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Comments Off on Industry humor

Industry humor

It’s been a busy month! Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time revising our reschedule policy, which is quite lenient compared to other companies. People lead busy lives and they often call us to reschedule classes, but this month has been particularly bad. For each reschedule, we have to:

  • manually update our database to:
    • remove the student from the original class,
    • add them to the rescheduled class class
    • update their student record to indicate we’ve done this
  • send them an email to confirm the reschedule
  • update our color-coded spreadsheet of how many students are going to be in which classes in which rooms
  • send colleagues an email to let them know about the reschedule

Hence the inspiration for this image:

King Kong Doesn't Like Reschedules



Comments Off on 3 Tips To Become a Self-Taught Site Builder

3 Tips To Become a Self-Taught Site Builder

Many of us dream of working less hours and making more money, desire site-building skills or simply want an edge up in the modern world. Teaching yourself website building skills is not only an intriguing way to stretch your brain, but has many fringe benefits. Users of the tech-titan site Skillcrush report that learning the trade has allowed them to:

  • Have the freedom to make their own schedule
  • Earn more, work less and say “no” to unappealing jobs
  • Experience offers coming to them, not the other way around
  • Say sayonara to the application process
  • Work remotely while pursuing other interests
  • Feel like an important part of the tech community.

Coding and programming may seem daunting to many, but like many unique skill sets, once you take the first step, the journey becomes less daunting every day. If you’re ready to begin or even explore the topic, follow these simple steps to get started, and soon you’ll be well on your way.

1. Start With the “Why”

Experts at both Lifehacker and PCMag suggest you hone in on the precise reasons they want to learn to build. This will dictate which languages you want to start with, how to find the best tutorials and which interactive, gaming or test sites you should spend your time on.

If you want to be a professional programmer, starting college courses is a good, but pricey start. If you’re looking to develop iOS apps, for example, you’ll need to know Swift, or if you want a high level understanding of the whole coding hemisphere, C is a good place to start. Or, perhaps you’re looking to gain the skills it takes to simply create and attractive and functional website without becoming a foremost expert in mobile coding languages. Whatever the case, the next step will be to:

2. Explore Tutorials And More

When you’ve honed in on the right code or language, it’s time to soak in all the many resources available to you. The internet is bursting with free resources and tips of the trade, however without a solid path or personal “blueprint” you may be in for a wild stab in the dark. Designer/ programmer Nick Scheule advises novice site builders that “The Web is full of forums and communities that will help you validate your learning path. You can even contact [many local experts]. A lot of people do [contact]  and ask me if the resources they gathered for learning are good enough.”

As you explore, Scheule points out the web is also full of gimmicky tutorials that novices should “run the other way from.” Tips to help you weed out the wastes-of-time and hone in on the helpful include:

  • Watch out for eBooks that seem too good to be true– they’ll claim to each you complex programming languages in “a few easy steps.”
  • In order to build anything worth building, you should always start with a blueprint. Companies like Wix or Squarespace can provide a good jumping-board to help direct you. Using a site builder like Websitebuilder.com, Weebly, or Squarespace allows you to get the initial idea of building a website down so you can understand that blueprint before you delve into code.
  • Read reviews, compare. Reading a website builder review, for example, can help you decide on which type of website builder would work best for you to get your feet wet. Do you want ultra simple and stylish? Go with something like Squarespace. Do you want the ability to highly customize your templated design with your own custom coding? Go with something like Websitebuilder.com, as it has more advanced options if users want to take advantage of them.
  • Local resources: college courses are expensive, and often don’t give you the hands on feel and personal support or myriad services. Learning communities like AcademyX, however, offer both online resources and local in-person courses. Finding a local source of mentorship and growth is a bona fide way to seal your new skill-set and/or expand.

3. Be Patient, Start Small

Patience is a virtue in almost every field, however it may be even more important to keep in mind when starting out learning programming and site building. No matter which style, code or learning path you choose to take, always remember to start at the beginning and that Rome wasn’t built in a day– and some aspects are arguably much more complicated than even building the Colosseum.

