There Is a World Championship for Excel Spreadsheets

Photo Credit: iStock

Microsoft Excel is one of those skills that most people lie about on their resumes, then figure out on the fly. But there is at least one person in this world who will be telling the Whole Truth when he brags about his Excel mastery to potential employers…and he is just 17 years old.

An international competition for Excel spreadsheets took place in Anaheim, California, recently. The competition is limited to participants from ages 12 to 22.

The top prize went to John Dumoulin, a 17-year-old from northern Virginia. He’s never worked in an office — he’s in high school, and he works at Chick-fil-A part-time.

John first learned about the competition through an IT class at school. He scored the highest score on the Microsoft Excel 16 certification exam in Virginia, leading him to a national competition and then the international competition, where he won $10,000 in prize money.

John says he was surprised to learn that people actually take these competitions very seriously.

Here is an interview with John:

“Some of the foreign countries, they’ve been training for hours and hours and hours on end,” he said.

Photo Credit: Excel Easy

“When you first meet the international students, everyone’s friendly, but when they find out you’re competing against them in the same category, they get this fire in their eyes. They want to win.”

“Most of us in an office think that we know how to use Excel. These kids really know,” said Aaron Osmond, general manager of Certiport, the company that runs the competition.

UPDATE: In 2018, the competition had more than 760,000 candidates from around the world. In the final round there were over 152 students from 51 different countries. The format of the competition was varied in that competitors could choose between 2013 or 2016 versions of PowerPoint, Word, or Excel. There were six winners for each category and version.

Here is an interview with the world champion Kevin Dimaculangan. He shares his experience and what his plans are for his future:

Here is a short documentary style video that shows you what people in Malaysia do to qualify for the Excel World Championships. Competitors get 40 minutes. Three tasks. There are only five finalists. And only one winner goes on to represent their country in the Excel World Championships.