I’m looking for a slight career change where I’d become a business intelligence report writer responsible for writing SQL queries for my corporation’s proprietary database. I understand the basic concepts of relational databases but I lack hands on experience writing queries to do things like joining tables to get the desired output.
The main two tools used in my industry are Crystal Reports and Tableau. I’ve been turned down for job transfers in my company due to lack of a background in relational databases. I know I’d be really good at it if they gave me a chance! So I want to take initiative and install some software on my home Mac, create my own databases that are similar to what we use at work, and play around with creating my own SQL queries.
Friends I talk to that worked in his job space suggest Microsoft Access. It seems counterintuitive to me because no one actually uses Microsoft Access in my field. But it’s the advice I’ve received. I was told if I can get good at Access, the skillset will transfer forward to SQL. I asked why I shouldn’t just install a MySQL and was told I’d have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to install the software and administer the database, whereas Access would be plug and play.
Of course, my friends who gave me this advice all use Windows. So now I’m stuck trying to figure out how to get Access on my Mac. My two options seem to be bootcamp or a VM such as Virtual Box, Parallels, or VM Ware and then buy the PC-version only of MS Access. I do not like software subscriptions and already own standalone Microsoft Office (except for Access). MS sells Access for $129 on their website. I dislike that it’s “Access 2016” and perhaps I’m paying full price for 3 year old software that’s being updated soon, but that’s just the price of doing business as someone who refuses a subscription model.
I’m open to just going a Linux SQL install even though my friends suggested Access. The “simplicity” of using Access over MySQL seems lost in the need to spend $500+ total on a Windows 10 license plus Access plus a VM and the time to install Windows, figure out privacy settings, updates, etc. I could probably just install a SQL server on my machine in less time for free, but I’ve never done it and am not sure where to start.
Regarding Tableau, I’d like to learn how to use, but it seems like the only option is a $70/month license, which I cannot afford to buy just for the purpose of learning how to use it. I can probably find some videos online, although that doesn’t seem to be enough to tell my current or future prospective employer that I know how it works because I watched videos.
Regarding Crystal Reports, I think they are just a form of SQL so if I get experience writing queries, then I can probably handle crystal reports.
What advice can Mac-specific folks on here provide to help me? I understand the potential folly in expecting to get someone to give me a job because I taught myself applications at home. But it’s something I am genuinely interested in for the sake of learning it.