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Learning to Learn (Excel or anything else) - Oz du Soleil

xlcalibre.com is a wonderful site that’s focused on Excel and how it’s used (and can be used) in Human Resources.

I especially like the post Learning to Learn Excel. Often, the question comes up in conversation, in online forums, on Facebook, etc.

  • How to you learn Excel?
  • How can I master Excel?
  • Oz, how did you get good at Excel.
xlcalibre offers a great list for guidance. Take a look at it.

The one thing I can’t stress enough is the point: BE SELECTIVE. Excel is so vast that the only thing you can master is the reasons you would need to use Excel.

I’ve developed mastery around parsing data, scrubbing data, and organizing processes in Excel. But don’t ask me to run a statistical regression. Nope.
This lesson came to me while I was a participant at Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature Camp. Being around Vic, Chuck Rainey, Steve Bailey, Marcus Miller … I noticed that they each had a very sober inventory of what they can and cannot do. I don’t know if ‘mastery’ is in their vocabulary. They were more committed to delivering a solid product with their available tools.
Excel is similar. Be selective about what you want to know and need to know, and use it to deliver a solid output with the tools that you have.
One thing I will touch on briefly and expand on in a future post: “Oz, how did you get good at Excel?”

Answer: Two semesters of Calculus
Never used any Calculus in a spreadsheet, used minimal Trig, and a lot of basic Algebra. So much math experience trains a person to simultaneously think of the goal and the steps toward it. It trains a person to think several steps ahead. Word problems help a person translate language into symbols.

These are critical skills in using Excel at intermediate and advanced levels. Now you know what to say when a youngster questions why they need to study so much match! They can have a future in helping keep this word’s data clean.