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Can a person survive with VBA as primary skill

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by ThrottleWorks, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi,
    Disclaimers first
    This might be a wrong question. I honestly do not know.
    I am not expert in VBA (regular forum members are already aware of this fact)

    This is based on my experience in India.
    Around 5 years ago, a person familiar with VBA was easily absorbed by various companies.

    KPOs, BPOs, Investment banks.

    A person with good financial products background with VBA skill was always a plus as compared to a person with financial products knowledge only.
    However, currently VBA is not highly rated skill as it used to be.

    VBA is added advantage not the primary skill.
    SQL, R, Python or some other language is the core with VBA as optional.

    Most of the Forum members here are experts.

    They might be aware of this situation which I recently realized.
    However could you please help with your comments.

    Please note, this is not a personal rant. I am more into finance. :)
  2. Hui

    Hui Excel Ninja Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,632
    If you focus on anything and deliver a good product you should be able to survive

    But please don't throw in your current role based on my comments

    I'd feel the market out first

    Change your Linkedin profile to reflect a focus on VBA and see what that turns up
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  3. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi @Hui sir, thanks a lot for the help.
    I have uploaded my profile on few portals such as Monster.

    If searched by key word VBA, can hardly see opportunities with VBA as primary criteria.
    It is always with strong SQL, Oracle, C+, .Net or something or the other.
    Again, this is in India.

    PS - The current trend here is Robotics.
  4. Chihiro

    Chihiro Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    5,052
    Current market trend is toward Machine Learning, Big Data, Digital Marketing analytics, BI etc (in North America at least).

    For those, VBA isn't all that useful. Python/R is useful in all of above, along with knowledge of SQL (SSAS/DAX, SSMS, SSIS, Machine Learning Services).

    Having one or more of below usually is a must in analyst/BI roles:
    Tableau, Qlik, Jasper, Looker, PowerBI/SSAS, SAP and other proprietary software.

    But, if looking for analyst job in Financial sector, VBA is great value add (Excel with advanced lookup skill is usually listed as must).

    Edit: Any role that involves a lot of ad-hoc report and analysis, tend to value Excel/VBA skill quite highly.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    ThrottleWorks and NARAYANK991 like this.
  5. Hui

    Hui Excel Ninja Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,632
    A lot of Machine Learning, Big Data, Digital Marketing analytics, BI etc is mostly applicable at medium to large enterprise level.

    As such the application of Excel/Access and VBA solutions at the small to medium end of the market is where you will probably find most application of those technologies
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  6. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi @Chihiro sir, saying thanks would be formality but still thanks a lot !
    May be am going off topic or I am ignorant.

    I am aware Access can be alternative for Excel and Excel VBA in some cases.
    Though both have their unique core advantages.

    Can we say, same thing about Machine learning, Python or R.
    Can these be alternate to VBA.

    For example, can a VBA specific job be achieved by using Machine learning, Python or R. Or technically it may be possible but would not be feasible to use Python or R instead of VBA. These are my doubts not observation. :)


  7. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi @Hui sir, thanks a lot for the help. Have a nice day ahead. :)
  8. shrivallabha

    shrivallabha Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,918
    I don't think person with VBA as standalone skill will survive. It will be a niche job if he gets one.

    On the basis of following terms in my profile: Excel, VBA and Access I have received three notifications from naukri, they were Mphasis (I think they have office in Pune), JP Morgan Chase (Mumbai) and McKinsey (Delhi region). I thought of once applying but then decided not to since I was happy with the work (which still is the case).

    Disclaimer: I have no knowledge of analyst environment as I work with Engineering CAD tools. My exposure to Excel is pretty limited in Office environs and more has come through forums like Chandoo, MrExcel, VBAX and off late stack overflow.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  9. Peter Bartholomew

    Peter Bartholomew Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    446
    @ThrottleWorks
    I wouldn't have thought of VBA as a saleable skill in isolation. There are a number of engineering applications that can be extended by using VBA but it is mainly MS Office that can be transformed by a knowledge of VBA.

    I suspect that the high-profile work is likely to be more linked to the things that interest web developers, which is driven by the computer languages mentioned in previous posts and not VBA. Meanwhile companies need business processes that see them through their day-by-day work and it is here that Office/VBA skills are most likely to contribute.

    You mention Access. This is not my area, so others may know different, but I would tend to think of SQL Server for business applications rather than Access, which I see as more of a single user tool. Bringing data back into Excel using Power Query also seems to provide useful functionality that others are only now getting to grips with.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  10. Peter Bartholomew

    Peter Bartholomew Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    446
    @shrivallabha
    I would love to know how you honed your Excel skills in an engineering environment. It appears that Excel plays a role in the development of most engineering products but I am far more aware of discussion related to the business use than its role in product development.

    Proportion of engineering companies using Spreadsheets for various purposes
    upload_2018-6-28_12-15-24.png
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  11. shrivallabha

    shrivallabha Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,918
    I work in Oil and Gas where there are specialized tools for CAD/CAE which mostly have traditionally favored DB (Oracle or SQLServer). The usage of Excel therefore is pretty limited as these validated applications are something that clients prefer any day over loose data in Excel.

    My exposure to Excel began with VLOOKUP. If you are interested in the story then it is here:
    https://chandoo.org/forum/threads/congrats-shrivallabha-for-1000-post.18244/#post-110627

    So playing with Excel is more of a pastime for me. It has also been rewarding one. Several times, I have escaped sticky situations by writing formulas where others in my office would struggle. Recently I prepared a small tool which in essence does "FIND and REPLACE" of keywords and creates individual documents like a database application. It saves lot of manual effort and time. Also gives accuracy. However, people are not inclined (mostly unaware) to use Excel and its features. Recently, we have started an internal group on Yammer and response has been good. Hopefully, after some time at least few more will use Excel as more than a table.

    Edit: Italic portion is added after posting.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  12. Chihiro

    Chihiro Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    5,052
    Each plays very different role.

    VBA is proprietary and isn't really meant for stand-alone program and is meant to run in host application, with ability to control other applications through OLE automation. This is highly OS/application dependent, and is not suitable for many environment.

    R is open-source and is for statistical computing and it's primarily used for data analysis and statistical analysis. It has very specific role, but is widely used in it's field and gained in popularity in last 10 years or so. Many major commercial software now supports connection to or integration with R.

    Python is open-source and is general purpose language. Gained wide popularity in early 2000's and has many libraries that cover wide range of functionality. Read more about it on wiki.

    Machine Learning is not programming language, but is algorithm using statistical analysis to make computers "learn" with data. Both R and Python are popular language to use in this regard as both are open-source. Wolfram Language is also used (most notably in Mathematica), but is proprietary.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  13. chirayu

    chirayu Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    924
    My current role is pretty much Excel VBA or in house software, along with understanding EDI.

    With regards to in house software, its linked to databases which the IT guys maintain so no more need for me to ever use SQL - which unfortunately means that my knowledge has reduced over the years.

    To be honest as far as I'm concerned it doesn't particularly matter if you're VBA only as long as you've got a good portfolio of work behind it.

    My previous job was in the Financial Sector and my current one is in the Logistics Sector. I literally walked in with 0 knowledge of it. So make sure you keep a copy of examples/update your CV and if possible bring your laptop to your interview to showcase your work
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  14. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi @chirayu sorry for late reply. Thanks a lot for the help.

  15. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,879
    Hi @Chihiro sir, you are always amazing with your replies.

    I am reading this thread multiple times to understand points mentioned.
    Thanks a lot everyone. :)

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