What do super-heroes have in common? When I think about super-heroes a lot of comic book characters come to mind: Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers… and what sets these guys apart from run of the mill folk like you and me is that they have special abilities and powers.
When called to fight the “bad guys”, superheroes swoop in to save the day with decisive action. But more than just taking action, because their unique abilities and powers allow them to do things that normal people can’t. Some super-heroes are born with their unique powers, others have their abilities thrust on them by accident, and some develop skills through years of training.
If I’m going to single out one super-hero to focus on here, it’s got to be Batman. Born a “normal” guy with no special abilities (just very rich parents), it took Bruce Wayne years of practice with extraordinary teachers to reach a level of mastery that allowed him to turn himself into Batman.
And just like Bruce Wayne’s path to becoming Batman, the path to becoming an Excel hero is not an instant transformation. It took years of dedication and mastery of the right skills and technology before the Batman emerged as the Dark Knight ready to save Gotham City from hordes of evil-doers. And yes, you can become an Excel Hero by taking a similar path.
Take your first step on the journey by reading on, and make sure you check out my Q&A session with Excel Hero Academy creator, Daniel Ferry.
What on earth is an Excel Hero?
Let me give you my personal take on the meaning of the term “Excel Hero”. An Excel Hero is someone who thoroughly understands how Excel works, and can use their knowledge and skills to build extremely elegant solutions to difficult problems using Excel and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). If you think your mastery of Excel is good, what about pushing it to the next level?
How do I become an Excel Hero?
While I do not claim to be an Excel Hero, there is one person I can call an Excel Hero and who can take you on your first steps to becoming an Excel Hero yourself. His name is Daniel Ferry and he has 25+ years of Excel development experience.
Daniel’s awesome Excel work has been featured in the Microsoft Excel 25th Anniversary celebration video, which you can watch below. Check out 0:26 “NFL Drive Chart”, 0:38 “An Aging Population”, 0:40 “Freshbooks Economy” and 0:45 “Animated Business Chart”.
To give you an idea of Daniel Ferry’s level of Excel expertise, check out three of my favourite articles on the Excel Hero blog:
- The Imposing INDEX function
- Animated Business Chart “Our Aging World”
- Animated Business Chart “Body Mass Index”
Here is an animated picture of “Our Aging World” created by Daniel Ferry using Microsoft Excel,
Introducing The Excel Hero Academy “EHA”
You can learn from Daniel’s expertise by joining him as he instructs the next class of future Excel Heroes. Excel Hero Academy 5 opens for registration on January 7, 2013 and closes its doors to new students on January 21, 2013.
The Excel Hero Academy is an online course that is totally unique. I have not seen anything else like it on the internet. It teaches you how to use VBA, the programming language you can use to control Excel and Office, and even hook into your computer’s operating system.
Will the Excel Hero Academy suit me?
The Excel Hero Academy will give you a very solid foundation to start you on the road to becoming an Excel Hero. Of course it will take a lot of work on your part to continue mastering Excel, but joining EHA5 will give you a real competitive advantage over people who just learn Excel from 1-day training courses and read Excel how-to books.
But realize that the path to becoming an Excel Hero is much like the path that Bruce Wayne took to becoming Batman. It will take years of dedicated practice to reach the same levels of mastery that Daniel Ferry has. And you’ll enjoy every moment of it if you lay a strong foundation by joining Excel Hero Academy 5..
Q&A with Daniel Ferry (Excel Hero Creator)
I asked Daniel Ferry, the course creator, some specific questions to help you understand whether or not this is the right course for you. He was gracious enough to answer in detail, and you can read his answers below:
Question 1. How many students do you expect to enroll on EHA5? Given the number of students, what is your plan to ensure they get sufficient coaching and attention from you?
Daniel: Each of the classes so far has had several hundred new students. I expect the same for EHA5. In addition many students from previous classes resit the course. The class forums are designed for students to help each other, and this happens constantly every day. I also have a few individuals that have taken the course before who I’ve awarded as EHA MVPs (Most Valued Professionals). Hui from Chandoo is one of these. They monitor the forums for questions as well. And of course I interact and answer questions as well. The system works very well. I plan to scale it so that we can handle thousands of students simultaneously. This is one of my goals for 2013.
Question 2. What have alumni of past EHA courses gone on to do with their careers? How do they get to use their skills?
Daniel: I don’t know that many specifics (as there are hundreds of alumni), but many have written to tell me that they have been promoted because of the skills they have acquired. One interesting case is my student Dan Mayoh who won 2nd place at the 2012 Financial Modeling World Championships.
Now I would say that my course definitely does NOT prepare a student for that competition per se. But the course absolutely does fundamentally change the way you think when solving business problems with Excel.
Question 3. What happens if I need to drop out of the course, say 3 months in, due to circumstances beyond my control such as health issues or accidents? What is your refund policy for those cases?
Daniel: My refund policy is 30-Day, 100% for any reason. Beyond that I really do not receive requests, save for a couple since 2010. What I did in those cases was allow them to enroll in the next course at no charge. This was well received.
Question 4. What is the closest course to EHA on the internet in terms of Excel content, and why is EHA better in your opinion?
Daniel: My students tell me all of the time that they have never found any course that approaches the level of understanding of Excel that is realized by taking my course. I do partner with Chandoo and we bundle our courses now. I see them as being complimentary, as his course(s) prepare students well to take my course.
Question 5. What are the main reasons why people in past EHA courses dropped out?
Daniel: Drop outs are under 5% since I began offering the course. Usually it is because they end up not having the time they thought they would… something unexpected came up, either at their work or in their personal life. About 1% quit because they feel the course is too advanced… but all of these say they plan to enroll again once the prepare because of the quality of the teaching.
Question 6. Is it better if students already have a project in Excel that they want to work on, before they join EHA?
Daniel: I think it is better if a student does not bring a personal project. The course is very detailed and they need to learn the presented material. However, many of the homework assignments encourage the students to apply the lesson from that particular module to data or scenarios that they work with… so this presents an opportunity for them.
Question 7. What will students on EHA5 learn or get from EHA that they can’t learn or get from reading your free blog articles?
Daniel: The short answer is… a lot! I do reference a few articles from the blog during the course. For instance the Imposing Index: http://www.excelhero.com/blog/2011/03/the-imposing-index.html
But 98% of the material has nothing to do with my blog. I would encourage your readers to read the recommendations from students on my LinkedIn profile. Currently there are 46 recommendations written in the students own words: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=77701232
Summary – Why is the Excel Hero Academy special?
Finally, after asking Daniel all those questions, let me tell you why I think the Academy is unique. It is the only training course on the internet where you will learn how to use and automate Excel in a deep way. You won’t just learn about the VBA language, you’ll learn how to understand VBA in-depth to create time-saving applications that are reliable and feature-packed. There is also a module on integrating Access databases with Excel.
What’s more you get to join more than a hundred like-minded individuals who are all keen to become real Excel Heroes. In fact some people who enroll on this course (Excel Hero Academy 5) have already enrolled on previous Excel Hero Academy courses, and are coming back for even more. There is real group interaction through discussions and homework tasks, where different people share their solutions and discuss what went well and what didn’t work as expected.
Just remember – Excel Hero Academy 5 registrations close on January 21, 2013.