Author Topic: Need a software engineer  (Read 3023 times)

Hayden Frys Mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Iowa
Need a software engineer
« on: August 12, 2015, 08:40:46 PM »
I have just been hired to lead an organization which offers a highly valuable monthly sales and gallon report to its members. The person who created this report was fired shortly before I arrived, so nobody knows how to input this information (it's a Microsoft Access program circa 1999 designed specifically for this purpose). I took a look at it and after about 10 minutes decided it was futile and inefficient for me to continue to process the report.

It's a vast amount of data - tracking probably 1,000 different brands in in varying package sizes, which must match the gallons reported by the producer. The reports say how many of a certain package were produced, then Access would automatically calculate gallons sold and add the totals by each brand (which were sub-categories of an owner of multiple brands). Members use the report to determine market share, sales positioning, etc.

Where should I start to find help with this project? I imagine an SQL program would be more appropriate for 2015. Software freelancers out there??




gergg

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 10:08:59 PM »
So you have a table of how many gallons are in different packages and a table of how many packages were sold in the month...and then it just calculates how many gallons were sold based on that?

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 678
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 08:54:20 AM »
It's just a bunch of tables with the information that is cross referenced and aggregated into a report. Just get an intern or a student to do this. All you need is a form with an add and possibly an update function. You can still use the report to view the data. If you take a weekend you could probably learn how to do it from youtube, which would be a good experience.

Alternatively, you could just export it to excel and import it back. Not as fancy, but should also work.

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 678
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2015, 08:58:39 AM »
Oh, if you want to get a student, just call the local software engineering college and ask if they have someone or if you can post it on their bulletin board. Or just post it and see if they take it down.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2015, 09:35:57 AM »
Yeah, if you need someone cheap, I agree with going to the local university and hiring a student who will do it for free/cheap just for the experience. If you want a professional to do it, then post on Dice or Freelancer.com, just be prepared to pay for the service.

It honestly does not sound that difficult. I would try the student route first. I dont think you want to pay $50 an hour at least for a seasoned professional to do this.

Heywood57

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 10:12:33 AM »
How would a freelancer get access to the Access database.

TheMCP

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 10:34:59 AM »
Feel compelled to reply here...

If this report / system is truly valuable to your organization, do yourself a favor and don't try to cut corners.  If the person who wrote the thing was fired, it would suggest they weren't looked on as particularly valuable, which raises questions about what someone trying to fix the thing might be walking into.

What makes a pro a pro is the fact that they have experience walking into disasters with little need for hand holding or explanation.  If nobody knows how it works, there will be little information to go on.  People you can hire to write code can be "cheap" because it's easy to bang on a keyboard and make stuff happen. Real software people are expensive, and there are many good reasons for that. 

If you aren't software engineering-savvy, it will be very difficult for you to tell who knows what they're doing and who doesn't.  The easiest way around this problem is to hire someone with a track record.  My first suggestion would be to be wary of anyone who tells you it doesn't sound that hard.  Nothing ever sounds complicated when a customer initially describes what they want, and this includes the synopsis you provided.  There are always details.  Always.  Maybe you have found the one program that really is basic with almost no complexity, but if that was truly the case it would also have little value.

"A bunch of tables cross referenced and aggregated into reports" summarizes basically every useful piece of software in the business world.  SAP is a bunch of tables cross referenced for reports.  Tread carefully, IMO.

asiljoy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2015, 10:45:48 AM »
...

If this report / system is truly valuable to your organization, do yourself a favor and don't try to cut corners.  If the person who wrote the thing was fired, it would suggest they weren't looked on as particularly valuable, which raises questions about what someone trying to fix the thing might be walking into.
...

"A bunch of tables cross referenced and aggregated into reports" summarizes basically every useful piece of software in the business world.  SAP is a bunch of tables cross referenced for reports.  Tread carefully, IMO.

+1

If this report is really critical to your business, you NEED to understand how it works. Where the data is coming from, how's its processed, and what checks are in place to ensure the thing works each month. It's incredibly easy for someone without domain knowledge, but with a little engineering experience to make a report pretty. It is also incredibly easy for them to fill it with data that looks ok, but has absolutely nothing to do with reality.

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 678
Re: Need a software engineer
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2015, 01:32:38 AM »
Feel compelled to reply here...

If this report / system is truly valuable to your organization, do yourself a favor and don't try to cut corners.  If the person who wrote the thing was fired, it would suggest they weren't looked on as particularly valuable, which raises questions about what someone trying to fix the thing might be walking into.

What makes a pro a pro is the fact that they have experience walking into disasters with little need for hand holding or explanation.  If nobody knows how it works, there will be little information to go on.  People you can hire to write code can be "cheap" because it's easy to bang on a keyboard and make stuff happen. Real software people are expensive, and there are many good reasons for that. 

If you aren't software engineering-savvy, it will be very difficult for you to tell who knows what they're doing and who doesn't.  The easiest way around this problem is to hire someone with a track record.  My first suggestion would be to be wary of anyone who tells you it doesn't sound that hard.  Nothing ever sounds complicated when a customer initially describes what they want, and this includes the synopsis you provided.  There are always details.  Always.  Maybe you have found the one program that really is basic with almost no complexity, but if that was truly the case it would also have little value.

"A bunch of tables cross referenced and aggregated into reports" summarizes basically every useful piece of software in the business world.  SAP is a bunch of tables cross referenced for reports.  Tread carefully, IMO.
It's true, but comparing MS Access to SAP is like saying to get a professional to mend your roof because it was hard to build the empire state building.

Anyway, better get some quotes from people who can actually see what the work is. And even better, take some time and find out how the thing works.