Programming teacher David Sinsky (who taught himself in eight weeks — not typical), advises that after you complete your beginner tutorial, that you tear the code down and start from scratch. Take each project and divide it into steps. Start with the basics and make a checklist you can tick off during each phase.  And always remember the beauty of programming is this: no matter what you hope to accomplish, or which avenue you take– if you get stuck or feel burnt out, there’s always another method to explore to reach your goals.



Comments Off on 5 Steps to Starting Social Media for Small-but-Mighty Businesses

5 Steps to Starting Social Media for Small-but-Mighty Businesses

This post was written by Anna Colibri, founder of Colibri Digital, an outsourced digital marketing company in San Francisco. When she’s not online, you can find her reading, writing, meditating, momming, or roaming the streets of SF. 

Businesses have more ways of reaching people than ever before. Traditional print media is still a fantastic way to promote your company, but businesses need to take advantage of digital media options in order to truly thrive in today’s world. One of these key options is social media. There’s a social media platform that can suit the needs of any business, yet with all the choices, figuring out where to begin can be daunting.

Having a basic social media game plan is essential for any new business. If you’re wondering where to begin,  check out the 5 steps below to ensure your company has a solid social media foundation to build off of. (You can also explore AcademyX’s 2-day social media class in SF,  LA,  San Jose,  or Sacramento.)

Step 1: Choose Your Platforms

The most common error new businesses make when starting their social media is being on too many platforms. Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Vine, Tumblr, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram…. how can you possibly do them all? Unless you have a whole team of social media managers, being on every social media site is not a feasible strategy.

Instead, take the time to do a little research and find out which platforms your target audiences are most likely using. As well, determine which platforms best showcase your business. For example, if your business is video-oriented, then YouTube and Vine are good options.

Once you’ve chosen 2-5 social media platforms, stick with those and focus on building up your followers on those sites.

Step 2: Keep Your Branding Consistent

Branding on social media sites requires more than just your logo. You’ve got cover photos, profile photos, images, and app tabs that will all need to be in line with your company’s design properties. If not, your social media sites will look sloppy and unprofessional. More often than not, people will click on one of your social media sites before they ever see your website, so make sure you leave them with a good first impression.

To do so, create a style guide. Choose a color scheme (don’t forget to include hex codes so everyone who posts for you knows exactly which colors to use) from your website and use those colors as your primary ones for text, logo, and borders. If your logo is text-based, get a logo icon created. Logo icons are perfect for profile photos and for overlaying onto images used for social media posts.

The payoff is that you’ll have consistent branding on multiple sites, which will expand the reach of your brand. Plus, the more people see your branding, the more they are going to associate it with your company and what your company offers.

Step 3: Optimize Your Website For Social Media

Social share buttons are one of the best tools for increasing the reach of your brand. These buttons allow people to share content from your site without leaving your web page. Knowing where to place them on your website is important. Social share buttons should be at both the top and bottom of web pages and articles or blog posts.

On your home page, you should include social media tabs that link to your social media sites. Only include tabs for the sites you are on and only include the tabs once your social media sites are ready. Most important, make sure that the links open in a new window, not the existing one, so that people are not led away from your website.

Lastly, the feature images on your web pages, blog posts, or articles need to be optimized for Facebook. That way, when people post your web link, the image for the link will appear in its largest size. The minimum size for a link image on Facebook is 484 x 252. Ensure that your feature images are a derivative of these dimensions.

Pro tip: Optimize the filename of your images so that includes your business name. 001.jpeg just doesn’t sell your biz!

Step 4: Build A List Of Strategic Partners

The social media sites for your business may look amazing, but they are not going to achieve much if no one is aware that they exist. What business partners do you have that would be willing to share your social media posts on their networks? Reach out to everyone you can for mutual promotion. They share your posts and in exchange you share theirs. Everyone wins.

