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Philip Curtis

Is anyone making a living off FM?

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Hi,

I am just curious, are people making a living selling their services creating and maintaining FM databases?  Or is this a dying art whose time has passed and moved on to other app software?

Thanks,

Phil

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I'm in Australia and employed in-house to create and maintain FileMaker solutions. One of my previous long term jobs was to create and maintain solutions as a consultant, which went quite well as well...

There is money to be made using FileMaker...

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There are a growing numbers of FileMaker consultant firms around the world. From what I hear from colleagues, everyone is very busy and expanding.

Both consultants, that work alone and companies with more employees.

To me, it definitely looks bright for the future.

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Phil, if you have the means, I'd highly recommend the annual FileMaker Developer Conference. Nothing like a roomful of 1500 FileMaker developers to get you jazzed about the platform. They always include business sessions as well as technical. Also you should try to find a local FileMaker User Group. If there isn't one, start one -- use Meetup.com. That's a great way to get new business.

I've been out of the consulting business for a while now -- but I do make my living as a full-time FileMaker developer for Oregon Public Health.

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

I'd say no.

No to what?

I know some of the folks that responded here personally and we all make a full-time living of working with the FM platform.  At the company I work for I lead a 25+ team of full-time FM developers.  So the question of "Is anyone making a living off FM?", the answer is a resounding: "yes!"

So I'm guessing you're answer is more in the realm that you don't believe in FM's future?  Care to elaborate?

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I agree with Wim.... as I also posted above.

Is it always easy ? - no, of course we all run into clients and people, who don't understand or who have a belief that some other platform is better. However, the FileMaker platform is still very much alive and growing. That is after more than 30 years in the market. Something that can't be said about many other platforms.

Personally I work more than full time - in fact 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week and I have trouble keeping up with all the projects.

But, if you have doubts about the platform, it would be interesting to hear your arguments...

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due to FM being one way to connect otherwise unconnected systems, many of us are versed in other systems as well. I speak web, I speak SQL. Of my job, 50% is FileMaker projects (web and non-web). But surprise, SURPRISE! many of the 'non-FileMaker' jobs/work may get some FM just because it's easy to use. Perhaps planning the next big web project is done with FM. Or 'the book" - a whole bunch was stored in FM for sorting searching, etc.

Short answer: yes :)

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FileMaker is still very strong and there are thousands of us who do make a living from developing on it as a platform
- many of us have made a living with FileMaker for 20+ years

There is a significant increase in attendance at  FM DevCon with an equally significant increase in young persons becoming involved
- it is worthy of note that a large number of FM developers are approaching retirement, opening the doors for others to fill the gap

all the best

 

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It depends whether you're talking about making a living freelancing or working within organization.

I've worked in three organizations (a school district, a private high school, and a state college) where I was either the (or one of) the Database Administrators where we used FileMaker Pro (FMP). In all three, I created/managed an SIS (Student Information System) and many other ancillary FMP databases to support the organizations' needs. The pay's awful (because you're working civil service) but then again, you get to play with FMP all day.

In a shining example, the school district I worked for purchased PowerSchool, a $30K SIS that couldn't do the job since it's primarily built for public schools, not special-education schools where practically everything is an exception to the rule. We ended up using PowerSchool to warehouse the data then used FMP  (including using ODBC) exclusively to do everything we wanted (PowerSchool) to do.

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This may warrant a new thread, but I think the question is germaine to the original.  I'd like to expand the question to ask: 

"How many are making a living these days, by creating Filemaker solutions or related products, not as a consultant?"

I think we're at a time where FM needs to step up their game to support product development.  There has been some talk along these lines a Devcon for the last couple of years, but I'm not in the loop enough to know if this is actually happening. 

I'm really excited about where FM is today (been developing my own solutions for business and government since about 92') - and I think the platform has a GREAT future.  The next few years/versions will be pivotal for the platform, and those of us who make a living on it, IMO.

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That's a fair question, Darren, and also a sore point for developers who sell runtimes as a home/cottage business. Because that function will soon be deprecated, that will force some of us to give up that means of livelihood because we can't, in good conscience, sell a product that can no longer be supported long-term; that, too, is the subject of its own thread.

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developers who sell runtimes as a home/cottage business. Because that function will soon be deprecated

@Rich One small clarification, just for posterity, the runtime is already deprecated. As to when it will be removed, is a different question. As of now, there are no announced plans. From the roadmap webinar, it sounds like it will still be in 18.

@Darren Emery which aspects of product development are you referring to specifically. Based on conversations I've had with engineers and Product Managers, they have been on a path to adjust the underlying technology to open up more possibilities. Try to get to a point where they can swap out the underlying technology, without negatively impacting the UX. They will definitely continue down that path. Version 18 will carry with it a substantial change to the engine with page locking and parallel processing. While we keep in mind this is v1 of that change, and it's a big one, the biggest benefits will come in future versions. 

When Brad Freitag was installed as CEO, that also comes with a shift. I know, from his own mouth, he wants to help FileMaker shift gears and progress faster than we have seen in the past. We will just have to wait and see how that goes. It is exciting.

When you ask "not as a consultant", what do you mean? There are many, many in-house developers working in FileMaker daily. Add to that citizen developers who many not be their full-time job to build and develop, but many, many of them are building great stuff in FileMaker too. Currently, I'm back to working as an in-house developer for a sales company. Both myself, and my boss work primarily in FileMaker daily...with a host of other IT tasks and servers to handle as well. We have ~40 servers run various technologies, and multiple companies, each running their own version of our custom app.

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Apologies for the delayed response - Manhattan, KS has been preparing for a significant flood event, and I've been distracted with my "other" duties at the Manhattan Fire Dept. 

When I referred to other income sources, not consulting, I was thinking along the lines of product/solution creation and sales, with the potential to create on-going, recurring revenue. Think SAS.  Not aimed at the Filemaker community, but at other vertical markets. (Not a real fan of that phrase, but I think it gets the point across).

I have only begun to review the changes in 18, but it does seem that the FM team has begun working towards added features (based upon the change in the underlying structures as you discuss above Josh) that will help us in this arena. The first glance at 18 has me even more fired up about where FM is going, and what the future may bring!

 

 

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