Sean Collins

sean [at] seanmcollins [dot] com

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sean [at] coreitpro [dot] com

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profile for Sean at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

I'm Not Alone!

Why on Earth do Business Schools Teach Microsoft Access?: TWoB

I’m glad that I’m not the only person that thinks it’s one of the worst ideas ever conceived. The writing staff at Rixstep are riled up about today's programmers. I’m riled up about the similar situation when it comes to databases. Access doesn’t teach students to be proficient in SQL (since first off, IT ISN'T SQL!111!!!hexbinary) and also encourages sloppy design decisions.

First, “fundamentals of database” includes at least two things. The first is database design. The second is SQL. If the B-Schools are teaching fundamentals of database, why in the hell are their students using Access’s proprietary query builder instead of writing SQL, and what is this bullshit about Access’s “forms” and “reports.”


I took a database course the previous semester and found myself in the same situation. The majority of the class was taught using Microsoft Access with extremely outdated materials (No update since Access ‘95) with only a few weeks in the last semester taught using Microsoft SQL Server. I was very unhappy with this because I was hoping for a course taught with vanilla SQL.

I took matters into my own hands and decided to write my final project for my database class using PHP and MySQL.

Since I had some cursory experience with MySQL prior to taking the database course I wasn’t expecting any difficulty in developing the system. What I was more worried about was working with group members. Sadly, since they only had experience with Microsoft Access they were not able to contribute to the project in any meaningful way. I couldn’t get them to do anything more than a trivial “SELECT” statement.

That’s the price you pay for using Microsoft Access.