How to Become an Expert in Microsoft Excel

MS Excel is one of the most demanded skills for employment across many industries. A certification in Excel will open many doors of opportunities for you.
Because it can be used in a variety of business settings, from project management to human resources, anyone who is a Microsoft Excel expert is always in demand. Becoming a certified expert can not only get you hired but also help you advance in your career. So, in order to assist you in becoming a Microsoft Excel expert, we will answer all the questions you may have about becoming one in this article.
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Technology is rapidly evolving. It appears to move at the speed of light, and we assume that everyone stays current. While some have years of experience with Microsoft Office applications such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, and others, many have only basic skills.

Although many business majors learn to use Microsoft Excel as part of their coursework, most degree programs do not require Excel proficiency at the expert level. Those who have been in the workforce for a long time may never have had the chance to improve their Excel skills with advanced concepts until they suddenly find a need for it at the job.

If you need to catch up on the latest Excel features, it's not difficult. Microsoft Excel certification can even be obtained through online, instructor-led courses from the comfort of your own home or office. However, the best plan of action should be to get a certificate from an accredited college so that it can add value to your resume.

In this article, we look at what MS Excel is and how to become a Microsoft Excel expert. So read on to start becoming an expert now!

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Becoming an MS Excel expert

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that is widely used in offices worldwide. It is a spreadsheet program that helps with data storage, extraction, and statistical analysis. With companies now having access to more data than ever before MS Excel skills are almost a prerequisite for most jobs. 

Becoming an expert in MS Excel is not a difficult task, you just need the right training for it. While on the job training is available in most organizations, expert-level skills are usually gotten from a good certification from accredited institutions.

The Microsoft Excel expert certification cost from a good community college is very affordable, ranging from $200 to 350 usually. The value of an investment of a few hundred dollars in such a course is substantial. It could set you apart at job interviews immediately.

The other great news is that it takes only about 6 weeks to get your hands on an MS Excel expert certification and there are no pre-requisites required to enroll.

Related: Here is a good article on how to get hired from a Community College with simple certifications

More than 750 million people use Excel to manage trillions of dollars worth of calculations and analyses. But with all these free resources available to learn the tool, why does anyone need to be certified?

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Is Microsoft Excel expert certification worth it?

Your potential employer has no way of knowing if you've opened Excel once or if you’re an expert. 

Earning a Microsoft Excel expert certification can help you stand out in the job market by demonstrating to employers and hiring managers that you have the necessary skills. 

In some cases, becoming an expert in MS Excel with an accredited certification may even be required to apply for the job. The ability to manage complex workbooks, perform large-scale data analysis, create pivot tables, and use VBA puts you ahead of many others.

Also, you must understand that data is very valuable to organizations and critical decisions are taken based on the accuracy of the analysis that Excel users churn out on a daily basis. 

Handing this data in the hands of inexperienced employees or basing business-critical decisions on their analysis could be a dangerous thing for an organization. This is why being an expert at MS Excel will immediately get the attention of your potential employers.

Aside from demonstrating proficiency, obtaining an expert-level MS Excel certification demonstrates that you have made a commitment to the work required to learn and pass the exam. Taking the initiative to improve yourself can be the difference that sets you apart.

Furthermore, you will position yourself for new opportunities in data management and big data, as well as strengthen your project management toolkit.

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What kind of jobs require Microsoft Excel expert certification?

Excel has numerous applications, ranging from creating pivot tables for accounting ledgers to tracking a company's sales data. A Microsoft Excel expert can help in any department and in any given industry as long as there is data and that data needs to be analyzed.

Here is a list of some of the job roles that require expert MS Excel skills:

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts examine financial data to identify investment opportunities, reduce operating costs, and write reports on the information's specifics. A financial analyst, in collaboration with a sales manager, suggests ways to increase the company's financial growth.

Business and Market Analyst

A business analyst uses data analytics to bridge the gap between IT and the business, allowing business intelligence to be extracted from raw data. Following that, a market analyst assists the business in making informed market decisions based on the data.

Related: How to Use Excel for Business

Data Analyst

A data analyst assists a company in making decisions by inspecting, transforming, and modeling data in order to discover useful information and reach a conclusion. Data Analysts are usually Microsoft Excel experts and they use their skills to identify trends and make predictions about the future.

Auditor or Accountant

Accountants and auditors examine financial statements and documents to ensure that they are correct and up to date. They also file critical financial data and file tax returns.

Cost Estimator

A cost estimator is in charge of gathering and analyzing data in order to estimate the time and resources required to manufacture a product. A cost estimator must, of course, be skilled at reading, analyzing, and maintaining records of estimated and actual costs.

HR Executive

MS Excel can also be used to organize data about people, particularly in large organizations. It can, for example, be used to store employee information such as names, email addresses, and start dates in a convenient location that can be accessed when needed. All these tasks are child’s play for a Microsoft Excel expert.

Clerks/ Administrative Assistants/ Secretaries

Secretaries and clerks in the office use Microsoft Excel to store and organize administrative data. Excel is also used for calculations, invoicing, and other common tasks such as contacting suppliers or clients.

