If you are a professional like an analyst, controller, accountant, PMO/project manager looking to undertake Excel training, then you need to avoid putting your skills and your career into the hands of an Excel specialist who doesn’t get the bigger picture of how Excel fits in with your career. A quality online Excel class will teach you how to apply your newly-found knowledge within the context of your daily life.
They will have you learning things you do not need and send you down time-wasting rabbit holes. Worse still, they won’t tell you what to focus on or how to market your skills.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Learning Excel Via Google And Youtube?
The biggest issue faced by students is that the internet has given them access to cheap or free information. Let me tell you that nothing is more costly than cheap or free, especially if you are taking Excel courses from the wrong people.
But more than that, while there are some good free resources on the internet, I have found that free resources are often highly unstructured, random and cause confusion, even leading some to become overwhelmed. And that’s when it’s good! When it’s not good then it’s a waste of time and it doesn’t get implemented.
The single most important factor when learning a subject like Excel is structure and curriculum. The wrong structure and curriculum won’t leave you any better off especially if you are a professional who needs to understand how to actually apply Excel to real scenarios, not just “Kendrick has 10 apples and Drake has 13 oranges” type of problems.
If you are very young, don’t have funds but have the time, then use Google to slowly get there. If you are a working professional, take the shortcut and invest in good Excel training with someone you have access to. Ideally, this someone is a person who can see where Excel fits in the wider context of your career.
I’m not anti-Googling and I’m not saying it will prevent you from greatness, but I use Excel with Google in a very specific way. For example, if I have to do a complex formula or complex bit of VBA/Macros code it would have taken me 30-40 minutes to work it out. It takes me 5 minutes to Google it and 2 minutes to tweak it, so I save time. As you systematically raise your Excel game, your Googling will be more and more effective, and you will save more and more time. Here’s a graph to explain this:
My philosophy with Excel and work is all about saving time so yes, I use Google to speed things up. I can do that because I built a foundation of solid Excel skills-just like you will when you take my high-quality online Excel training.
What About Advanced Excel Training Courses And Excel VBA?
Advanced Excel VBA can be a massive undertaking and most of the people who teach it do a terrible job. They start teaching you the jargon first, then they get you used to the environment. That really is ridiculous and shows a complete lack of empathy from the trainers.
VBA is a life-altering skill. I don’t say it lightly that it helped me go from a £27k a year salary to a £100k a year salary. It’s done similar for many of my students and colleagues. But when it’s mis-taught then that’s a missed opportunity. The other matter that frequently is mis-taught is teaching ‘perfect code’ and solutions to professionals. That’s just plain bad.
I’ve had people numerous ‘experts’ over the years tell me that my code was messy and clunky. I completely agreed with them, but I got the problem solved rapidly. Sure, I can take my time and build an elegant solution but 9 times out of 10 when that isn’t the focus of your job as an accountant, project manager, etc then it’s a poor use of your limited time. My recommendation for professionals needing to learn Excel, from having worked in big organizations for over a decade and solving real-world problems with Excel, is that there are three kinds of problems that require Excel to solve and four kinds of Excel solutions. The three types of problems are:
- Tracking or organization of data.
- Analysing data whether that’s regular analysis or ad-hoc analysis. Forecast, variance analysis, or for example, you’re working on a project and need to know what milestones are going to deliver in several months’ time.
- Communication of data, i.e. reports and management information.
And those three problems only need four kinds of solutions to tackle them:
- You are going to find the information. That means you are going to look it up or find it.
- You are going to treat that information with rules. If you find some information, do some analysis saying, ‘I want this data to do these specific calculations/I am just looking for this particular data, if it looks like this then I want that.’ Those are very important things: the “if” and the “then.”
- Deal with the non-numerical information that most of us analysts, accountants, controllers, PMO’s, and management consultants are often dealing with, such as names or product codes.
- Summarising your data after your analysis via a table, chart or graph. This is referred to as “the end game.”
This framework is a more strategic view of how to use Excel, rather than just jumping to ‘should I use VLOOKUPS, Pivot Tables? etc’. This approach from a competent online Excel course allows one to learn Excel in a wholesale manner than as a piecemeal (here and there, where you learn-forget-learn-forget).
What I benefited from most and consequently teach my own students is that Excel presents a very unique opportunity to save time.
This should be the goal for a professional who works with Excel on a daily basis. So, if you want to learn Excel, then learn at least some VBA which will help you save time, then repurpose that time to adding value in your organisation, impress the right executives and open doors up.
If you would like to sign up for one of our Excel training courses then you can learn more here.