Senior Excel Programmer



  • SENIOR
    EXCEL PROGRAMMER:

    looking for a Senior Excel programmer,
    immediate hire.

    Must have minimum 3-5 years experience
    Sr. level/ advanced Excel programming ,
    example, advanced functions, pivot reports, micros, VBA, with additional
    knowledge /experience in Crystal reports, Access, SQL Server, are
    considered pluses. Most likely contract to perm. Excellent pay rate.

     

    Do I need to point out the WTF ?  

      



  • 3-5 years experiences with micros?



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    SENIOR
    EXCEL PROGRAMMER:

    looking for a Senior Excel programmer,
    immediate hire.

    Must have minimum 3-5 years experience
    Sr. level/ advanced Excel programming ,
    example, advanced functions, pivot reports, micros, VBA, with additional
    knowledge /experience in Crystal reports, Access, SQL Server, are
    considered pluses. Most likely contract to perm. Excellent pay rate.

     

    Do I need to point out the WTF ?  

      

    [/quote]

     

    Micros? I don't think Excel even existed when we called personal computers that...

    At least they want VBA experiance, that just about qualifies as "programming".



  • I just love that there is now a job title, and it's corresponding
    Senior ranking, for fixing an application that should have been done in
    the first place with a real database and real programming.

     

    Hmm ... need more bandaids ... 



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    SENIOR
    EXCEL PROGRAMMER:

    looking for a Senior Excel programmer,
    immediate hire.

    Must have minimum 3-5 years experience
    Sr. level/ advanced Excel programming ,
    example, advanced functions, pivot reports, micros, VBA, with additional
    knowledge /experience in Crystal reports, Access, SQL Server, are
    considered pluses. Most likely contract to perm. Excellent pay rate.

     

    Do I need to point out the WTF ?  

      

    [/quote]

    Yes, can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department or a non-technical manager or something.




  • [quote user="Jeff S"][quote user="jminkler"]

    SENIOR EXCEL PROGRAMMER: looking for a Senior Excel programmer, immediate hire. Must have minimum 3-5 years experience Sr. level/ advanced Excel programming , example, advanced functions, pivot reports, micros, VBA, with additional knowledge /experience in Crystal reports, Access, SQL Server, are considered pluses. Most likely contract to perm. Excellent pay rate.

     

    Do I need to point out the WTF ?  

      

    [/quote]

    Yes, can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department or a non-technical manager or something.
    [/quote]

    That may be true.  But you still have to pity whoever "wins" this job.  The requirements tell you exactly what you are walking into.   A SQL database somewhere that holds a state table complete with StateIDs and all that goodness. A Word document that holds programming logic.  An Excel file that holds all the critical transaction data.  An Access DB that hold usernames and password and another Excel Spreadsheet that acts as the Dashboard for all of this steaming pile of...



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    Yes,
    can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos
    WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be
    "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department
    or a non-technical manager or something.

    [/quote]

    The
    problem is see that is constantly popping up in my area, is that jobs
    are being posted to "bandaid" systems that were designed without much
    thought. For one, they are using Excel as a database, Access and SQL
    Server a plus? what does that mean? why do the have both? why do you
    need pivot tables when you can do them in SQL? There's "advanced"
    functions in Excel? Last time I checked Crystal Reports was a crashing
    waste of disk space.  And to top it off, they don't really know
    what they need, hence contract to perm.  And since when does the
    use of Excel require a "Senior" title? as opposed to what, somebody who
    actually knows what they are doing? There is a reason you don't see this
    title a lot, after a while you should be going...  there has to be
    a better way to do this.

     

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    Last time I checked Crystal Reports was a crashing
    waste of disk space.

    [/quote]

     

    As I've said before, Crystal Reports is rock-solid for quite a number of my clients.  Perhaps yours have flakier workstations, or on the other end perhaps they have larger volumes of data (I do know of one report offhand that runs out of memory and crashes unless you split the inventory into sub-ranges; probably fixable with a view or stored procedure, I'm waiting for the client to approve spending the time to do so).

     



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    Yes, can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department or a non-technical manager or something.

    [/quote]

    It sounds to me like you are the perfect man for this job.
     



  • [quote user="emurphy"]

    [quote user="jminkler"]

    Last time I checked Crystal Reports was a crashing
    waste of disk space.

    [/quote] 

    As
    I've said before, Crystal Reports is rock-solid for quite a number of
    my clients.  Perhaps yours have flakier workstations, or on the
    other end perhaps they have larger volumes of data (I do know of one
    report offhand that runs out of memory and crashes unless you split the
    inventory into sub-ranges; probably fixable with a view or stored
    procedure, I'm waiting for the client to approve spending the time to
    do so).

    [/quote]

    Well, to give credit to it ... I have not
    used it since version 6 or 7, and always on a machine with Visual
    Studio installed on it. Computers without VS seem to fair better. 



  • I would apply for the job, but I already enjoy my current position as an HTML programmer.



  • [quote user="R.Flowers"]I would apply for the job, but I already enjoy my current position as an HTML programmer.
    [/quote]

    Is that a "Senior" HTML "programmer"?



  • [quote user="rmr"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    Yes, can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department or a non-technical manager or something.

    [/quote]

    It sounds to me like you are the perfect man for this job.
     

