Can You Write A Program? The Need for Visual Basic in the Office

Posted on Posted in Learning Journey, Personal Life

Can you write a program? Is a question I get from my colleagues quite often. I guess if they are asking this, there could be two possibilities: there is a need for someone who can write a program, or I look like someone who can.

There are so many blog posts out there about how a little bit of programming can lead to a major productivity boost. Use Python! Or JavaScript! Put it here, put it there, and you will shave hours off your work! It really sounds fantastic. Sure, a few simple lines of code may do a lot of wonder, but it does take time and hard work to get past the fundamentals. At least for me.

Just a couple of days ago I was asked to write a simulation in Excel to calculate the cost of a transportation job. It involved some VBA, and a whole lot of IF functions and cell references. In a day I sorted out a beta version for my colleagues. They were fairly excited about it and suggestions for improvement poured in. I picked up some of their excitement and started to think about all the possibilities I could do with this simulator.

Maybe I could turn into a more powerful program, that pulls data from other existing programs’ databases. Maybe I could share this program with different users. I would want an interface that is so friendly, that users can use my program the whole day and not feel tired. I want…

Then I realized, I don’t even know what language it should be written in. So I turned to my regional office’s IT guy for help.

“Help me! Should I write in Python? C++? Visual Basic?”

He coolly advised me to use VB after asking the background, with how many users I wanted to share with, and what are my future plans for the program (I did not tell him, the near future plan is to wow my colleagues. I have no idea about the “far” future plan).

Good thing is, there is a free course on VB for absolute beginners by Microsoft, so I’m going to go for it.

My first program, here I come!

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