I look at Excel as a gateway to data management and database programming. Let’s start with the basics on a familiar tool.

Someone asked me why I focus on using Excel to teach people how to think in data instead of Access. My answer was pretty simple. Most people in the workforce is going to have more experience with Microsoft Excel than Microsoft Access.

To introduce basic concepts so that more people understand how data works, Excel is the most familiar for my audience. I admit, more technical people will choose a database over a spreadsheet. There are situations, though, that you don’t need a database right away.

For example, if you’re starting a business and you only have 200 customers, you probably don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on software and a developer to manage that data. Maybe not even hundreds on any of the software being advertised on the internet. Maybe you still feel comfortable using paper and you can handle the admin work. It really just depends on comfort level and resources (whether its budget or knowledge of managing data).

From personal experience, I took no joy inheriting Excel files and miscellaneous database solutions that was poorly built, structured, and documented. I’m willing to bet the cause is because the folks responsible for implementing missed out on applying basic concepts. Personally, I believe the concepts are applicable even if the tool is a piece of paper and a pen.

Thoughts? Questions? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.

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