    [/quote]

    I might very well be. Still don't get what any of this has to do with anything that you guys are saying.  A senior Excel programmer might just be responsible for writing reports that pull data from databases and generate pivot tables and charts programmatically.  That's perfect use for Excel programming.  Or doing some data modelling or forecasting or budgeting and things that are useful and easy to do in Excel which then go back into the data.  Who knows for sure?  Do you?

    I love how people jump to conclusions and get all excited and immediately assume that this means that the system is storing data in Excel files and running mission critical server applications using VBA. 

    Even worse is when a small company has a few useful macros or reports or similiar things using Excel or Access that work fine until a "real" programmer insists that you've got to make it more enterprisey with XML, AJAX, java, web services, Oracle, and so on.  Everything has it's place.  Who's to say that this company doesn't just need a guy who can write reports and VBA macros in Excel ?

    If I ask "excuse me, can I borrow your scissors?" do you immediately start thinking "what an idiot, this guy is probably trying to perform a major surgery on his dog using only scissors and some band aids, I've seen it a million times before!"  Consider drawing conclusions and evaluating things based on facts.

    Sometimes this site cracks me up.  A WTF is like a nickname:  they should occur and be discovered naturally, not forced.  Don't try so hard to find fault in every little thing that you read or see. 



  • Go ahead and google "Senior Excel Programmer" with quotes ... and
    you'll get 3 whole finds, 2 are this job posting. What you say ??? only
    2 of these openings exist in the WORLD ???  yeah, there must be a
    REAL need for these people....   

    1) You can do pivot tables in SQL 

    2) Not arguing that Excel doesn't have a place.

    3) Sure, it "works just fine" now ... but what happens when it gets larger and corrupt?

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    Yes,
    can you please point it out for me.  I don't consider typos
    WTF-worthy, do you?  That's all I see here ("micros" should be
    "macros"). Obviously it's a job description written by an HR department
    or a non-technical manager or something.

    [/quote]

    The
    problem is see that is constantly popping up in my area, is that jobs
    are being posted to "bandaid" systems that were designed without much
    thought. For one, they are using Excel as a database, Access and SQL
    Server a plus? what does that mean? why do the have both? why do you
    need pivot tables when you can do them in SQL? There's "advanced"
    functions in Excel? Last time I checked Crystal Reports was a crashing
    waste of disk space.  And to top it off, they don't really know
    what they need, hence contract to perm.  And since when does the
    use of Excel require a "Senior" title? as opposed to what, somebody who
    actually knows what they are doing? There is a reason you don't see this
    title a lot, after a while you should be going...  there has to be
    a better way to do this.

     

    [/quote]

    So much stuff in that post to comment on ,  I don't know where to begin .....

    If you think that pivotting data for presentation should be done in SQL and not in Excel, then you have a lot to learn about relational databases and the concept of the presentation  layer versus the data layer.  Excel is a great presentation layer to interface with a relational db, with good pivotting features.  It's very common to use it as a front end for data. Pivotting data in SQL should just about never be done unless you have a small set of predefined columns. The last thing you ever want to do in your database is generate dynamic resultsets with dynamic sql statements that return varying numbers of columns from call to call.  Present and format your data using your front end, never in your database.

    As for advanced functions in Excel, of course there are -- different lookup functions, conditional sums,  financial functions like loan amortization and others that I certainl haven't used.

    Why do you think they are using Excel as a database? Where does it say that?

    Finally, as for Crystal Reports being a "crashing waste of disk space" -- it can be flakey, but it works.  Very well in fact.  I've been using it for 8 years now in different versions, and while it can drive you nuts, it's very powerful.

    Sounds like you are a "hard-core l33t programmer" who doesn't understand that there are people out there like financial analysts who also use technology to get their job done, and often Excel is the perfect tool for the job for them.



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    Go ahead and google "Senior Excel Programmer" with quotes ... and you'll get 3 whole finds, 2 are this job posting. What you say ??? only 2 of these openings exist in the WORLD ???  yeah, there must be a REAL need for these people....   

    [/quote]

    Well, there are about 11,000 finds for "Excel programmer"...

    And this site is looking for a junior Excel programmer!

    Thanks, Jeff, for the alternate view.  Sometimes it's important to follow a "Keep it simple, stupid!" philosophy.



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    Go ahead and google "Senior Excel Programmer" with quotes ... and
    you'll get 3 whole finds, 2 are this job posting. What you say ??? only
    2 of these openings exist in the WORLD ???  yeah, there must be a
    REAL need for these people....   

    1) You can do pivot tables in SQL 

    2) Not arguing that Excel doesn't have a place.

    3) Sure, it "works just fine" now ... but what happens when it gets larger and corrupt?

     [/quote]

    I think I already commented on the wording of the job posting being off, probably due to it being written by a non-tech person. Chances are a company with these needs has a small or non-existant IT department and this was written by a controller or financial analyst or something like that. It's clearly a reporting position, which benefits greatly if the person in that position knows how to write macros and reports using the technologies mentioned. 

    Again, if you want to be nitpicky, that's your right I suppose, but it makes you sound petty. 
     



  • But they have SQL Server ??



