knowledge extraction for DB and VBA

pma111 used Ask the Experts™
We are looking to recruit a university graduate to assist with maintaining monitoring and developing a number of in house applications built based on MSAccess/VBA. it is a fairly junior role, but as I don't work directly with the access/VBA myself, I was wondering if you could assist in pointers for developing a few basic interview questions you'd ask any junior Access/VBA developer/admin - to provide you with some assurance they are right for the opportunity and havent just said they are competent in their application. They don't need to be pitched at level for a senior/experienced developer, but we still need to ensure they have the basics. we have also tasked our other senior  developer to develop some probing questions but Id like to reach out to the experts for some guidance too.

The problem seems to be Access/VBA is not that commonly taught at universities these days, its more common python, ruby, C/C#, oracle, MSSQL etc.
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Ryan ChongSoftware Team Lead
Perhaps back to the basic, you can ask these basic questions:

1. What is Access/VBA?
2. What's the difference between Access and VBA?
3. When can we use Access/VBA in our application/system?
4. How can we use Access/VBA to integrate to our current applications/systems?
5. Why we need to consider to use Access/VBA instead of other tools?
6. What's the advantages of using Access/VBA?
7. Is there any dependencies to use Access/VBA?

and probably you can ask them what projects they did which involve Access/VBA and how they develop that system.

There are lots of questions could be ask. You can try to ask basic as well as in-depth questions to test their knowledge. But eventually, implementation/hands-on experience is more crucial than just pure knowledge.
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Top Expert 2013
Not an interview question, but something to consider... a lot of programming languages share common theory and structure, with slight syntactical variations.  The same is true for query syntax.  Many applicants who are familiar with other languages and/or database platforms, who have never touched MS Access (eg: recent graduates) are very capable of rapidly coming up to speed in MS Access, and making excellent Junior Developers.
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer
Well the situation is pretty easy to handle...
At first is he/her a competent programmer...knows about programming and has an appetite to learn....maybe check some of his/her projects especially its code quality
If the first is OK then  its up to you to decide if you are willing to spend around 3-6 months in order to allow him/her the time to learn VBA/Ms Access..
If the answer to both questions are YES then issue resolved...
IT Project MgrVBA/SQL developer
I'm attaching some questions that I put together to assess Access/VBA knowledge of people as I have been looking within our company for someone to support existing applications that I have created in the past - perhaps this will be helpful to you..
Distinguished Expert 2017
In the UK, they use Access as a teaching tool in universities so students there have a positive view of it as a product.  In the US, "professionals" look down on it so I'd weed out anyone who thinks Access is a toy.  What you don't want to end up with is someone who is proficient with a  dot net language who is determined to remake Access in his own image.  Every programming environment has a gestalt and you need to go with the flow or you hate your tool and spend all your time fighting it instead of working with it.

The first three items in your list are programming languages, the last two are relational databases.  "Access" is BOTH.  You will find that many people have used "Access" as a database but they have never worked with an application created with Access.  "Access", the database engine is really Jet (for .mdb - A2003 and earlier - formats) or ACE (for .accdb -A2007 and newer- formats).  The Jet/ACE database engine is free and can be installed without Access since it is a stand-alone product.  It is simply a relational database that runs on a client machine rather than on a server.  It is even used to power websites.  Access, the RAD (rapid application development) tool, is the forms/reports/code used to build applications and Access, the RAD tool can use ANY back end database such as Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, etc as long as the RDBMS provides an ODBC driver.  It is not locked into using Jet or ACE.

If you can get someone to explain what I just said above, you will have found someone who would be a good choice.  Start with asking the difference between Jet and ACE and then ask what Access is.   It wasn't until the third release of Access that Jet actually came bundled in the box.  Up until then, you had to install it separately if it wasn't already installed on your PC.  Early versions of Windows used Jet to manage internal tables such as the registry, so it used to be installed with Windows.  Virtually all the bad press you see about "Access" is really pointed toward Jet and ACE.

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