Whether you would like to step up on the job market or are afraid of your job being taken by the machines, without a doubt, learning programming is worthwhile. You might have come across some programming languages in the past, be it at school or the famed boot camps. Unless you are now using some of them daily or at your work, chances are that your attempts have been futile.
In this article, I am going to present why VBA (Visual Basic for Applications, also known as macros or just the programming language for Excel) is the missing step on your staircase to more complex programming languages.
What's VBA, and how do I use it?
It's the programming language for Excel and beyond. It lets you automate repetitive tasks, perform multiple structured operations inside MS Excel with just one click of a button. You can also cleanse data, add automated data sense-checks, formatting, produce and send reports (i.e. with Outlook or Gmail), selectively extract information from data and even deploy machine learning algorithms or harvest information from websites. And why is it so easy?
1. You can use VBA inside MS Excel
Excel's Visual Basic Editor (VBE) is a user-friendly interface environment where you can see the code of macros and custom-made functions, among others. You can store your macros there, test and run them.
you will already know many Excel functions & properties
you will see suggestions as you write code
if you make a typo, it will likely be marked
2. You can record your Excel actions
press the red recording button
perform your operations (i.e. add new worksheets)
remove the junk (i.e. scrolling)
optimise, test, and you are good to go!
3. It transforms an everyday copy-paster into a God-mode Excel user
repeating something 120 times? Just add: "for i=1 to 120" and at the end "next i" and replace the variable part with "i"
sending 50 reports to the same people every month? Include the minimum amount of information necessary and get the macro to do send them
not sure which files are connected to your dashboards? Extract the links and cell addresses all in one minute
4. It's a complete programming language
You can use Excel macros for, i.e.:
creating pivot tables
sorting files in folders
VBA is also a powerful tool that can deploy statistical or econometric models and even machine learning!
5. You can develop most of the essential programming skills with VBA
learn how to optimise code length
use the least computational power needed
perfect loops, conditions customisable coding, error finding
6. It's free once you've got Excel, which makes it popular
there are also many ready-made building blocks online
the user base is enormous and growing
you don't need high tech skills to run macros
7. Helps to get a job or promotion
great for all sorts of data analysts (financial, consulting, management, especially reporting)
very useful for programme managers, administrative roles and financial professionals
adds a professional appeal to work of project managers, business analysts, process improvement analysts
How long does it take to learn VBA?
If you are comfortable working with Excel, it could take you just a few weeks to learn to an intermediate/functional level. If you live in Greater London, we run 1/2-day introductory courses that will equip you with everything you need to painlessly continue study on your own, learning what you need most.