  • [quote user="jminkler"]But they have SQL Server ??
    [/quote]

     

    again, you seem to be confused.  Excel is a great front-end  to a database.  So is MS Acess.  So is Crystal Reports.  Who knows how their raw data is stored or where it comes from? SQL Server would of course be perfect for that  .... why do you assume that because a company is using some Excel macros that is means they are storing a data warehouse in an Excel file??? In fact, since you seem to enjoy drawing conclusions to things without all the facts, wouldn't you agree that just mentioning SQL Server in the add kind of implies that they don't do this and that their data probably is stored in SQL Server?

    You are aware of the concept of how a client-server works, right?  SQL Server is a  ... well, it's a server.  that should be obvious.  Excel, Crystal, Access, and other toosl are clients that access the server.  It really almost kind of makes sense if you stop and think about it. You don't use one thing or the other, you use them together to complement each other.  SQL Server alone doens't have much of an interface for the end users!  If you use these tools properly, they work great together.  Use them wrong, like ANY tool, of course you'll have a mess. 

    If the data is stored in SQL, and I want to analyze it, I could ask you as a l33t programmer to write a different stored procedure for every single conceivable way that I'd ever wnat to slice and dice and summarize the data, along with different forms or web pages or whatever to view it in every possible conceivable way, and you'd end up writing for me 1,000 stored procs and creating 500 different forms each week.  Or, we could return some raw, summarized data back into Excel using VBA or linked data or OLEDB or whatnot and then you can use a simple Excel pivot table to filter, sort, group, aggregate and do all kinds of things with the data -- all instantly, with no programming needed other than establishing the intial data feeds.  Which scenerio makes more sense to you?

    Again, remember that there are different people out there with different needs and different situations in the real world other than what you might have experienced.

     



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    So much stuff in that post to comment on ,  I don't know where to begin .....

    If
    you think that pivotting data for presentation should be done in SQL
    and not in Excel, then you have a lot to learn about relational
    databases and the concept of the presentation  layer versus the
    data layer.  Excel is a great presentation layer to interface with
    a relational db, with good pivotting features.  It's very common
    to use it as a front end for data. Pivotting data in SQL should just
    about never be done unless you have a small set of predefined columns.
    The last thing you ever want to do in your database is generate dynamic
    resultsets with dynamic sql statements that return varying numbers of
    columns from call to call.  Present and format your data using
    your front end, never in your database.

    As for advanced
    functions in Excel, of course there are -- different lookup functions,
    conditional sums,  financial functions like loan amortization and
    others that I certainl haven't used.

    [/quote]

    I
    am not saying build the functionality into SQL itself, I am saying run
    SQL against the database to create the pivot table.  Yes, Excel is
    great at presenting a small set of data ( @ 65,000) any more than that
    and you have a mightmare of sheets scattered all over. Which is where I
    assume Crystal Reports comes in. Problem is, you could have just rolled
    up the data to begin with in SQL.


    Sounds like you are a "hard-core l33t programmer" who doesn't understand that there are people out there like financial analysts who also use technology to get their job done, and often Excel is the perfect tool for the job for them.

    Hmm this reminds me of my first job, aside from programming I was tasked to "take the shipping slips and enter them into an Excel sheet". After about a half hour of watching the girl who currently did it try to expalin it to me I told her "I will be right back", and promptly came back with a print out.

    "What is that?"

    "The shipping records"

    "That I just entered into the sheet?"

    "No"

    "Then what is it?"

    "It's already in the database"

    "Then why do I spend the three least favorite hours of my life entering in this information?"

    "That's a good question"

    I went to my boss, and asked him why I was to do this, he said ..."Cause I couldn't figure out the SQL statement to get the right report ..."

      



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    I
    am not saying build the functionality into SQL itself, I am saying run
    SQL against the database to create the pivot table.  Yes, Excel is
    great at presenting a small set of data ( @ 65,000) any more than that
    and you have a mightmare of sheets scattered all over. Which is where I
    assume Crystal Reports comes in. Problem is, you could have just rolled
    up the data to begin with in SQL.

    [/quote]

    Yes, you filter and summarize the raw data in SQL and return it.  You then pivot it in Excel. You don't return all data, just the summarized data ready for pivotting.  Using Excel pivot tables dosnt' mean you can't work with summarized data!


    Hmm this reminds me of my first job, aside from programming I was tasked to "take the shipping slips and enter them into an Excel sheet". After about a half hour of watching the girl who currently did it try to expalin it to me I told her "I will be right back", and promplty came back with a print out.

    "What is that?"

    "The shipping records"

    "That I just entered into the sheet?"

    "No"

    "Then what is it?"

    "It's already in the database"

    "Then why do I spend the three least favorite hours of my life entering in this information?"

    "That's a good question"

    I went to my boss, and asked him why I was to do this, he said ..."Cause I couldn't figure out the SQL statement to get the right report ..."

    That's a wonderful little interlude, I enjoyed the story, but let's get back to the discussion at hand.



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    If the data is stored in SQL, and I want to
    analyze it, I could ask you as a l33t programmer to write a different
    stored procedure for every single conceivable way that I'd ever wnat to
    slice and dice and summarize the data, along with different forms or
    web pages or whatever to view it in every possible conceivable way, and
    you'd end up writing for me 1,000 stored procs and creating 500
    different forms each week.  Or, we could return some raw,
    summarized data back into Excel using VBA or linked data or OLEDB or
    whatnot and then you can use a simple Excel pivot table to filter,
    sort, group, aggregate and do all kinds of things with the data -- all
    instantly, with no programming needed other than establishing the
    intial data feeds.  Which scenerio makes more sense to you?

