Why a specialization in Excel is essential for one’s professional growth, particularly for those involved in data analysis in business.
Excel is an essential tool for businesses around the world, and being able to master this software means adding a valuable asset to one’s professional portfolio. Today, I will share my recent experience acquiring new skills through the Excel Skills for Business Specialization training course available on Coursera, a comprehensive program structured in four modules. This path has enabled me to become a reliable and competent Excel consultant, ready to help my clients make the most of it in their business.
Why specialization in Excel
With the comprehensive and in-depth training provided by the Excel Skills for Business specialization, you can offer your clients a high-level consulting service to solve complex problems and improve the efficiency of their business processes using Excel. The skills gained enable them to analyze and manage data effectively, create customized solutions, and optimize workbooks to ensure accurate and reliable results.
Lectureship: Macquarie University
The Excel Skills for Business Specialization is sponsored by Macquarie University, an Australian institution of high quality and renowned for its academic excellence. Founded in 1964, Macquarie University is located in Sydney and is known for its strong reputation in research and commitment to offering innovative, high-quality education to its students.
Macquarie University is notably recognized for its expertise in business and technology education, making it an ideal choice to offer a specialization such as “Excel Skills for Business.” The course’s faculty team consists of experts in Excel and business applications, ensuring a high-level learning experience for students.
By choosing the Excel Skills for Business Specialization offered by Macquarie University, students can be assured of receiving a quality education based on the experience and expertise of a prestigious academic institution.
The training course
The Excel Skills for Business specialization consists of four courses:
- Excel Skills for Business: Essentials
- Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I
- Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate II
- Excel Skills for Business: Advanced
Each of these courses focuses on specific, advanced Excel skills, providing a solid foundation of knowledge and preparing students for real-world situations in the workplace. Specifically:
Excel Skills for Business: Essentials
Knowing the basics
The first course, Excel Skills for Business: Essentials, provides a solid foundation of Excel knowledge, teaching the fundamental functions of the software and how to use them effectively. Skills acquired in this course include creating and managing spreadsheets, using basic formulas and functions, and creating graphs and tables.
Quick overview of the”Essentials” course curriculum
Week 1 – Taking control of Excel:
– Describe the key components of the Excel user interface.
– Use essential navigation controls
– Perform basic data entry operations in Excel
– Explain basic Excel terminology
Week 2 – Perform calculations:
– Explain the syntax of basic formulas and functions
– Use formulas and functions to perform simple calculations
– Describe the difference between relative and absolute cell references
Week 3 – Formatting:
– Provide examples of the critical formatting tools and their uses in Excel
– Editing spreadsheets with Excel styles and themes
– Explain the use of number formatting in Excel
– Formatting a raw data set using Excel’s formatting tools
Week 4-Working with Data:
– Manage rows, columns and worksheets
– Identify, retrieve and modify data in spreadsheets
– Explain how to use conditional formatting in Excel
– Use the conditional formatting tool to highlight specific data
– Identify the main tools and printing options in Excel
– Optimizing a spreadsheet for printing
– Create a spreadsheet for printing with repetitive elements
Week 6 – Charts:
– Describe basic chart types in Excel
– Create basic charts in Excel
– Editing charts in Excel
Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I
Expand knowledge and skills
The second course, Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I, builds on the fundamentals acquired in the previous period and introduces new advanced skills and techniques. This course teaches students how to work with multiple worksheets, use text and date functions, manage named ranges, and create pivot tables and charts.
Quick overview of the“Intermediate I” course syllabus
Week 1 – Working with multiple worksheets and workbooks:
– Compare different methods of combining data from multiple sources
– Use a variety of techniques to perform calculations between workbooks/worksheets
– Manage data sets across multiple workbooks/worksheets
Week 2 – Text and date functions:
– Explain the use of the Date and Text functions in Excel
– Understanding how to work with nested functions
– Use Data functions to extract more information about the business
– Use Text functions to merge or split text strings
Week 3 – Named intervals:
– Describe the use of the intervals called
– Use different methods to create intervals named
– Improving calculations through the use of named intervals
Week 4 – Summarize the data:
– Explain the syntax of more advanced formulas
– Use functions to extract summary information from data
– Generate graphical representations of data
Week 5 – Tables:
– Create and edit tables in Excel
– Apply formatting, sorting and filtering to tables
– Adding data to tables
– Explain the specific terminology of tables in Excel
Week 6 – Pivot tables, pivot charts and segments:
– Create pivot tables, pivot charts and segments
– Using pivot tables to extract meaning from data sets
– Create visual dashboards with segments and pivot charts
– Use segments to filter information from multiple sources
Summary Objectives “Intermediate I” course:
– Manage large data sets efficiently
– Extracting meaningful information from large datasets
– Present data and extract information effectively
– Working with datasets from different sources
Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate II
Further insights into advanced features
The third course, Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate II, delves into some of the more advanced features of Excel. Students learn how to set up data validation, use conditional logic in formulas, perform automatic searches with VLOOKUP, INDEX and MATCH, and work with protecting and controlling procedures in workbooks. This course also provides a thorough understanding of using macros and data models to automate and simplify processes within spreadsheets.
