What is Microsoft Excel and Is It Worth Learning?

Fatima Lira
Edited by Aanya Choudhary
Published on
October 31, 2023

At least once in your high school career you may have heard of Microsoft Excel. Or perhaps, you associate it with its spreadsheets and vast features that are useful for creating graphs and such. Surprisingly, learning at least the basics of Excel is incredibly important for future endeavors, no matter what career path you choose to focus on. 

What is Excel?

Excel is primarily useful for data organization, analysis, and visualization which can be applied for all fields and everyday use. It is a very powerful spreadsheet program that operates on a grid-like interface consisting of rows and columns. Excel offers an extensive variety of formulas and functions which allows the user to perform calculations, manipulate data, and create models of any type. Data visualization is made easier with Excel as you can freely create charts, graphs, and tables to understand, analyze, and present data visually. It is also an efficient tool for storing and controlling data sets of any size. 

Should You Learn Excel in High School?

Learning how to use Excel as a high schooler is definitely worth it! There are many reasons why learning Excel is valuable.

  • Essential Life Skill: Excel skills are applicable in both academic and professional settings. This can range from tracking expenses, conduction biology research, or even analyzing data for a school project. Being proficient in Excel is a great asset to possess.
  • College + Career Readiness: Excel is quite commonly used in college coursework and it is a fundamental skill in many careers such as business, finance, data science, engineering, biology, and so much more!
  • Data Literacy: The world today is very data-driven, so understanding how data works and how it works is crucial. Learning Excel encourages basic data analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  • High Demand: Being proficient in Excel is a sought-after skill in the job market. It can provide you a competitive edge when applying for internships as well as part-time jobs during high school and college.

How + Where to Learn Excel in High School

If you do choose to learn Excel, there are endless opportunities that are free in order to learn how to use it.

  • Online Resources: There are multiple online free tutorials and courses that are readily available to get you started with Excel. Many of these resources are provided by universities, education technology platforms, and even Microsoft itself.
  • School Curriculum: Many school curriculums include basic Excel training as part of their curriculum.
  • Books: Although online resources are easily accessible, investing in a guidebook can also be efficient for those who prefer textbook learning.
  • Certification: If you find yourself particularly interested in learning Excel, you can always pursue a Microsoft Excel Certification (MOS) which requires a fee to take an exam. If you prefer to opt for a free option, online resources such as Udemy or Great Learning offer free courses to get certified.

In conclusion, Microsoft Excel is a versatile tool that can be applied beyond everyday use. Learning Excel equips you with valuable skills for college and the workforce. Don’t be afraid to give it a try and explore what it has to offer.

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