Do I really need to know Excel?

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Career Development, Tips & Hints

Do I really need to know Excel?

Updated December 2020

Students sometimes come in to our office asking about the usefulness of Excel in graduate job hunting and how to get additional training.  My advice to you is don’t sit back and think you will never need to learn Excel! It is one of the most key skills out there and it is an essential piece of software in many industries. With the help of our excellent information team, here is a brief blog entry of the usefulness of Excel and how you can get the training you need to succeed.

How useful is Excel?

  • Excel remains one of the most in-demand software for graduate proficiency. If you look closer at job adverts there are few jobs that don’t ask for some skills in Excel.
  • The skill is essential in any analyst jobs and data scientist jobs, but even in jobs as diverse as sales & marketing, business development, student support (trust me I have used spreadsheets many times) and in the civil service, to mention a few.
  • We know of several examples where a test in Excel has been required in the interview process for a graduate role.
  • Excel can be useful in your personal life as well, I have used it for personal budgets and when planning big trips for a large group of friends.

So where can you find additional training?

  • Courses on campus

Keep an eye out for courses on campus/virtually through MySkills or through IT support (the latter for postgraduate students only but also offer online courses). MASH offer support on statistics through MySkills.

  • MOOCs

There are a few free online MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) available, examples are on EdX and Coursera. Some of these are self-paced and you don’t necessarily need to complete the whole course but might find them useful to dip in and out of. Go and have a try!

  • Other online tutorials

I can’t vouch for the quality but there are plenty of online Excel tutorials out there, both free and tutorials you pay a fee for.

There are websites like or that have tutorials and Youtube can be great for this too.

  • Hard copy books in our library

There are also a couple of books in the library which might be useful:


So what are you waiting for? Refresh your Excel knowledge or if you have never tried it, now is your chance to have a go.

Thanks to our Information Team who provided most of the links.

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Career Development, Tips & Hints


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