Excel VBA Jobs / Career

1ul1an

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
2
Office Version
  1. 365
  2. 2019
Platform
  1. Windows
Hi! I've been working with Excel for quite some time and also started to learn VBA and developed a few projects for current and previous employers, mostly trying to automate tasks and make my job easier, but also to help the business. I have some background in programming, but I thought it was not my thing. But now I love to be challenged about creating a macro or do something with VBA to improve processes. I am interested about becoming a developer, but not sure if it's a good idea or not. On one hand, I see so much potential for automating and improving business processes, on the other hand I've read that VBA is pretty outdated and I also can't find many Excel VBA developer jobs, at least in my country. I am also considering working on projects remote. Do you think someone can have a career on Excel VBA? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this. Thanks!
 

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Eric W

MrExcel MVP
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
10,471
Welcome to MrExcel!

I really wouldn't count on getting a job solely on the basis of your Excel knowledge. Most jobs where Excel is used extensively have a title like "Financial Analyst" where Excel is just a tool to accomplish a bigger purpose, not a purpose in and of itself. A big company which needs a process or system developed would likely use a more robust tool to do so, something specifically designed for the task, SQL, Java, or some other IDE. Smaller companies might indeed use Excel to develop processes, since it's easily available and the Swiss army knife of office tools. But they'd also have far fewer processes to build/improve. Once they had their processes working, they'd have no need to continue to change them.

This leaves contract work. And indeed, some people can make a living out of it. MrExcel has a staff of consultants who take on projects as needed. This would include these small business projects. There are some places on the web who hire people to do Excel piecework developing, but the returns are small. I looked into some of them, and concluded that I wouldn't get much more than pocket money out of it. If you set up your own company, it might work, but that's a fair amount of work, especially in building a reputation and drumming up business. Another route is by writing books about Excel or being a trainer, but that niche is pretty crowded.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from being a developer!! I've been one my whole career, and I've found it to be quite rewarding. But you need more tools in your tool box than just Excel. I've been a programmer, and there are many languages that are in high demand now, research that. If you're not into programming, IT encompasses more that that. DBAs, scripting, data architect, network admin, hardware engineer, testing specialist, the list goes on and on. Look around your country/locale and see what jobs are in demand, and find something that looks interesting.

Good luck!
 

1ul1an

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
2
Office Version
  1. 365
  2. 2019
Platform
  1. Windows
Welcome to MrExcel!

I really wouldn't count on getting a job solely on the basis of your Excel knowledge. Most jobs where Excel is used extensively have a title like "Financial Analyst" where Excel is just a tool to accomplish a bigger purpose, not a purpose in and of itself. A big company which needs a process or system developed would likely use a more robust tool to do so, something specifically designed for the task, SQL, Java, or some other IDE. Smaller companies might indeed use Excel to develop processes, since it's easily available and the Swiss army knife of office tools. But they'd also have far fewer processes to build/improve. Once they had their processes working, they'd have no need to continue to change them.

This leaves contract work. And indeed, some people can make a living out of it. MrExcel has a staff of consultants who take on projects as needed. This would include these small business projects. There are some places on the web who hire people to do Excel piecework developing, but the returns are small. I looked into some of them, and concluded that I wouldn't get much more than pocket money out of it. If you set up your own company, it might work, but that's a fair amount of work, especially in building a reputation and drumming up business. Another route is by writing books about Excel or being a trainer, but that niche is pretty crowded.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from being a developer!! I've been one my whole career, and I've found it to be quite rewarding. But you need more tools in your tool box than just Excel. I've been a programmer, and there are many languages that are in high demand now, research that. If you're not into programming, IT encompasses more that that. DBAs, scripting, data architect, network admin, hardware engineer, testing specialist, the list goes on and on. Look around your country/locale and see what jobs are in demand, and find something that looks interesting.

Good luck!

Thank you very much! You pretty much confirmed my thoughts on the subject. I am not interested about becoming a trainer in Excel or anything similar, I loved more the creativity part than the tool itself (which I still love, it is the Swiss army knife of the Office package, but it has its limitations regarding the amount of data you can analyze using it. I believe the path I wish to pursue is towards data analysis and big data analysis. But again, although I like working with data, I think I love more the creative part of trying to improve processes (the project itself, not the documentation part). That's why I'm undecided at the moment. I see data analysis more like interogating data, which seems a little bit boring comparing to developing "new" stuff (not reinventing the wheel, but more using existing things and putting them together to achive a greater purpose).

I learned Pascal when I was in middle school, C when I was in highschool, but when I started learning about C++ and Java during university, I felt overwhelmed and decided it was not my thing. I believe this was because I hit a roadblock, gave up and started hating programming, while now the fact that I understand things in VBA intrigues me again and makes me think I was wrong giving up. Confidence is also an issue from what I've noticed, in the sense that I wouldn't say I know something if I don't master it, while others just say they are programmers although they have less knowledge than I do. I was thinking about learning Python, learning to work in Power BI (already have a license in Tableau), SQL. Would you recommend something else, judging by the above? Lost soul, seek guidance.
 

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