Is VBA Hard To Learn? Will It Take Long?

VBA is a popular language that is used primarily in the Microsoft Office Suite of products to automate those programs. Among those programs the main one that is used for VBA is Microsoft Excel which is an extremely popular program used by many companies to analyze data. It is an extremely valuable skill to have because it allows you to automate many of your day-to-day tasks making you extremely efficient. So if you want to develop the skills is VBA hard to learn?

VBA is a programming language that is considered to be relatively easy to learn compared to other programming languages. However, if you do not have any programming experience trying to learn VBA it is challenging and you do need to be persistent in order to acquire the skill.  Typically, it will take you a couple of months to become proficient at VBA. 

However, it is definitely possible to learn it as I currently teach year 9 high school students who can successfully acquire the skills within around 2 months.

When developing this skill there are two basic stages that you will go through first is learning a few basic commands which is easy enough to do. The second stage that you will then go through is when you learn to debug code, which basically means that you learn how to find problems within the code that you have created. 

Once you acquire that second skill to a basic level then you should be able to successfully program pretty much anything given enough time and effort as most commands are readily available on forums such as Mr Excel.

At this stage it is important to note that the learning curve initially is quite steep, however, once you have successfully solved a few problems in VBA which in most cases are quite trivial problems creating code becomes a lot easier. This is because you begin to build up a library of code that you have that you can reuse.

Can I Learn VBA On My Own?

VBA can be learned on your own but it is generally a much slower process because it simply takes you longer to find the things that you need, however it is definitely possible. The easiest way to learn VBA is to simply follow along with a basic course. There are many courses available that are free on YouTube such as the one that we have made.

The particular course that we have is designed specifically to keep things very simple and just get you started with creating code and understanding how to manipulate a spreadsheet. While there are a huge number of commands available which allow you to do relatively complex processes when you first start out, you want to keep that to a minimum and just get good at manipulating a small range of commands.

The other thing that I found when I was first learning was that it is extremely helpful to have someone around who already knows how to write code as they can circumvent much of the frustration associated with leading VBA which primarily happens when you encounter Syntax and coding problems and get stuck.

The critical skill you need to learn is to debug your code once you can do that you can pretty much program anything.

Should I Learn Excel Before VBA?

I would highly recommend that you do come reasonably proficient at Excel before you move on to learning VBA. The reason for this is that if you are quite good at manipulating spreadsheets manually it gives you a very good idea of how to structure your code in most cases to get VBA to do what you want. I commonly use an excel spreadsheet to help me to develop the logical structure for the code that I create.

For example, the progression that I followed when developing my skills in Excel in VBA was that I initially started learning the basic functions of Excel which includes things like vlookups, logic functions, sumif, concatenates……..etc.

Once I developed those skills I then started using pivot tables to do mass data analysis. However, I found when doing this that preparing data for the pivot tables required the same process to be done over and over again. To eliminate this issue I then developed the ability to record macros which could automate excel to some degree.

However, as recording macros does have its limitations I then started to move towards developing VBA skills. Initially, when doing this I did regularly fall back on using recorded macros when I got stuck with the writing of VBA code.

However, eventually, I moved away from recorded macros completely and now only write VBA code. So you will find that developing the VBA skills is a gradual progression over time where you will get better and better at what you do.

Is Learning VBA Worth The Effort?

Learning VBA is definitely worth your time and effort to develop the skills if you are someone that is using spreadsheets as an integral part of your job. The reason it is really worth it is that these skills are relatively rare among people that are not IT professionals.

Being able to create systems to deal with everyday problems within your workplace means that you have the capacity to help not only yourself but other people within the organization. To see some examples of this try watching the video below which will explain a couple of the systems that I built for companies I have worked for in the past and the benefits that I got from doing that. 

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