It’s also beneficial to promote your social media sites to your own database. If you have a bricks and mortar business, put up posters or flyers prompting people to follow your social media sites. If your business is online, send an email to your database announcing which social media platforms you are on and inviting them to follow you.

Step 5: Hire A Social Media Manager

Many new businesses think they can manage their social media on their own—until they actually try it. Once they realize that social media management takes anywhere from 15 to 40 hours a week, they change their tune.

Yes, a social media manager is an expense. But if you play your cards right, the return on investment (ROI) will be worth it. The trick is finding an experienced social media manager who knows how to convert social media followers into paying customers. Ask for track records, case studies, and examples of their work when interviewing potential candidates.

Now you’re all set! You’ve got your social media platforms picked out, your branding is consistent, your website is optimized, strategic partners are helping to promote, and you’ve chosen a social media manager who will leverage your business. Enjoy being social!



Comments Off on Ultimate Guide to Excel Training | Find the Right Class for You

Ultimate Guide to Excel Training | Find the Right Class for You

Excel is the most popular data software in the world. It’s features, functions and wide ranging capabilities drastically improve efficiency, accuracy and productivity. Many professions absolutely require a sound understanding of the software at a minimum, and users who can fully take advantage of everything Excel has to offer strongly improve their chances of having a lifetime of comfortable employment.

Excel Training for a Better (Paying) Job

The number of jobs that incorporate excel into their workflow is vast. According to a new study from Capital One Financial Corp. and Burning Glass Technologies, “…about 80 percent of middle-skill job openings list some kind of digital proficiency as a prerequisite for employment.”

The same report went on to state that, “Middle-skill jobs that just require Word and Excel skills and no other digital skill pay a median of $22.66 an hour compared to $20.14 for middle-skill jobs that don’t require digital know-how, according to the report.”

Job market expert Laurence Shatkin did a study where he divided 836 occupations into 5 categories, and added 3 salary quintiles to each category. He split each salary quintile based on workers with knowledge of excel and those without.

The results were clear; across the board employees who knew how to use excel were paid more. The salary discrepancy between their non-excel counterparts became greater the more complex and higher level the occupation was.

excel training, classes

source: http://www.skilledup.com/articles/learn-excel-increase-salary


Take Excel Training Because There’s More to the Software Than You Think

There are a lot of reasons to master Excel beyond just the tasks you need completed at work. Understanding its wider range of features and advanced techniques will open up doors you didn’t know existed. When this happens, you can now innovate how your work is done, or accomplish really difficult data tasks quickly and in a way that gets you noticed (think promotions, raises, more responsibility at your job).

We segment our training of Excel into three groups – beginner, intermediate and advanced. But we also add on courses called “expert techniques”, Excel VBA and “pivot tables” because the features in Excel are simply so vast.

Ask yourself if you’re familiar with all of these Excel concepts. If you’re not, Excel training on some level is a great investment for your career.

Intro Level Description: The excel skills developed in this course help greatly with real world scenarios. It focuses on some of the most important, basic and foundational aspects of the software. For new Excel users, even this level will open your eyes to how much is possible with this great software.

  • Understand spreadsheet basics and terminology
  • Apply formulas and cell references
  • Use copy and view formulas and absolute references
  • Apply the AutoSum, Average, Max, Count, CountA and Min functions to sets of data
  • Find and replace
  • Use non-contiguous ranges
  • Learn different chart types, styles and elements
  • Insert SmartArt graphics, conditional formatting
  • Optimize your spreadsheets for print and presentation for page formatting options

Intermediate Level Description: With advanced calculations and new ways to filter, segment and display data – intermediate excel training can really empower an employee. You’ll be able to share your data and information in a much more sophisticated way.

