Which VBA Training Format Is Right for Me?

Compare Learning Methods: In-Person, Live Online, On-Demand, and Tutorials

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is a powerful language that can automate repetitive tasks in Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. Whether you're looking to boost your current career or transition into a new one, understanding the different formats of VBA training and deciding the best one for you can be a game-changer.

Key Insights

  • VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications, is Microsoft's standard programming language used in Microsoft Office programs to automate tasks and customize the program's user interface.
  • VBA training can be pursued through different formats such as in-person classes, live online training, free online courses, tutorials, and on-demand classes.
  • Noble Desktop offers hands-on VBA training both in-person and online, providing participants with core Excel skills such as writing macros, automating repetitive tasks, and creating custom Excel environments and applications.
  • Learning VBA can open various professional opportunities, particularly within data roles, as it allows users to perform functions that extend beyond basic word processing or spreadsheet management.
  • Salaries for positions that utilize VBA can vary greatly depending on the specific role, industry, and level of expertise. Advanced VBA skills can significantly boost one's earning potential in many data-focused careers.
  • While it's possible to teach oneself VBA through online content and tutorials, having access to a professional instructor can provide more in-depth, accurate, and timely instruction, particularly for advanced VBA training.

VBA is a programming language used in Microsoft Office applications like Excel and PowerPoint for automating repetitive tasks and making program customizations. This flexible language allows Excel users to write their own commands or functions directly into a spreadsheet. When comparing types of VBA training, there are many factors to consider. Because everyone learns differently, choosing the proper training is critical to your experience.

Keep reading to learn more about the different formats of VBA training, how they compare to one another, and how to determine which is best for you.

What is VBA?

VBA, which is short for Visual Basic for Applications, is the standard programming language Microsoft created to be used in several Office programs, such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. VBA provides Microsoft users additional customizable features beyond those typically included in Office apps. Although VBA isn’t a stand-alone program, it can alter various graphical-user-interface features, including menus, dialogue boxes, and toolbars. Additionally, VBA has applications for automating different computer calculations and processes, accessing Windows APIs, and designing user-defined functions.

Because VBA is an event-driven tool, it can tell the user’s computer to execute one or more actions. To do so, you create custom macros (which is short for macroinstructions) by entering commands into a module devoted to editing. Macros are comprised of various characters whose input causes an output (an additional series of characters) that is capable of accomplishing different computing tasks. When using a Microsoft app, VBA allows users to perform various functions that extend beyond word processing or spreadsheet management. By using macros, Microsoft users can make repetitive tasks easier to accomplish. There’s no need to purchase VBA software separately since it’s included with Microsoft Office.

Read more about what VBA is and why you should learn it

What Can You Do with VBA?

VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications, is Microsoft’s internal programming language for apps like PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. This versatile language allows users to further customize Office applications beyond the options typically available using host apps. VBA functions by manipulating features of the graphical user interface, like dialogue boxes, menus, and toolbars. It also has applications for creating user-defined functions and automating computer calculations and processes. 

Because it is an event-driven tool, you can use VBA to instruct the computer to perform one or multiple actions. By entering commands into an editing module, Office users can create custom macros or sets of characters that, when entered, result in a new output that can perform specific computing tasks. A few examples of repetitive tasks VBA can automate are data cleaning and formatting, capitalizing text, creating a table of contents, merging multiple worksheets, and solving complex calculations.

One of the main benefits of working with VBA is that almost all operations that users can perform in Microsoft Office with a dialogue box, keyboard, or mouse can also be accomplished using VBA. And, when something is done with VBA once, you can execute it just as efficiently hundreds of times. In addition to using VBA to perform everyday tasks faster, it also has applications for adding functionality to different Office apps, as well as interacting with those who use your documents in a manner that’s specific to your professional needs. Those working with VBA can write code to accomplish tasks like displaying a pop-up message reminding users to save their work to a specific network drive.

Training Formats for VBA

Many excellent training options are available for those interested in learning more about VBA and using this programming language to automate tasks. Students can receive an overview of VBA with the help of self-paced online content like video tutorials and webinars. For those who are interested in the structure of regularly scheduled classes, both in-person and live online VBA coursework is offered by top educational providers in bootcamp and classes. If you want to study VBA to transition careers or perform better in your current role, certificate study is also available, which provides more comprehensive instruction.

In-Person VBA Training

Studying VBA in the in-person learning environment has many learning benefits. Students have access to a computer lab with the most up-to-date software and programs installed, and in-person study also allows students to connect with others on the same learning path. Because an expert instructor teaches all lessons, it’s possible to ask questions as they arise and receive guidance and support on classwork, which can help with learning and retention. Although in-person study requires commuting to and from campus for regularly scheduled meetings, this time and financial commitment are well worth it for extroverted learners who thrive studying with others in a classroom. 

