Working with all your data in Excel is like trying to manage all of the financial transactions of a large bank with a pencil and paper. Grossly inefficient, prone to errors that are hard to fix, and with the technology available to us today, rather unwise. I think one of the reasons better analytics hasn’t taken hold in our organizations is because we are all still trying to use Excel for analytics and data processing.
To be a valuable analytics professional, you have to know how to leverage SQL. You will be able to do things you’ve never imagined possible trying to pound things and program things and automate things in Excel.
SQL is the de facto standard coding language that is used to communicate with databases. With it, there is no more downloading endless worksheets, manipulating them by hand, and doing complicated analysis that is not easily reproducible. You can communicate directly with the database, extract exactly what you need, and because your procedure is there written in code and not lost in a series of manual copies, pastes, and filters, you can re-run it at any time and easily find and fix errors in your process.
Don’t get me wrong, Excel is still good for specific, limited cases – but if you are doing any kind of analyics that requires downloading data and taking that data through certain manipulations, you need SQL. You will be so much more efficient you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it. It is well worth the small learning curve to get acquainted with it.
And I wouldn’t just recommend it for analytics professionals. If you are a marketer that knows how to use SQL, you are probably part of 1% of marketers who do, and with that ability you will be able to do analysis and make discoveries no one else in your organization can.
Take some time and learn SQL. I recommend these free tutorials from the w3 schools. Insane efficiency awaits you.