My name is Joseph and I’m currently a software developer at citrix.com who loves tech gadgets, tech news, comedians, and some video games. I also like to exercise, learn about nutrition, learn other languages (my first language is English, but I’m pretty fluent in Spanish and I studied some Japanese), and I like to get outside, too. At this point you might be asking, “…so why create a blog about Excel?”
Great question! I will get to the “why” part, but first please let me share with you the “how” I got to where I am with Excel.
How I got to be a bit of an expert in Excel
My career actually started in Excel reporting. It was 2004 and I was in college studying Engineering Science when I had the chance to work at a company through a friend of mine. The job had to deal with making Excel reports and even though I had no clue what I was doing at the time, I knew it would probably be better than working for Napa or Pep Boys like I was. So I took the job. I would say that job was the start of my professional career.
After buying Excel 2000 Formulas, I was well on my way to developing reports, dashboards, and more. Eventually my boss started requesting me to do things that I knew required VBA programming, which at that point I bought Microsoft Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA and joined the VBA forum VBA Express. I made friends with some online people like Ken Puls and I followed other Excel sites like Contextures. After a while of learning, I decided to join the community and help people out with VBA issues and I really enjoyed it.
Later on, I graduated with my Associates in Science degree and ended up leaving the company and moved to Florida. Since I was studying Mechanical Engineering at my new school for my bachelor’s degree, I found a job as a CAD designer. I still loved going to the Excel forums and helping people out, so I thought of it as a hobby. I actually found ways to use VBA pretty extensively at my job, especially since AutoCAD has a VBA object model. I created all sorts of useful tools for myself. Eventually I had a sneaking suspicion that the company wasn’t doing well, and so I found a recruiter that helped me find my next job. After I went to the interview, I came back to my CAD design job and was told that the company was going to close in a few months. Thankfully I reacted when I thought I should have.
It’s kind of funny, actually, that being a bit of an expert in Excel actually helped me land my next job and a decent pay increase, which really surprised me. The job was for a CAD designer because I was still studying mechanical engineering. During the interview, my future boss said “You know, I get a lot of resumes with CAD experience, but you’re the first person I’ve seen with CAD experience AND VBA experience.” I was so surprised he knew what VBA was, to be honest. People usually think of macros instead of the term “VBA.” He continued, “I had a co-worker that did great things with VBA and we could really use someone like you around here.” I was so happy. All my studying and helping out on the forums actually got me a job. A job from what ended up as a hobby. It was awesome.
To illustrate what he meant by needing someone for VBA purposes, his first VBA assignment to me was to help him do some repetitive data gathering/analysis from another, painfully put together, spreadsheet and reformat it to look a certain way and some other criteria. Doing this manually took him about 2 hours to complete, which he had to do daily. A daily task that took 2 hours. Well, it was pretty difficult to program, actually. However, after about 24 working hours, I came back with a solution. All I said was “Click this button, and you’ll have your report.” He clicked the button, and 7 seconds later he had his report. He went from 2 hours to 7 seconds! A huge increase in productivity since he was a director and – I assume – paid well. It was the start of a great relationship with him and the rest of the team.
I also did CAD work in AutoCAD and CorelDraw. I know, CorelDraw isn’t a CAD platform, really. But hey, who am I to argue? They paid me, after all. To my surprise, CorelDraw also supported VBA and I made great use of that as well; saving me tons of time and effort for repetitive tasks that could be automated. I have to say, of all the VBA object models I’ve been exposed to, I like CorelDraw’s the best. Their help files are incredibly helpful and full of examples. Plus, a lot of method names just made so much sense to me. Very well done.
Eventually, I started to learn SQL and helped the company out with their inventory management system needs. I became the liaison between their database/ERP system developer and the company. I learned a lot about systems development along with UI design, web development, and other fun geeky stuff. I kept growing with my Excel skills along the way, both at work and on the forums. After being at that company for a year, I realized how much I loved programming. At the time, I was struggling in some of my mechanical engineering classes and my co-workers helped me realize that my passion was with computers. So I ended up switching majors and studied computer engineering instead, where I did a whole lot better. My grades improved greatly. I even received some awards for it! When I graduated I had been with the company for a total of 5.5 years.
Then I found a job at Citrix Systems and I’m currently employed there doing web development and I love it. I still do plenty of work in Excel and I continue to expand my knowledge in this program. At the same time I’m doing work in PHP, ASP.NET with C#, and SQL Server development. I’m truly having a blast.
OK, I get it. So, why create an Excel blog?
So recently, I came across Pat Flynn’s blog about how to make money online by sharing your expertise and I immediately became interested. I had always thought about starting a blog on Excel and sharing my knowledge, but I figured there were always other blogs that already do the same thing. However, Pat Flynn (along with some encouraging friends and a lovely wife) gave me the motivation to buy a domain and get started sharing my knowledge with you. I figure that even though there are plenty of blogs and people already sharing their knowledge in all areas of Excel, I feel that I can contribute as well. I hope this blog is at least just as useful (if not more useful) than some of the other blogs out there talking about Excel.
My promise to you is to try to give you something different. Even if I talk about a formula that has already been beaten to death by every Excel blogger, I try to deliver it in an easy-to-digest manner with enough details to keep you efficient and away from the pitfalls of some of Excel’s caveats.
I truly hope you enjoy this blog. And please, be interactive! Please comment, send me an email, a tweet, a facebook post, whatever you like and let me know how I’m doing and if there is something I can do better or different. If you have a particular topic that you would like me to write about, I would love to hear from you! Please email me with any questions, ideas, or comments. You can also subscribe to my site to receive notifications by email for when I put up new posts by going to the subscribe page.
If you made it this far I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know I can be a bit detailed at times, but at the same time, it was fun reminiscing about how I came to where I am today and with this blog.
Thank you for visiting and enjoy!