    [/quote]

    No, I do "get it" cause I spent a better part of my career answering the call of small business that are frantic cause thier Access or Excel "Business in  a box " application just got corrupt, broken, outlived the application, or whatever. ...

    There are other tools besides the ones that all the slaves use ... 



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    That's a wonderful little interlude, I enjoyed the story, but let's get back to the discussion at hand.

    [/quote]

    That's the point, they were wasting time and money cause "It was easier than finding the right solution". 



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    If the data is stored in SQL, and I want to
    analyze it, I could ask you as a l33t programmer to write a different
    stored procedure for every single conceivable way that I'd ever wnat to
    slice and dice and summarize the data, along with different forms or
    web pages or whatever to view it in every possible conceivable way, and
    you'd end up writing for me 1,000 stored procs and creating 500
    different forms each week.  Or, we could return some raw,
    summarized data back into Excel using VBA or linked data or OLEDB or
    whatnot and then you can use a simple Excel pivot table to filter,
    sort, group, aggregate and do all kinds of things with the data -- all
    instantly, with no programming needed other than establishing the
    intial data feeds.  Which scenerio makes more sense to you?

    [/quote]

    No, I do "get it" cause I spent a better part of my career answering the call of small business that are frantic cause thier Access or Excel "Business in  a box " application just got corrupt, broken, outlived the application, or whatever. ...

    There are other tools besides the ones that all the slaves use ... 

    [/quote]

    What do you mean by "all the slaves" ??  Can you clarify that? 

    By the way -- I spend most of my day cleaning up messes by people written in ASP.NET and SQL Server.  There's no difference other than the fact that someone didn't do things the right way with the tools they were using. 



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    What do you mean by "all the slaves" ??  Can you clarify that? 

    [/quote]

    The companies who buy a piece of software cause it's the current buzzword. 



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    That's a wonderful little interlude, I enjoyed the story, but let's get back to the discussion at hand.

    [/quote]

    That's the point, they were wasting time and money cause "It was easier than finding the right solution". 

    [/quote]

    If you think that scenerio had anything to do with the tools themselves as opposed to the people using the tools, then you are completely wrong. 



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    By the way -- I spend most of my day cleaning
    up messes by people written in ASP.NET and SQL Server.  There's no
    difference other than the fact that someone didn't do things the right
    way with the tools they were using. 

    [/quote]

    That's
    prolly cause ASP.NET makes it really easy to create something that
    "kinda works".  Just drag this here and drop that there ... throw
    some stuff over there, and your "done".  I agree, sometimes the
    tools make things murky, but at least they know they needed something
    more robust.



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    What do you mean by "all the slaves" ??  Can you clarify that? 

    [/quote]

    The companies who buy a piece of software cause it's the current buzzword. 

    [/quote]

     
    Like "excel"?  or "Access"?  Those are buzzwords!!???  Come on ...



  • [quote user="Jeff S"][quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    That's a wonderful little interlude, I enjoyed the story, but let's get back to the discussion at hand.

    [/quote]

    That's the point, they were wasting time and money cause "It was easier than finding the right solution". 

    [/quote]

    If
    you think that scenerio had anything to do with the tools themselves as
    opposed to the people using the tools, then you are completely
    wrong. 

    [/quote]

    It took me 45 min to write the
    correct solution knowing nothing about the huge foxpro based shipping
    system.  And I knew nothing of foxpro syntax, or any advanced SQL
    at that point in my career. It couldn't have been that hard to find,
    than waste this poor girl's day for 3 years.

     



  • [quote user="Jojosh_the_Pi"]

    And this site is looking for a junior Excel programmer!

    [/quote]

    That sounds like a good way to beef up a resume entry for "Data Entry Clerk"



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"][quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    That's a wonderful little interlude, I enjoyed the story, but let's get back to the discussion at hand.

    [/quote]

    That's the point, they were wasting time and money cause "It was easier than finding the right solution". 

    [/quote]

    If
    you think that scenerio had anything to do with the tools themselves as
    opposed to the people using the tools, then you are completely
    wrong. 

    [/quote]

    It took me 45 min to write the
    correct solution knowing nothing about the huge foxpro based shipping
    system.  And I knew nothing of foxpro syntax, or any advanced SQL
    at that point in my career. It couldn't have been that hard to find,
    than waste this poor girl's day for 3 years.

     [/quote]

    Exactly! so you've proved my point --  it's all about how the tools are used.   Thanks! 



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    By the way -- I spend most of my day cleaning
    up messes by people written in ASP.NET and SQL Server.  There's no
    difference other than the fact that someone didn't do things the right
    way with the tools they were using. 

    [/quote]

    That's
    prolly cause ASP.NET makes it really easy to create something that
    "kinda works".  Just drag this here and drop that there ... throw
    some stuff over there, and your "done".  I agree, sometimes the
    tools make things murky, but at least they know they needed something
    more robust.

    [/quote]

    There you go again -- you're making excuses for the programmer, blaming things on the tool being used.  The sooner you get out of that habit the better programmer you'll be.   you can write good code or bad code in ASP.NET, it is completely dependant on one factor: the skill level of the programmer using it.  Again, like most any other technology.
     



