair of useful tools for any analysts.  I recommend this book.

When you get a good handle on these tools, branch out. Learn about Oracle, HTML, VBA, and other tools. What you will see is that although these tools are different, they are very similar to one other. 

Today, the IT “experts” will still try to confuse me with back-end and front-end and this and that vocabulary.  I am no longer afraid, however, to stop and ask them, “Uh, what do you mean?” And, like my mentors, I have taught some of these IT “experts” a few things about technology. 

I write this blog to encourage business analysts, accountants, and other business people to get to know technology better.  If you can be both the analyst with analytical skills and the programmer with system-related logics, you can save your companies a lot of money and even wow some decent bosses.

Good luck.

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