Huum, a good question! Apart from making that Access application do you have any programming experience? A project such as this will be a good way to get into learning your chosen language, although it will be more difficult than VBA and I suggest rather than working towards the finished product goal (which may take some time to get to) I would suggest setting yourself interim goals so you feel like you are progressing as you go along.
The choice of language really depends on a number of things - do you see this project as a way to learn the language and become a competant programmer? If so then writing it in Java or Visual C++ might be a good choice. On the otherhand, Visual Basic might be an easier option to use, as it is similar in a way interface wise to what you are used to. Languages are subjective, some people may find language X better than Y and other people may find Y better than X. I suggest having a look at the likes of Java, C++, C#, VB and seeing which you think you "prefer".
The other question is how are you planning on storing all the data. You have a number of options, firstly you could use a file but this isn't really scalable and can get quite messy. Alternatively using a database is a good way for data storage - again you have a number of options, Access would probably be sufficient for your needs.
Let us know what you decide, and any further questions... we can provide help with your project if you get stuck
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