Spreadsheet training and qualifications

So who has got any???

There is an interesting discussion going on here:


I thought I would pull it into a main post for wider discussion.

I have a post nearly finished about skill sets but lets cover spreadsheets specifically.

I have an MCP in Excel (5.0) and VBA in 1996/7 (by self study), shortly before MS retired the exam.

I have an MCSD in VB5/6, and an MCSD.net in C#, some of which is vaguely relevant to spreadsheets (well the VB stuff for VBA, C# is not overly relevant). I have an MSc in software development which was very good for design and analysis type stuff, and all the programming was C++ which is handy for xlls.

I have never had any [formal] training in any spreadsheets. I think Eusprig, (or some attendees at least) have been looking at developing a course. And I think PODA have too. Personally I’m not sure, the best developers I have met have been self taught, and so have the worst. Theres self taught and theres untaught.

I think most business college courses now teach some spreadsheeting, personally I think they would be better teaching databases, but thats another discussion. Sometimes I wish the accounting bodies included spreadsheeting (or databases) in their programs.

So do you have any formal training relevant to spreadsheet use/development? Any relevant qualifications?



8 Responses to “Spreadsheet training and qualifications”

  1. Jon Peltier Says:

    My software training consists of a half-year class in high school (in 1977) where we used punch cards and such. As an undergrad I had to use the mainframe, but the formal training was limited to instructions on logging on. Undergrad and grad school computer use was always self-taught.

    I learned spreadsheets while working as an engineer, because we didn’t have ready access to dedicated data analysis packages. Again, this was self-taught. When Excel 97 came out, I got my boss to send me to a three day VBA class. That was essentially self-taught as well, since I was the only person in the class who didn’t need to be shown which mouse button did what. While the instructor gave instructions, I was doing my own stuff on my computer, and when the class did exercises, I asked the instructor the questions I’d had in the meantime.

    I say self-taught, which means lots of work with the manual in the earlier days and lots of time on the internet more recently (since about 1997). News groups, forums, web sites. Google has become an invaluable programming tool.

  2. Marcus Says:

    I studied Economics and Marketing at Uni. Unfortunately I found Eco too boring and Marketing too B.S. I only did one subject at uni which required us to produce a spreadsheet model.

    I got a job at a computer training company and taught myself after hours – I’ve got a large bookshelf. Eventually I was taking about 22 classes (where Intro, Intermediate and Advanced are three different classes). The VBA and LotusScript courses I conducted focused on simply writing macros but didn’t cover design principles or best practice. From corporate training I moved on to development – that was about 10 years ago – again all self-taught.

    I’ve also got the Excel 5.0 MCP and have been tempted, but never committed to, getting my MCSD. I proudly mentioned my MCP in an interview once only to be deflated with: “yeah, but that’s one of the easiest exams”.

  3. Simon Says:

    Marcus I’d say the Excel MCP is one of the rarest, you’re the first other person I know who has it.

  4. Biggus Dickus Says:

    I also was an Excel 5.0 MCP….. and an Access 2.0 MCP and a Windows 3.11 MCP – didn’t make me anything though…

    As much as I hate these tests I think it would have been better if they had continue Excel and Access MCP status. The dropping of them was the “canary in the coal-mine” that warned me that Office development was being downgraded.

  5. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    What value has the MCSD bought you. I find very little demand for it in the classifieds. The primary benefits I throught it may bring are:

    > Forcing me to cover the basics in the respectiv technologies,

    > Adding some credability with client with whom I have no prior relationship or referral.

    What are your thoughts? Anyone else?

    Cheers – Marcus

  6. Marcus Says:

    The qestion above is probably another way of me asking is the ROI worth me pulling my finger out?

  7. Simon Says:

    Did you realise at the time dropping the exams was a sign, or has it dawned on you later?
    I started to see the writing on the wall when they dropped the Access 2000 set. From then on it started to look like a marketing gimmick for Visual Studio.
    Marcus – ROI, probably not worth it if paying yourself and losing fee income.

  8. Biggus Dickus Says:


    Yep – I saw it immediately.

    I really learned it when I was talking to an MS Cert VP and she said “Access isn’t a strategic product…” and therefore didn’t deserve a cert exam. I assumed Excel was also not strategic anymore.

    What really gets me is the way things like the MOUS test the new features of the newest version prominently. That proves that it’s really just part of their marketing – not a legit effort to separate those who have the real skills to use the whole product from those who do not. It’s so obvious that it can’t possibly have any value but to give the person(s) creating the exam a job ;-). No cynicism here…..

    Best regards my friend….

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