  • [quote user="Jeff S"][quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    What do you mean by "all the slaves" ??  Can you clarify that? 

    [/quote]

    The companies who buy a piece of software cause it's the current buzzword. 

    [/quote]

     
    Like "excel"?  or "Access"?  Those are buzzwords!!???  Come on ...

    [/quote]

    No,
    like Crystal Reports...  I have never seen any company, and I've
    seen the insides of quite a few, use the reall truley useful features
    of that program.  Mostly its just, select *from .. and dump that
    out into a funky looking report that wastes paper like crazy. When
    Excel could have been used just as easy. Sure there are prolly some out
    there ...

    I was recently in an interview, and the VP asked me if
    I had any expereince with crystal reports. I didn't hesitate to say
    "Yes, I have had the pleasure of rebooting my computer." The IT team
    who was also in the room let out some pretty good laughs, apparently
    one of the guys had been assigned to create these reports in Crystal,
    and for the life of himcould not even get it to run on his machine
    without rebooting every 15 mins.

    Now, that is some REAL productivity there....

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    No,
    like Crystal Reports...  I have never seen any company, and I've
    seen the insides of quite a few, use the reall truley useful features
    of that program.  Mostly its just, select *from .. and dump that
    out into a funky looking report that wastes paper like crazy.

    [/quote]

    And that is the fault of Crystal Reports, not the people using it, right? 

    Boy, you need a lot of work!  Seriously, take a look at the viewpoint you are taking and really consider a different approach of evaluating the people using the tools, not the tools themselves.  You might be surprised at how that outlook changes your perception of things.
     



  • [quote user="Jeff S"][quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

    By the way -- I spend most of my day cleaning
    up messes by people written in ASP.NET and SQL Server.  There's no
    difference other than the fact that someone didn't do things the right
    way with the tools they were using. 

    [/quote]

    That's
    prolly cause ASP.NET makes it really easy to create something that
    "kinda works".  Just drag this here and drop that there ... throw
    some stuff over there, and your "done".  I agree, sometimes the
    tools make things murky, but at least they know they needed something
    more robust.

    [/quote]

    There you go again -- you're making excuses for the programmer, blaming things on the tool being used.  The sooner you get out of that habit the better programmer you'll be.   you can write good code or bad code in ASP.NET, it is completely dependant on one factor: the skill level of the programmer using it.  Again, like most any other technology.
     

    [/quote]

    Not blaming the tool, blaming the "programmer", just as you are. I am saying that is getting easier for bad programmers to make things that "kinda work" and pass it off as things that "do work".

    But wouldn't it be grand if the person in accounting had the same VBA code for a customer that the person in shipping had? And wouldn't it be great if I need to make a change to that code, to say, add a new field or business rule or tax code that I didn't have to go around and fix all the spreadsheets??

     

     



  • [quote user="Jeff S"]

    the fault of Crystal Reports, not the people using it, right? 

    Boy,
    you need a lot of work!  Seriously, take a look at the viewpoint
    you are taking and really consider a different approach of evaluating
    the people using the tools, not the tools themselves.  You might
    be surprised at how that outlook changes your perception of things.
     

    [/quote]

    No,
    I am saying they think that just because they have bought this tool
    they think it will sove all thier problems, when in fact they could
    have just used something much simplier, faster, or, cheaper, or all
    three ... 

    Yes, it is the people, which leads us back to the
    origional topic ...  if the job description seems to be written by
    non-techies but they seem to have an intrastructure based on SQL Server
    and report on Excel through the use of VBA and crystal reprorts and
    everything else... ok that's fine,  but does it warrent a "Senior"
    title? I could teach my 10yo "advanced" Excel functionality. Does it
    take 3-5 years to develop these skills??

     It is just
    shockingly surprising to me the amount of people working with computers
    who don't learn how to use the tools they work with every day. And the
    amount of money companies spend on things they don't ever need.


     

     



  • The cost of the girl wasting 3 hours of her day for 3 years is
    roughly 16,000 in lost productivity.... surely they could have found
    the answer for $16,000 ... cause they did it for around $7  by
    paying me, but three years later ...

     Maybe they should have
    hired a Senior Excel Programmer for the extra $16,000 to enter the data
    in, I am sure he would have just followed right along ... * bahh bahhh
    bahh*, saying "Here is your report Sir" bahhhh I made a nice Pivot
    table too! bahhh

    Or maybe he would have asked "Isn't this data
    already in the database?" and maybe he would have found the tables he
    needed buried deep inside a 400+ page Data definitions manual, and
    maybe, just maybe he would have linked the database to his Excel sheet
    ...  

    And maybe just maybe .. he would have done that before
    Office upgraded ....yet again .. making his code and all his business
    logic pretty much obsolete. But, he has hope .. afterall he can just
    revert back to his old file format .... what's an extra 5 min to export
    from Excel into excel ...  split this data to fit multiple sheets
    ... run the functions ...   "what do you mean the file is
    corrupt?"

    Can you really sit there and defend running a growing business from Excel?

     

     

     

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    The cost of the girl wasting 3 hours of her day for 3 years is
    roughly 16,000 in lost productivity.... surely they could have found
    the answer for $16,000 ... cause they did it for around $7  by
    paying me, but three years later ...