Several in-person VBA training options are available from Noble Desktop and other top educational providers. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA provides participants with hands-on training on core Excel skills, such as writing macros, automating repetitive tasks, creating custom Excel environments and applications, and working with custom Excel add-ins. Noble’s Excel Bootcamp is another excellent learning option for those interested in mastering Microsoft Excel’s core features, tools, and functions. This bootcamp provides instruction on beginner Excel concepts, such as basic functions and formatting, and more advanced training in using VLOOKUP, PivotTables, INDEX, MATCH, and creating macros. 

In addition to Noble’s Excel classes, Wall Street Prep currently has Excel VBA Bootcamp, a course designed to teach students how to write VBA code, build macros, and use VBA in the financial sector. In addition, AcademyX’s Excel VBA provides instruction on VBA programming topics like creating automated reports, executing complicated calculations, and debugging code. Certstaffix Training Excel VBA Programming is another option for those with prior experience working with Excel. This course teaches participants how to work with expressions, variables, and intrinsic functions, and handle different procedures.

Live Online VBA Training

Another great VBA learning option is to study in a live online environment. Just like in-person VBA study, which allows students to connect with expert instructors in real-time, live online coursework also provides a platform for participants to engage with instructors and ask questions as they arise. All students receive hands-on training with core VBA concepts and skills in the small group setting. In addition, because you can complete live online study from your home or office space, it doesn’t require commuting to and from campus in rush hour or searching for parking.

If you’re interested in studying VBA, many live online VBA classes are available from top educational providers. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA is currently offered live online. Participants learn to use VBA for various Excel tasks, such as automation, creating custom commands, and developing new worksheet functions. Noble also has an Excel Bootcamp available in the live online format as well. Participants receive expert instruction about how to work with PivotTables and macros and perform advanced database functions, like INDEX and MATCH. Live online VBA study options are also available from other educational providers. 

NYIM Training’s Excel Programming with VBA provides participants with real-world VBA training, such as creating custom buttons, writing code to create new macros, and updating old macros to make them more efficient. ONLC Training Centers Excel Programming with VBA is another live online course option for those who want to learn more about automating tasks with VBA scripts and macros. Those enrolled receive instruction on how to work with PivotTable objects, as well as how to debug code. 

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

If you’re looking for an overview of VBA but aren’t ready to commit to regularly scheduled meetings, you can start learning more about Excel and VBA for free online. In Noble Desktop’s Top 10 Beginner Excel Tricks You Need to Know webinar, participants receive an hour of instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as autofill, absolute cell reference, data validation, and Excel shortcuts. This pre-recorded webinar provides a beginner-friendly overview of this industry-standard spreadsheet app and is a great first step toward learning more about Excel. 

Other top educational providers also offer free instruction on VBA and Excel. Coursera’s Excel/VBA for Creative Problem Solving Specialization is a set of three classes that provide learners with specialized instruction on VBA and other Excel topics. This beginner-friendly specialization teaches participants how to solve creative problems using VBA and create professional VBA projects to demonstrate VBA skills. In addition, LinkedIn Learning currently offers Excel: Macros and VBA for Beginners, a 40-minute lecture on how to use VBA and create macros for cutting down on the time needed to complete repetitive Excel tasks.

Read more about free VBA videos and online tutorials

In addition, other excellent free online material is offered from Blackboard Learn. Introduction to Excel VBA Programming is an entirely self-paced, beginner-friendly Excel class that teaches participants how to use VBA in the Excel environment. This class requires a five to 15-hour/week time commitment, depending on how long the student wishes the course to take. Discussion boards are also available to help students find answers to questions. Home and Learn’s Excel VBA for Compete Beginners is also available and is intended for those without any coding experience. Home and Learn is a website created for aspiring Coders, Programmers, and Computer Scientists. This course teaches students basic VBA concepts, such as strings and string functions, variables, user forms, and programming loops. 

On-Demand Classes

Learning VBA has never been easier, thanks to the number of study options currently available. 

Self-paced VBA classes are a good alternative to in-person or live online study for those who need to balance learning VBA with full-time work or family commitments. Because asynchronous study is pre-recorded, it can be completed from any location, at any time. This means that learners can gain an overview of what VBA is, as well as the basics of this language, without having to take part in regularly occurring classes. However, because learners cannot access an instructor to field questions or provide guidance, it can be challenging to learn more complex programming concepts in this format. 

Comparison of VBA Training Formats

A variety of learning options are available for those interested in studying how they can use VBA to automate repetitive tasks in Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. The three primary modes of learning VBA are in-person instruction, live online coursework, and asynchronous tutorials.

In-person VBA study offers students many learning perks, such as access to a computer lab with the most up-to-date software and support from an expert instructor. In addition, those who choose to learn in this interactive format can connect with other like-minded learners. Those who opt to study VBA in person receive immediate feedback and guidance on their work, which can help reinforce lessons and lead to greater retention.

