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FileMaker Developer Roles and Responsibilites

FileMaker Developer Roles and Responsibilities

FileMaker developers are in high demand. As businesses realized the importance of technology during the pandemic, digitizing workflows immediately became a priority. As a result, developers were needed to build custom software that would allow both internal and external users to function as usual regardless of the COVID requirements. Despite the craziness, the pandemic presented an opportunity for us all to examine and improve our workflows. 

Every FileMaker developer's path is unique. We all have different strengths, skills, and interests. However, there are certain steps to take to make the professional development road more smooth and more direct. So, let's review some of the roles and responsibilities of a FileMaker developer.

FileMaker Career

Though it's not a requirement, becoming a certified Claris FileMaker developer is a good idea. Developers were expected to recertify yearly, but now certification credentials last two years. The certification exam was also version-specific, but that's no longer case. The exam is not intended to be a teaching tool, but it does help to expand your knowledge. Certification also enhances your credibility and marketability. 

Claris FileMaker is a low-code development tool, so all you need are some general technical skills. Where math or computer science education certainly wouldn't hurt, it's not necessary. A background in different business disciplines and good listening skills are far more attractive attributes in a software developer.

FileMaker developers generally follow a familiar career path.

  1. Start as a junior developer, working on a dozen or more projects to absorb the business side of things. You will likely support other developers by being responsible for small projects or specific aspects of large projects.
  2. After 3-5 years, you will become an intermediate developer and create business apps with little supervision.
  3. With 7-10 years of experience, you are considered an advanced developer, so you are more or less independent and serve in advisory roles.

A solid foundation in FileMaker development doesn't preclude you from learning other computer applications. For example, understanding web technologies like JavaScript and REST APIs is helpful for your career. Having some general knowledge across a broad spectrum of functional business areas, like accounting and sales, is also an asset.

During an interview, don't be surprised if you talk more about your business experience than your technical skills. However, be prepared to complete an assessment, which might include building an app.

FileMaker in the Field

Working as a FileMaker developer is more than just spending hours in front of a computer, although that is naturally part of it. In addition, interpersonal skills are necessary for interacting with clients. Usually, there are no projects without clients.

An effective developer takes the time to understand the client's business and operational workflows. It helps to thoroughly review the data and talk with the process experts to help them identify their pain points and articulate their needs.

Listening to clients is the easy part. Hearing and understanding them is another thing altogether. Sometimes it's hard to say what we mean. And, even with the best intentions, the receiver still might not hear the message as intended. 

We find the best way to mitigate miscommunications and misunderstandings among all parties is by asking direct questions to ensure that we understand exactly what the client is trying to accomplish. We also make it a point to repeat the requirements to the client at regular intervals. 

Once you have a solid understanding of the project objectives and requirements, we suggest you build a wireframe or proof of concept as quickly as possible. Then, you can present it to the client to help them visualize and experiment with the application a bit. A simple sample will help clarify the team's needs and ensure that the app works as expected. It might also open their minds to bigger and better possibilities that you can add to a feature request list for a future development phase.

FileMaker Resources

Technology evolves and expands quickly, so it's important to keep up with the new features and functions of the FileMaker platform. Various resources are readily available to sharpen your skills and techniques. It's also helpful to stay on top of best practices, not just for FileMaker but within the low-code development space as a whole. 

If you don't have much practical experience with FileMaker development, a training course would be a good starting point. There are courses for varying levels of expertise – new users as well as intermediate and advanced developers. In addition, for your convenience, you can participate in person or virtually.

You can complement training with guided support. We strongly suggest working with a mentor, someone you can learn from and share ideas with to enhance your professional development. Whether it's a colleague or someone you connect with at a networking event or conference, it should be someone you trust and respect.

Claris does a pretty good job of creating opportunities to develop relationships with other FileMaker Developers. You can join an active community of developers where you can ask questions and share your expertise. In addition, Claris Engage is an annual FileMaker developer conference that encourages peer-to-peer learning and gives you access to the FileMaker engineers and product managers so that you're privy to the trajectory of the tool.

You will find a wealth of wisdom and information from technical blogs published by Claris partners. Claris also supports FileMaker developers through their engineering blog and knowledge base articles.

The Support Group has been providing FileMaker Support for almost 40 years. We offer training workshops in addition to one-on-one mentoring sessions. Contact us if you want to learn more about our services. 

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This article is also published on FileMakerProGurus.com.

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