Analyst Guy Challenge: 12 Weeks of Studying in 2 Days

Yesterday I stated my aim for this weekend to complete four courses. With a combined recommended study time of 12 weeks, this is going to be pretty hard! Having already begun the PowerQuery and Critical Thinking courses, I have a small head start, but still a long way to go.

Better get cracking!

Pretty accurate representation of what I plan to do with my brain cells

PowerQuery in Excel 365 is really intuitive, hands on experience is a quick and easy way to learn it. My small head start and practice using it meant I was able to complete the PowerQuery course yesterday. One down, three to go!

Now onto the meat of my weekend studying, the two Coursera courses; Problem Solving with Excel and Data Visualizations with Advanced Excel. I started with Problem Solving to see how far I could get without too much trouble and found myself rounding off Week 3 yesterday quite quickly. Downloading and completing the study workbooks meant I could skip much of the video content and stay on target. Week 4 of Problem Solving however has knocked me on my arse!

Statistical modeling.
Linear regression.
Standard deviation.
R-squared.

These are the things I was prepared to learn, but wasn’t expecting to encounter them this weekend!

So I took a brief break from that to take a look at Week 1 of the Data Visualization course.

Welcome to PowerPivot

That’s what was facing me as the alternative to statistical modeling. Horrified may not be an exaggeration of how I felt. Another thing I was prepared to learn, but was not prepared for it to show up this weekend. Ugh.

The only sane thing was to call it a day, there’s only so much you can take in at once.

This morning after a short review of the knowledge I’d gained yesterday, I decided to try and power through PowerPivot. Whilst my mind still hasn’t fully taken it on board, I was able to complete that Week 1 stuff and the student workbook. The course then threw me into Scenario Analysis, which I was all for until a guy popped up on screen talking about complex problems in finance. I’ve nothing against finance, but at this point I decided that statistical analysis was less frightening and so took myself back to Week 4 in Problem Solving with Excel.

Whilst I didn’t whizz through it, Statistical Forecasting was not as bad as I had feared and I even feel like I’m understanding how it works. It’s going to take some time before the formulas feel natural enough for me to use them regularly in my work, but it will happen.

INDEX MATCH came next, my old friend. That was another one where I completed the workbook and skipped through the videos to save time. This landed me in the next section, Financial Formulas… I thought I’d got away from that! After sticking with it anyway, I finally finished that off this afternoon and was able to take a few moments to enjoy my triumphs.

Data Visualization with Advanced Excel

Back to the other course!

It wasn’t long before I realised that the course wasn’t suggesting that Data Visulaization was the Advanced Excel, oh no, the Advanced Excel was a whole lot of fun with the Analysis Toolpak. So this last part took me almost the rest of the day as it’s something I really haven’t had a lot of experience with, which is good because that indicates that it is less of the Excel guy stuff and more of the analysis guy stuff!

Right at the end of the day I managed to finish up Week 3 of the Data Visualization course on charts in Excel, which brings me up to Week 4 Dashboarding and me writing up this post with some bad news; I’m not finishing it today.

Yes, after all that I’m actually going to stop here and take some rest. It’s been a long but productive weekend and although I didn’t complete 12 weeks of studying in 2 days, I did get through 8 weeks including the Power Query course. The 10X rule (which I read about on Blinkist) suggests that you should aim for 10X above your actual goal. This way, even if you miss, you will be way ahead where you thought you would be able to get. If I hadn’t aimed for 12 weeks, I might not have finished 8.

Was this experiment a failure? I don’t think so. I only failed to achieve my aim, everything else was a success and I’m proud of that.

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