How to pass an analytics job test – Part II – MS Excel.
Even with the rise of use of R, Python, SAS and other more scientific analytical tools, Microsoft Excel remains the most popular data analysis tool. While we have gone over a solution for an analytics job test in SQL last month , you are much more likely to encounter a job test in Microsoft Excel for your next analytics opportunity. While I would personally argue that this particular test is actually better solved with SQL, the employer believes that the applicants instead need to apply their Excel skills to demonstrate their proficiency and acumen. As before, we should start by asking questions about the problem at hand and trying to get as much clarification as needed or state our assumptions. However, since spreadsheets are less forgiving from the presentation point of view than the databases, I would strongly recommend that we would also take a few minutes to format any workbooks provided by the prospective employer. Chances are they would recognize your level of professionalism by looking at clean and presentable file. Your stylistic preferences might be different, but as a minimum I would remove gridlines, add filters/format as tables larger datasets, freeze panes, and add at least one to two colors to the otherwise monochrome layout.
17 Excel Functions to use in 2017.
Versatility of Excel’s built-in functions is undeniably one of the main reasons behind this program’s popularity. As users, we have the flexibility to compose complex formulas incorporating multiple functions in our solution to achieve substantial gains in productivity. Most people have their own go-to Excel functions, be it: financial, date & time, math & trigonometry, statistics, look up & reference, database, text (manipulation), or logical. We’ve covered some of these functions already, but below is a compilation of 17 relatively under-used Excel functions you might want to add to your professional repertoire in the new year. Fair warning, you might need to have Office 365 version of Excel for all of the functions to work.
Summarizing Excel PivotTables with GETPIVOTDATA Function.
Have you ever tried to select a cell within Excel’s PivotTable to create a regular link, only to realize that such formula cannot be easily copied over? You might be generating GetPivotData function without realizing it. As this Microsoft’s help page tells us: GETPIVOTDATA function “returns data stored in a PivotTable report. You can use GETPIVOTDATA to retrieve summary data from a PivotTable report, provided the summary data is visible in the report.” Main takeaways are the following: 1) GETPIVOTDATA is a summary function, and 2) it only works with visible PivotTable data. It’s syntax includes: Data_field – required field referencing data field of interest; Pivot_table – reference to any cell or range of cells withing a PivotTable report; and optional Field/Item combination, with text values enclosed in quotations. While, GetPivotData feature is activated by default, you can easily turn it off by selecting the Options menu on the ANALYZE Ribbon, and checking off “Generate GetPivotData” selection:
TIME conversions in Microsoft Excel.
We’ve covered a lot of ground with posts on date calculations in Excel: using the DATEDIF function, calculations without the DATEDIF function , and in the most recent post – business day calculations with the NETWORKDAYS funtion. Now it’s turn to perform some TIME conversions and calculations in Excel. We will use TIME, TIMEVALUE, NOW, HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND, TEXT, and MOD functions to perform various time operations…
NOW function displays the current date and time. Depending on your cell formatting, it might be date only, or if your cell format is General, it could even be serial number equivalent of your current date and time. While this function has no arguments, its syntax still calls for a set of parenthesis: =NOW(). We already know that Excel uses the whole value of 1, in reference to the “beginning of time”, as far as Microsoft is concerned – January 1, 1900. Similarly, today’s date has the value of 42,124 The decimal point value references the fractional time portion of any date. As an example, 0.5 denotes NOON, while 0.75 refers to 6 PM. [0.75*24 = 18] Similarly, one minute, is 1/60th of an hour or 1/1440th of a day, calculating to be 0.069(4). Keep in mind that, whenever date/time value starts with a 0, the date portion has no value, and we are working with the time value only.