     Maybe they should have
    hired a Senior Excel Programmer for the extra $16,000 to enter the data
    in, I am sure he would have just followed right along ... * bahh bahhh
    bahh*, saying "Here is your report Sir" bahhhh I made a nice Pivot
    table too! bahhh

    Or maybe he would have asked "Isn't this data
    already in the database?" and maybe he would have found the tables he
    needed buried deep inside a 400+ page Data definitions manual, and
    maybe, just maybe he would have linked the database to his Excel sheet
    ...  

    And maybe just maybe .. he would have done that before
    Office upgraded ....yet again .. making his code and all his business
    logic pretty much obsolete. But, he has hope .. afterall he can just
    revert back to his old file format .... what's an extra 5 min to export
    from Excel into excel ...  split this data to fit multiple sheets
    ... run the functions ...   "what do you mean the file is
    corrupt?"

    Can you really sit there and defend running a growing business from Excel?

     

    [/quote]

    I guess I will accept the fact that no matter how many different ways I can try to rephrase things to you, you simply won't get it. 



  • A classic example oif where excel should be used:

     

    my dad (who helps manage a small business) called me the other day and said "I'll pay you to write a program that I can enter in sales information and sales price and then play with the markup to look at my total profits."  I say, "no problem."  5 minutes later I call him back and tell him I sent him the program.  guess what.  excel.  to write a real program that did that it would have taken me 5 times longer and it wouldn't have even been as good.  I could have maybe written a nice javascript webpage for a GUI but why?  why not just use the tool that works?



  • [quote user="tster"]<snipped excellent example>

    why not just use the tool that works?[/quote]

    Use the right tool for the job?  What a fascinating concept.  It'll never work, though. 

    Hell, my current day job is the IT equivalent of driving screws with a hammer... And no amount of asking, begging or whining for a cordless drill, or even a screwdriver, to replace the hammer will do any good.

    I like to delude myself into believing that I'm the only one stuck in the realm of accessorizing the hammer rather than buying a screwdriver, that the rest of the world is sane.

    "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue."
     

     



  • [quote user="tster"]

    A classic example oif where excel should be used:

     

    my dad (who helps manage a small business) called me the other day and said "I'll pay you to write a program that I can enter in sales information and sales price and then play with the markup to look at my total profits."  I say, "no problem."  5 minutes later I call him back and tell him I sent him the program.  guess what.  excel.  to write a real program that did that it would have taken me 5 times longer and it wouldn't have even been as good.  I could have maybe written a nice javascript webpage for a GUI but why?  why not just use the tool that works?

    [/quote]

     Yes, this IS a good use of Excel. Why? Cause it took 5 min, it's not dealing with hundreds of thousands of records and it works. What I am against is stuff like ...

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    Yes, this IS a good use of Excel. Why? Cause it took 5 min, it's not dealing with hundreds of thousands of records and it works.

    [/quote]

    To play devil's advocate for a moment...

    Most nightmare systems start out as a five minute job.

    Several days later, they need a little more. Well, it's still a five minute job, so just go expand what we've got.

    Iterate over that for several months. Now the five-minute job has turned into what by all rights is a project. It should have had a requirements document, a design phase, an approval process, and a schedule - but it didn't. It just gradually piled up. We call this "design by accretion".

    This is the right time to stop. It's time to put the brakes on it and bite the bullet on building a real system. But most companies won't do that, because if they had the budget and the team to build a real system, they would have built one several months ago. Just keep tacking onto it.

    About three years down the road, you find that the system has become impossible to modify because everything is leaning against everything else and if you change any of it the whole system will collapse. So you take out an ad for a senior [not-a-real-programming-language] programmer.

    Since real senior programmers know better than to apply for this job because that's not a real programming language, what you actually get is an overconfident mid-level programmer who doesn't figure out the situation for several months because he honestly thinks this is what senior level programmers do. He thinks he's the one with the problem.

    Eventually, he will move on, and another ad will appear. Iterate over that one until someone finally figures out that what they really need to find is a project manager to build the system that will replace this massive WTF.

    But when you go back to the beginning, you find that five-minute job. Many people interpret this to mean that the five-minute job was a bad idea from the start, and it's not exactly clear whether they're correct or not. You can make an awfully compelling argument for never, ever, ever doing the five-minute job.

    Unless you're a consultant. Consultants should always do the five-minute job and bill their four-hour minimum for it, because as a consultant you get to cut and run the minute your system becomes a pain in the ass.



  • Sure, Micros... The point of sale system right?



  • [quote user="CDarklock"][quote user="jminkler"]

    Yes, this IS a good
    use of Excel. Why? Cause it took 5 min, it's not dealing with hundreds
    of thousands of records and it works.

    [/quote]

    To play devil's advocate for a moment...

    Most nightmare systems start out as a five minute job.

    Several days later, they need a little more. Well, it's still a five minute job, so just go expand what we've got.

    Iterate
    over that for several months. Now the five-minute job has turned into
    what by all rights is a project. It should have had a requirements
    document, a design phase, an approval process, and a schedule - but it
    didn't. It just gradually piled up. We call this "design by accretion".