  • Implement 3-D formulas to calculate data across worksheets
  • Modify links to data
  • Apply the consolidate command
  • Make auto subtotals
  • Create and edit named ranges
  • Use 3-D names for more than one spreadsheet
  • Sort data and info. into more than one column
  • Use structured references
  • Familiarize yourself with the document inspector tool, trace and track changes
  • Invent data validation rules
  • Set custom auto-fills
  • Make a Pivot Table, which aggregates data from multiple spreadsheets

Advanced Level Description: Advanced level Excel classes work wonders for those who do financial analysis, but they’re also great for less complex tasks that need to be solved. Have you been searching for a formula to work around that tough data problem but haven’t been able to find it? Advanced excel training is where you can get a solution.

  • Implement logical functions
  • Do an open loan analysis
  • Use conditional functions
  • Apply PMT functions to calculate payments on a loan
  • Take advantage of text functions
  • Create date functions
  • Learn how to use array formulas to achieve numerous calculations on different data sets
  • Use Lookups and data tables
  • Apply MATCH functions
  • Run macros the instantly execute various tasks
  • Use the web query feature to pull in data from the Internet
  • Apply Goal Seek to adjust variables for a target out

Expert Techniques with Excel: Excel is a software with endless possibilities, and as such we’ve created a one off for people who want to wizards with the software. A lot of the best practices and tactics covered in this excel training aren’t covered anywhere else.

  • Ranking data with statistical and analytical functions
  • Advanced pivot table analysis, grouping data
  • Changing the relationship of pivot table data
  • Intro to excel dashboards
  • Applying conditional formatting
  • Using slicers to filter data in a visual way
  • Advanced macro techniques
  • Setting macros, recording macros and viewing and editing macro code
  • Making and applying ‘if’ ‘then’ and ‘else’ statements
  • Assigning macros to toolbars

Excel VBA:  During this excel training, Excel VBA terminology is covered as well as an overview of object properties and methods. You’ll learn how to attach code to events and buttons, and apply an Object Browser. You’ll be able to use decision structures, add user forms, identify compile-time runtime and logical errors in code, among many other things

  • Decision-making code
  • Understand scope of procedures
  • Implicit and explicit variable declaration is covered
  • How to start and use Visual Basic Editor
  • How to use various data types
  • Create custom dialogue boxes
  • Creating a UserForm
  • Lots more

All about Pivot Tables: When processing data, you can use a pivot table to provide a summarization within your spreadsheets. The pivot table will sort, count, calculate averages and more on just one table within a single spreadsheet, while showing the results on a second table. You can also use pivot tables for cross tabulations. The name pivot tables comes from the users’ ability to rotate data (or pivot data)  between tables.

  • PivotTable structures, rows, labels and columns
  • Reviewing source data, populating tables, change appearance
  • Data regions and data options
  • Refreshing pivot tables
  • Make changes to source data to create multiple pivot tables
  • Setting pivot table options and fields – changing default report and default global settings
  • Grouping data in text and detail fields
  • Sorting through pivot table values, creating custom lists
  • Creating calculated fields
  • Lots more

What Type of Excel Training Is Best for You?

DIY education or “Google University” as some people call it, is not an option for most. On top of “knowing what you don’t know,” as well as knowing what sources to trust, and knowing what to Google when your first Google search fails, it’s a far lengthier process than simply sitting down with an instructor or working with them online.

In person training comes with many benefits. For one, you can align your objectives with the curriculum. Video tutorials and prepackaged training don’t have that flexibility. If you have questions or need clarity, there’s no other way to get an explanation other than hitting rewind and watching something you’ve just seen. If replaying the video doesn’t advance your understanding of the concept in any way, you’re totally out of luck.

Students need a teacher than can think on their feet. Instructors who have taught a topic for years have heard students’ most common questions before and know what answers they need. It might seem like reading or watching videos online is the fastest way to learn something, but an instructor has a custom, correct answer for you right away and on demand.

With lots of different options available for online an in-person training, a potential student really needs to track down accurate review data (Yelp, Goolge Plus, etc.). Make sure you check out a company’s online reviews before purchasing any training.

Excel Training in San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, and Los Angeles

For questions about our excel classes, curriculum, instructors and more, contact info@academyx.com.


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