How hard is it to become an expert in Microsoft Excel?

The time it takes to complete any level of proficiency, of course, is determined by your grasping power and ability to learn concepts quickly. Having said that, learning expert-level topics in MS Excel usually takes three to four weeks. 

You must not only become familiar with MS Excel concepts but, as is the case with learning any new skill, practice every day to achieve expertise.

In particular, a Microsoft Excel expert is adept at executing VLOOKUP, Macros, and similar advanced Excel functions. These expert-level functions are time-consuming to learn, but they are not impossible to master. 

So it's all up to you. You can learn it in four weeks if you practice every day and devote around 2-3 hours per day to learning the concepts. Enrolling in an accredited course will also speed things up rapidly because these courses are structured to explain and instill expert-level skills in easy-to-digest modules.

Unmudl Tip: Learning Excel is exactly like learning a language. In order to master the concepts in Excel, you must use the tricks and formulas on a daily basis. This practice helps the brain retain concepts and shortcuts which is what makes you an expert.

Is Excel more difficult to use than Google Sheets?

Yes, because it has more features, Excel is slightly more difficult to learn than Google Sheets. Both applications will be difficult for beginners who are unfamiliar with spreadsheets. 

Having said that, becoming a Microsoft Excel expert is still a good idea because Excel is simply more feature-rich and has many functions and commands that make it better for statistical and data analysis, such as conditional formatting.

How to get certified as a Microsoft Excel expert

It is almost a requirement to have basic spreadsheet experience in any kind of job but for jobs that pay well in senior positions like those mentioned above, you need expert-level skills in Microsoft Excel. We have listed below two levels of certification that can help you on your way to becoming an expert in MS Excel.

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Introduction to Microsoft Excel Certificate from PIMA Community College

This is an entry-level certification and is a good first step to becoming a Microsoft Excel expert. Even if you are just an office assistant, knowing MS Excel even at a basic level can help you advance forward in your career.

Course Description: Make worksheets to help you manage, store, organize and analyze data. Excel, Microsoft's powerful spreadsheet software, is the most commonly used program for this purpose. In fact, most employers require new employees to have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel. 

This course will introduce you to the basic functions and uses of Microsoft Excel 2019 in 2019. You will learn numerous shortcuts to quickly and efficiently set up worksheets through hands-on lessons. 

You will also learn how to use the function wizard to compute statistics, future values, and other things. You'll also learn how to sort and analyze data, create three-dimensional workbooks, and automate frequently-repeated tasks with macros and buttons.

Course Fee: $218.75Total Price (Excluding Tax)

Work activities you can put on your resume after the course:

  • Collect personal or financial information from customers or applicants
  • Keep track of financial data
  • Calculate financial information
  • Make a tax calculation
  • Check the accuracy of any financial or transactional data
  • Compile information or documentation

About PIMA Community College: Pima Community College is Southern Arizona's premier training institution for adult learners looking to gain skills and credentials quickly. If you want to advance in your current job or find a new one, you've come to the right place.

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Excel Expert for Data Analysts from Washtenaw Community College

This is an advanced course that will get you certified as a Microsoft Excel expert. Using real-world data from counties and municipalities, you will learn how to enter, analyze, and create advanced reports such as PivotTables and Pivot Charts.

Course Description: After completing this specialization, you will be able to use advanced Excel functions, creative visualizations, and powerful automation features to bring data to life.

These classes will provide you with a comprehensive set of tools for data transformation, linking, and analysis. You will be able to create stunning interactive dashboards and master a wide range of charts. Finally, using PowerPivot, Get and Transform, and DAX, you will discover a new dimension in Excel.

Course Fee: $240Total Price (Excluding Tax)

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Work activities you can put on your resume after the course:

  • Examine the data for errors in recording
  • Check the accuracy of any financial or transactional data
  • Compile information or documentation
  • Solve problems in scientific or applied fields using mathematical principles or statistical approaches
  • Analyze data to discover trends or relationships between variables
  • Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities
  • Analyze data to identify and/or solve operational issues

About Washtenaw Community College: WCC has grown from its humble beginnings to become one of the nation's premier community colleges, with an annual enrollment of more than 20,000 students in credit classes and thousands more in Economic and College Development classes. 

Their diverse student body includes over 1,000 students from over 100 different countries. The Washtenaw Community College 285-acre campus and strategically located extension centers, operating resources, technology-enabled facilities, and instructional quality are highly regarded amongst post-secondary education institutions.

Final Words

MS Excel is a program that is widely available and relatively simple to learn. A Microsoft Excel expert can perform both simple and complex business data analysis. Once you've figured out how to use Excel, new doors of opportunities will open for you. 

The qualifications required to become a Microsoft Excel expert vary greatly depending on the job. A bachelor's degree is preferred by many employers, but it is not universal. 

The only qualification that is universal is proficiency in Microsoft Excel and all this requires is a quality certification from an accredited institution like PIMA Community College and  Washtenaw Community College mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions

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