Anyone who has followed Dick Moffat and I bemoaning the decline of the Office developer will appreciate our frustration at the lack of development of this important market niche, and our gentle finger wagging at Redmond as the only organisation with the credibility and resources to drive worthwhile change.
(I have for a long time harboured the desire to help create a organisation of professional spreadsheet devs, but whilst its a nice idea I can’t see it gathering the required momentum without some serious backing. )
But this last week has been a real eye opener. Firstly, conference-wise it is clear our skill set is very very much still in demand (general systems, Excel, VBA, .net). The latest from the City is a great all round Excel/VBA/SSDLC/Csharp (you find that hash char on a macbook running Linux on VMWare) can command 1,000 gbp per day, and good ones are being poached left right and centre. It also seems many organisations are setting up Excel centres of excellence to drive up spreadsheet quality standards.
Secondarily, my inbox is sagging under the demands for Excel consultancy, especially xll/C API stuff. Sadly I am already flat out trying to resurrect my blogging career ;-)
Thirdly, Jobserve the barely useable IT jobs website is brimming with Excel related jobs at all levels of experience.
I find it very amusing that our skill set is not that popular, few people are moving in to it, few people regard it highly, but those that do, really do.
We are becoming the master of the skills no one wants but everyone needs. perhaps like septic tank experts??(not cockney RS).
So the message seems to be if you like Excel based work there is a good living to be made, even though not many people will give you any credibility. How long term that might be is an interesting issue. MS managed to kill VB off in a few short years, but VB was more a dev tool than a business tool. I don’t think MS have the requisite influence with the business users that are driving Excel/VBA demand. Business users will happily hold back on working versions rather than feel the upgrade pressure that Visual Studio devs feel.
How do you see things currently? and in the next 3-5 years?
ps I found the # – don’t know yet what I broke getting it working