Quick overview of the“Intermediate II” course curriculum
Week 1 – Data validation:
– Set up and configure data validation
– Working with formulas in data validation
– Creating and using drop-down lists
– Create and apply custom conditional formats
Week 2 – Conditional logic:
– Explain the concept of conditional logic in formulas
– Evaluate the data in a cell using logical tests
– Use conditional operations in functions (IF, AND, OR)
– Evaluate data with nested IF functions
Week 3 – Automated Searches:
– Use the VLOOKUP function to find and display the contents of a cell
– Identify the use and requirements of the search function in the range
– Search for data using the INDEX and MATCH functions.
Week 4-Verification of formulas and protection:
– Configure formula calculation options
– Tracking precedents and employees
– Explain how to check for errors in a spreadsheet
– Protect workbooks and worksheets
Week 5 – Data models:
– Different Model scenarios based on inputs, assumptions, and outcomes
– Use Goal Seek and Solver to investigate which input parameters produce a desired outcome
– Using Data Tables and Scenario Management
Week 6 – Macro recorded:
– Identifying the uses of macros in Excel
– Create macros to automate repetitive tasks
– Modifying macros to extend their functionality
– Managing macros efficiently
Excel Skills for Business: Advanced
Become an expert in Excel
The fourth and final course, Excel Skills for Business: Advanced, prepares students to become expert users of Excel. In this course, you will learn advanced formula techniques, such as matrix functions and structured references, and how to clean and prepare data for analysis. Students also learn how to work with financial and data functions, create advanced searches and build professional dashboards in Excel.
Quick overview of the“Advanced” course curriculum
Week 1 – Spreadsheet design and structure:
– Design flexible and verifiable spreadsheets
– Creating robust and transparent calculations
– Create spreadsheets that document automatically
– Use formatting to improve functionality
Week 2 – Advanced formula techniques:
– Apply structured references in formulas
– Explain the use of matrix formulas
– Creating formulas with matrix functions
– Use matrix formulas in calculations
Week 3-Cleaning and preparing data:
– Correcting dates with the help of functions
– Replace blanks with repetitive values
– Remove unwanted spaces and characters from the data
Week 4 – Financial functions and working with dates:
– Apply formulas on dates in calculations
– Use financial functions in calculations
– Create an amortization schedule with financial functions
– Using depreciation functions
Week 5 – Advanced search functions:
– Explain the reference style R1C1 and A1
– Use the INDIRECT and ADDRESS functions.
– Create searches using the OFFSET function
– Use INDEX for complex searches
Week 6 – Creating professional dashboards:
– Designing visual representation of data in dashboards
– Prepare data for visual representation
– Create interactive dashboard elements
The “Excel Skills for Business” Specialization offers comprehensive and in-depth training ranging from the basics to advanced Excel skills. Through this specialization, you will gain a solid understanding of the functionality offered by the software and be able to confidently meet the challenges associated with data analysis in the enterprise environment.
The course, particularly the “Advanced” phase, proved challenging, with intermediate exams and a final exam of considerable complexity. A solid foundation of skills in administration and finance is necessary to navigate the final stage of specialization successfully. However, overcoming these challenges will enable you to refine your skills further and become a true Excel expert.
- Course content: lectures’ quality, the topic’s relevance, and how well the course met your initial expectations.
- Clarity of instruction: how easy it was to understand the course material, whether the instructions were clear, and whether the teacher provided sufficient explanations.
- Practical applicability: if the skills acquired in the course will be helpful in my career or practical applications.
- Support and resources: additional learning resources, such as supplementary readings and support offered by tutors or fellow students.
- Difficulty level: the complexity of the course and how challenging it was for me to complete it; more stars indicate a more challenging course.
- Overall value: overall judgment of the quality of the course, considering both the cost and what I gained in terms of new skills acquired.
If you are looking for an experienced and reliable Excel consultant to help you maximize the potential of this tool, please do not hesitate to contact me. They are available to discuss your needs and find the best solution for your business.