    This is the right time to stop. It's time to put the brakes on it and bite the bullet on building a real system. But most companies won't do that, because if they had the budget and the team to build a real system, they would have built one several months ago. Just keep tacking onto it.

    About three years down the road, you find that the system has become impossible to modify because everything is leaning against everything else and if you change any of it the whole system will collapse. So you take out an ad for a senior [not-a-real-programming-language] programmer.

    Since real senior programmers know better than to apply for this job because that's not a real programming language, what you actually get is an overconfident mid-level programmer who doesn't figure out the situation for several months because he honestly thinks this is what senior level programmers do. He thinks he's the one with the problem.

    Eventually, he will move on, and another ad will appear. Iterate over that one until someone finally figures out that what they really need to find is a project manager to build the system that will replace this massive WTF.

    But when you go back to the beginning, you find that five-minute job. Many people interpret this to mean that the five-minute job was a bad idea from the start, and it's not exactly clear whether they're correct or not. You can make an awfully compelling argument for never, ever, ever doing the five-minute job.

    Unless you're a consultant. Consultants should always do the five-minute job and bill their four-hour minimum for it, because as a consultant you get to cut and run the minute your system becomes a pain in the ass.

    [/quote]

     

    That was exactly my previous point. You always have to consider the LIFE of the project, assume everything will be in use till the end of time. 



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    Must have minimum 3-5 years experience

    Do I need to point out the WTF ?  

    [/quote]

    Why the hell do people give a range when specifying a minimum or maximum?  Does "minimum 3-5" mean "the minimum of the range of numbers between 3 and 5"?  This would reduce to "Must have [exactly?] 3 years experience".  Or does "minimum 3-5" mean "the minimum of 3 minus 5"?  In which case it would reduce to "Must have -2 years experience". In code this would be :

    if (applicant.getYearsExperience() == 3-5)


    Or, is the "minimum" a mistake, and they really wanted to say "Must have 3-5 years experience"?  Does this mean they won't hire someone with 6 or more years experience?

    Why are job postings some of the most stupid, ignorant, poorly written WTFs ever??? 



  • [quote user="jminkler"]

    That
    was exactly my previous point. You always have to consider the LIFE of
    the project, assume everything will be in use till the end of
    time. 

    [/quote]

    For most people in the real world, that's just not feasible. A small business isn't going to be willing to build a system that will serve them through 5 years of aggressive growth, for the same reason most people don't save up 4-5 years of estimated college tuition 20 years in the future before having a child. For the same reason men leaving home from high school don't just immediately buy the 5 br house of the dreams to prepare for a future wife and family. And for the same reason aspiring music artists don't pay for 1,000,000 pressings of their first cd.

    For every project like CDarklock describes there is another ambitous project that looks to resolve all sorts of potential problems and scale for years and suffers numerous delays before being cancelled. Both cases may be failures, but in the first case the company has a mostly-working system and is able to grow, while the second is either out of business or seriously crippled.

    There is a narrow path through this quagmire but it requires synergy between the developer and customer to the point that the developer can stay a bit ahead of the customer, making iterative improvements that address current needs and make allowances for likely future needs. But 99 out of 100 times, a customer is going to be much happier with a cheap product that sorta-works now than costly promises of a super system in a week, 3 months, or a year.
     

     

     



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="tster"]

    A classic example oif where excel should be used:

    my dad (who helps manage a small business) called me the other day and said "I'll pay you to write a program that I can enter in sales information and sales price and then play with the markup to look at my total profits."  I say, "no problem."  5 minutes later I call him back and tell him I sent him the program.  guess what.  excel.  to write a real program that did that it would have taken me 5 times longer and it wouldn't have even been as good.  I could have maybe written a nice javascript webpage for a GUI but why?  why not just use the tool that works?

    [/quote]

     Yes, this IS a good use of Excel. Why? Cause it took 5 min, it's not dealing with hundreds of thousands of records and it works. What I am against is stuff like ...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/16/excel_vanishing_dna/[/quote]

    And no one has defended this ... 

    (Jeff, forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but this is how I see it ...) What Jeff S. was getting at is that there are appropriate uses of Excel.  jminkler, all of your posts in this thread have come across (to me, anyway) with a tone of "there is no appropriate use for Excel, Access, etc, etc ..."  That is a wrong attitude.

    A tool is a tool.  It is not inherently evil or good; it's the person wielding the tool who should bear the responsibility for how that tool is used.  Calling a tool (or any other inanimate object) "evil"  or "good" is nothing more than anthropomorphizing it.  Where horrendous misuses of tools like Excel, Access, etc come from is when no one is able or willing to step back and re-evalute the problem when the "5-minute fix" starts to look more like a "nasty, inelegant hack."  Again, though, the blame falls at the feet of the users of the tool, not the tool itself.

    Obscure quote of the day follows.  There's a cookie to the winner for identifying it.  "There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous men."  (Yes, I'm taking the quote out of its original context, but it's still valid in this argument). 



  • Crystal works fine when you don't hit it's bugs.  Fortunately there are usually ways around some of them.  For example (with stored procedures), if you "Verify Database" from the main report with CR 9, it'll work on the main report but crash if you run it against any of the subreports.  Btu if you go into a subreport it works fine...

    Sometimes it seems to remember some of the parameters and force me to clear them, and other times it doesn't.  So when in doubt clear them...
     



