I'm not an expert, just a personal opinion with the things I know. Okay, back to my agenda.
So how to choose then?
Option 1: "Microsoft Access". If you already have the Microsoft Office license. Then MS Access can be a powerful tool in developing small and lightweight applications for your business. It is powerful enough to handle day-to-day business applications requirements like invoicing, payroll, and the likes.
It has wizards that will assist you in developing your user interface, building your table structures, and generating reports. And, there's definitely tons of tutorials out there that you can use.
Option 2: "MySQL" + "any dev tools of your choice". MySQL is a powerful free database engine capable enough to handle thousands of transactions for business applications - I've seen this powered an Inventory system handling large amount of data. For web application needs - most shared-hosting websites utilize MySQL. Likewise CMS is driven by this baby - Drupal is my personal recommendation.
Just pair this up with any development tools you are familiar with. For students, since you have a solid background on C++. Then it would do just find. Developing this with PHP is what every web tech savvy say as a "perfect pair".
Option 3: Application Express a.k.a APEX. This is my personal favorite. It's very powerful as it's powered by Oracle. It's free under the Orace XE (Express Edition) license agreement. To add up, XE comes with a web server and it's setup already during the XE installation.
But to fully maximize APEX's potential, one needs to have a solid background on PL/SQL, Oracle Forms, and Oracle terminologies. No worries though, cause Oracle offers free and detailed documentation -- lots of them I tell you.
At the end of the day, we tend to choose where we are comfy using with. For me I choose based on this criteria.
Community Support, Scalability, Robustness, and Rapid Development features/tools.
Feel free to ask using the comment below.