Sept update

Barely a decade after Microsoft, I too have finally given up on Office development.

The holidays are over and its time to, at least appear to, look for a contract. I’ll still chuck my cv in for any sensibly paid Excel/VBA/.net contract but a. there aren’t many around at all, b. I think the competition might be quite stiff, c. I’m not investing any other effort in this area.

What am I doing? well…

iPhone development, in a word, or two.

Why? I realise I am very late to the party, and most of the streamers have already been popped, but I still think there is some mileage. I have a reasonable level of confidence that over the next 3-5 years this is still a viable skill, even if it is in the throes of a move from objective-C to Swift.

In a way I regret milking Excel/VBA as long as I did and not jumping ship sooner, as I think the golden years of app dev are behind us. But I’ve made a decent living from one long tail, I’m not above setting my sights equally low again!

The great thing about iPhone development over say SAP Hana (apart from from the lifetime of death march tedium) is the accessibility, assuming one has a mac of course.

I can sit on my arse at home, develop apps in areas that interest me, publish to the app store and sit back and wait for the avalanche of money to trickle in…

Well that’s the plan anyway, but here I am on SOS instead of xcode…

I will link from here if I decide to blog about my exploits, but I won’t drag SOS off topic as I know some people still find value in the content we created here.

Please leave a comment if you too have jumped ship, and what to, or if you are staying in the Excel/VBA world, and why.



5 Responses to “Sept update”

  1. Jon Nyman Says:

    Same as before for me (from the June post). Good luck on your new endeavors! Seems to be the way of developers, with a constant shifting landscape. But that is what makes it so fun!

  2. Joe Serdakowski Says:

    I consider myself lucky. My Excel/VBA business has never been better. Working with companies ranging in size from 5 to 50,000 employees. I focus on custom applications heavy on data mining from corporate databases and analytics take take advantage of Excel’s math functions. – Joe Serdakowski, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A.

  3. Paul Christie Says:

    With respect to a. there aren’t many around at all, I agree with you.

    With respect to b. I think the competition might be quite stiff, i don’t agree with you. From what I’ve seen we are in an era of making things look as complicated as possible and not taking advantage of what Excel does naturally.

    I too have flirted with the Apple world and developed my last project in such a way that it would work on normal Excel as well as Excel on the iPad. Of course I didn’t use any forms or vba but when i took a simple view of what was required there was no need to complicate it in that way. I might have kept the contract going longer if I had used vba but why make life difficult when it doesn’t need to be.
    The one thing that has made my approach to designing things in Excel a bit different is the use of Excel Tables. However, I’m not seeing many other people in the companies I’ve worked in recently using them. They don’t seem to understand them, and on at least one group in LinkedIn all I can see are moans about what Tables don’t do rather than embracing what they can do.

  4. Simon Says:

    Competition wise I meant that quite a few of my Excel/VBA buddies are looking around thinking ‘where the chuff is my next contract going to come from??’. Hence a deluge of well experienced cvs for any Excel/VBA role. Access is a little more healthy I think, or at least consistently limited.

    Its true, as always, that there are plenty of people making things as complicated as possible some for job security reasons, some because their ignorance is surpassed only by their lack of knowledge.

    I love tables too, most people are stuck in Excel 97 functionality. I have never seen a client use SUMIFS or IFERROR either yet.

    Glad to hear its going well Joe.
    Keep fighting the good fight Jon, I think anything javascript is a good move. I wish I had stuck at it years ago when I first picked up the basics.

  5. Biggus Dickus Says:

    Hey Simon …

    Still at it myself and yes it is getting harder and harder to sell Microsoft Windows solutions of any kind .. especially with Microsoft doing everything they can to discourage it (strange way to run a business). But with my efforts in PowerPivot and PowerQuery I have expanded what I can do for people in Excel a whole lot but as you say people don’t even know what is in Excel now. Microsoft isn’t doing anything in the way of messaging about it .. If it isn’t the Cloud” it doesn’t exist :-(

    And don’t even talk to me about how they’ve completely screwed Access Devs.

    Let’s chat soon Simon..


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