As a long time FileMaker guy, I’ve had the opportunity to play many different roles around the business of FileMaker. I started my career as an in-house developer, then I became a developer, trainer, and project manager at a FileMaker Business Alliance Platinum Level company. Later I started my own development, consulting and coaching business. As a result, I have experienced a wide variety of development scenarios and I have come to realize that being a FileMaker developer can mean a lot of different things, depending on a lot of different variables.
When looking for new employment opportunities, you should consider the type of development that resonates most with you. Do you prefer working heads-down on large projects for extended periods? Do you enjoy the challenge of troubleshooting a variety of existing systems? Would you rather be handed a task list or work directly with customers to generate that list? These are just a few examples of ways to work that, depending on the situation, can look significantly different from each other.
Two common types of developer roles are what I’ll call “project developer” and “support developer” (you may have heard other names or no specific names for these types of developer). To keep it simple, project developers work primarily on new systems where the project is defined with a budget, scope, and timeline. Support developers work primarily on troubleshooting and modifying a wide variety of existing systems.
If you work for a small development shop (3 or less developers), you’ll likely have to perform a blend of project work and support work. In some cases you may be the only person from your company who interfaces with the customer. Over time any projects that you complete will turn into ongoing support work.
The larger development shops will often differentiate between developers who are better suited for long projects and developers who are better suited for the “quick fix” support and maintenance role. They also often have a project manager or technical lead who can interface with customers on your behalf. Working at these larger shops may allow you to be more specialized in one type of work over another.
As you begin your search for new FileMaker opportunities, take a few minutes to jot down what aspects of development you truly enjoy and what aspects of development you’d rather avoid. The closer you can get to a role that matches your interests, the happier you and your future employer will be.
At Thorsen Consulting, we’re not interested in just filling positions. We work with many development shops around the FileMaker community helping them find talented developers like you. We have our finger on the pulse of the FileMaker industry and we want to help you find the right opportunity so you can maximize your skills and get into your development zone. So let us know what you’ve done and what you’re looking to do, and let us help you find the right place to do it.by