  • [quote user="jminkler"][quote user="Jeff S"]

     
    Like "excel"?  or "Access"?  Those are buzzwords!!???  Come on ...

    [/quote]

    No,
    like Crystal Reports...  I have never seen any company, and I've
    seen the insides of quite a few, use the reall truley useful features
    of that program.  Mostly its just, select *from .. and dump that
    out into a funky looking report that wastes paper like crazy. When
    Excel could have been used just as easy. Sure there are prolly some out
    there ...

    I was recently in an interview, and the VP asked me if
    I had any expereince with crystal reports. I didn't hesitate to say
    "Yes, I have had the pleasure of rebooting my computer." The IT team
    who was also in the room let out some pretty good laughs, apparently
    one of the guys had been assigned to create these reports in Crystal,
    and for the life of himcould not even get it to run on his machine
    without rebooting every 15 mins.

    Now, that is some REAL productivity there....

    [/quote]

    Actually, Excel can't be used to generate reports unattended.  So we can't use it here.  I have never had to
    reboot my machine from Crystal Reports, though I have had to restart it a number of times.  Seems as they rolled out the patches for version 9 it became a lot more stable too.  Still, with over 60 reports, I'd say it might have crashed 180 times - you get to know what it doesn't like.  Besides Excel and Access, and some even more expensive packages, do you know of any program that makes it easy to generate a report? (And Access isn't designed to run unattended neither, though people have hacked it to...)



  • [quote user="Sgt. Zim"][quote user="jminkler"][quote user="tster"]

    A classic example oif where excel should be used:

    my dad (who helps manage a small business) called me the other day and said "I'll pay you to write a program that I can enter in sales information and sales price and then play with the markup to look at my total profits."  I say, "no problem."  5 minutes later I call him back and tell him I sent him the program.  guess what.  excel.  to write a real program that did that it would have taken me 5 times longer and it wouldn't have even been as good.  I could have maybe written a nice javascript webpage for a GUI but why?  why not just use the tool that works?

    [/quote]

     Yes, this IS a good use of Excel. Why? Cause it took 5 min, it's not dealing with hundreds of thousands of records and it works. What I am against is stuff like ...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/16/excel_vanishing_dna/[/quote]

    And no one has defended this ... 

    (Jeff, forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but this is how I see it ...) What Jeff S. was getting at is that there are appropriate uses of Excel.  jminkler, all of your posts in this thread have come across (to me, anyway) with a tone of "there is no appropriate use for Excel, Access, etc, etc ..."  That is a wrong attitude.

    A tool is a tool.  It is not inherently evil or good; it's the person wielding the tool who should bear the responsibility for how that tool is used.  Calling a tool (or any other inanimate object) "evil"  or "good" is nothing more than anthropomorphizing it.  Where horrendous misuses of tools like Excel, Access, etc come from is when no one is able or willing to step back and re-evalute the problem when the "5-minute fix" starts to look more like a "nasty, inelegant hack."  Again, though, the blame falls at the feet of the users of the tool, not the tool itself.

    Obscure quote of the day follows.  There's a cookie to the winner for identifying it.  "There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous men."  (Yes, I'm taking the quote out of its original context, but it's still valid in this argument). 

    [/quote]

    Well said, Sgt Zim.

    Which is worse: trying to force Excel to do more than it should, or hiring a DBA, business analyst, a programmer and buying servers and licenses to install Oracle and enterprisey business intelligence tools and spending 10 months on a project when all you need is an accountant, Excel and 10 minutes to set up a few worksheets?    Asuming that at the end of the day the job gets done both ways, the latter is far, far worse for hopefully obvious reasons. 

    Ask yourself this:  If forced to write an entire complex application using Excel VBA and nothing else, you have no choice and you've got to play by those rules, and you know that it is obvious that a real framework would be better, what is your attitude towards the project?

    Is it: 

    "I'll get it done. Somehow. It might not be pretty, but I will do the absolute best I can with those tools, I'll use best practices as best I can, and I'll try to keep it as clean as possible."

    or is it:

    "I guess I'll try, but it will suck because Excel sucks,so don't expect that it will work well if at all, and don't blame me if there's bugs or bad code or anything else that goes wrong, it's not my fault."

    Which kind of programmer are you?  I think we know what jminkler is. and hopefully from my posts you know what approach I take. And that approach doesn't change regardless of the tool being used: the people getting things done the best way possible will get it done the best way possible regardless, and the people making excuses and blaming everything that can go wrong on the tehcnology they are using will always blame the technology for anything that ever goes wrong. Happens every time.

    I get so fed up when people make excuses and blame their own shitty code on other factors.  It's never their fault, it's always what they work in.   It's too simple.  Too complicated.  Too easy to use.  Too hard to use.  It writes bad code for you.  It doesn't write enough code for you.  It forces you to write bad code. It forces you to use a certain indenting style that you don't like. It doesn't support X.  It only supports Y ... and on and on and on ....

    Be a man.  take responsibility and stop making excuses.   Prove that you are a real programmer and get it done. And, of course, by that same token, the person deciding to use the wrong tool for the job of course gets equal blame when things go wrong.

    It's about people, their attitude, their decisions, and their skills - NOT the technology that they ultimately use.

     


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