Live online VBA study is another popular learning option. Like in-person study, live online coursework provides students with a real-time connection with expert instructors. This interactive, engaging learning format covers the same core VBA topics as in-person study but provides the added perk of being more accessible because it doesn’t require a commute to or from campus. Students who elect for live online study can complete coursework and attend regularly scheduled meetings from the comfort of their home or office space.

It can be challenging for those juggling VBA study with other life and professional commitments to attend regularly scheduled classes. For those individuals, asynchronous VBA tutorials are a great way to get started learning this programming language. Unlike live online or in-person study, learning VBA in a self-paced environment can be completed at any time of the day, at your own pace. Because lessons are pre-recorded, they can be watched and re-watched as often as necessary and paused for maximum retention. On-demand study is typically a more affordable option as well, which makes it a good option for learners interested in an overview of this topic. 

However, because of the sheer number of asynchronous VBA study options, it can be hard to decide which offers the most up-to-date content. In addition, because students don’t have access to an instructor, it can be difficult in self-paced study to find answers to questions. This is why on-demand training is a suitable learning format for those interested in learning VBA basics but may not be as effective for teaching more advanced programming concepts.

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself VBA?

If you are interested in teaching yourself VBA, you can learn some basic VBA concepts with the help of online content, such as by watching videos or following tutorials. These resources can provide an overview of VBA, its applications in the Excel environment, and even some basic instructions on how to begin working with this programming language. In addition, online content is often offered for a much lower cost than in-person or live online study. Some are even available for free, which can make it a good option for those who are interested in studying VBA basics.

If you’re looking for more advanced VBA training, such as for your job, it’s helpful to have an expert instructor available to provide correct and timely instruction and answer any questions you may have. Because not all online content is created equally, it can be overwhelming to sift through VBA tutorials and videos to decide which ones are the most accurate. This is why receiving instruction from an instructor with the skills necessary to impart this information is ultimately a better learning option for those seeking more advanced VBA training.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn VBA

Learning VBA can open many professional doors and lead to more opportunities within a current data role. Deciding which learning format is best for you will ultimately depend on what you intend to use this skill for. If you are new to using VBA and are interested in an overview of this language, a free introductory-level class or online tutorial is a good starting point. These courses are often pre-recorded so that they can be watched later, making them an excellent option for those balancing various professional and personal commitments. Free online content is available from top educational providers like Udemy, Coursera, and Noble Desktop, which provides instruction specific to VBA and topics like Top 10 Beginner Excel Tricks

A live online or in-person VBA Bootcamp is available for learners interested in developing a working knowledge of VBA to grow within their current careers or to plug a skill gap. Bootcamps provide hands-on instruction on fundamental VBA concepts, such as Excel automation and real-world applications of macros. They can help learners grow from beginners to skilled programmers with a command of VBA. Many bootcamps are offered in the in-person and the live online environment, allowing students to select the learning environment most suited to their current schedule or preferred mode of learning. No matter which format you choose, bootcamps will provide access to an expert instructor who is available in real-time to answer questions and offer guidance as you learn. Although bootcamps typically cost between several hundred and several thousand dollars, their instruction can be invaluable to your professional journey. 

Certificate study in VBA and Excel is also available for those looking to begin a different career or pivot to a new industry. In addition to certificates devoted exclusively to VBA, other learning options provide a broader understanding of data analytics and how Excel can be used when working with data. Noble Desktop’s Data Analytics Certificate is one such learning option. Students receive in-depth instruction on several industry-standard data tools, languages, and apps, such as Tableau, Python, SQL, and Power BI. Certificates tend to be the most expensive VBA learning option and generally cost thousands of dollars, but some include added perks like professional mentoring and the option of a free course retake. Not only does earning a certificate help you to stand out from other job applicants, but it demonstrates to employers that you have acquired a solid foundation with data skills that will make you an asset to any organization.

Learn VBA with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

A great way to learn about VBA is to sign up for in-person or live online VBA coursework. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA Bootcamp is a hands-on course that teaches students fundamental VBA concepts, such as applying macros to real-world situations and performing Excel automation for repetitive tasks. This class is offered in the live online format and in-person in Manhattan. Although prior VBA knowledge isn’t necessary to take this course, participants should have intermediate Excel skills, such as familiarity with VLOOKUP, IF statements, and PivotTables. All participants have the option of a free class retake to brush up on course material. 

If you’re looking to learn more about how VBA is used in Excel, Noble also offers several live online and in-person Excel courses. Excel Programming with VBA teaches students how to create macros that automate Excel tasks, even ones in which the data isn’t consistently formatted. For beginners, Excel Level I: Fundamentals is also available, which covers essential Excel functions, formatting, and printing procedures. Excel Level II: Intermediate provides students with instruction on core Excel concepts, like summarizing data using PivotTables, functions such as VLOOKUP and SUMIFs, and performing Sort & Filter on databases. In addition, Excel Level III: Advanced is geared toward those with a solid background in using Excel but who want to learn complex database functions such as INDEX and MATCH, creating macros, and using What-If Analysis.

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