A day in the life of an IT Apprentice at Linear Blue

We caught up with Santtu Rantala; our Apprentice IT & FileMaker Developer to discuss a day in the life working as an Apprentice at Linear Blue – 

As an Apprentice FileMaker Developer at Linear Blue I’ve been given the opportunity to work closely with experienced FileMaker Developers to learn more about what’s involved in development and the industry.

On a typical day I’ll either have work for a client scheduled to be completed throughout the day or I’m expected to be available to complete any other imminent work. This is inherently overseen by our project manager Rachel, and generally another developer to ensure that my work meets our high standards. I’m typically involved in all kinds of work from general FileMaker development, to bug testing and data maintenance. Personally I really enjoy testing a project and finding out how exactly it works and what specific situations makes it tick, and I find I learn the best that way – however I’m sure the other developers aren’t too happy if I come back with a big list…

Mondays begin with a team meeting to discuss any developments in client work and the projects over the current week. Throughout the day I’m able to have contact with clients to assess any changes or updates to the tasks I’ve been given to complete. Contact is extremely important as it’s essential that everyone is on the same wavelength and has the same concept of the work that’s being done.

On the occasion that such work is already being handled by the junior or senior developers, I’ll be working on my own FileMaker projects to further understand how the package works, or more recently HTML and CSS to learn more about the web side of the business. I’m fortunate to be supported by the other developers in the office if ever I have a question or a project that needs a more experienced developer. I’ve found that debugging previous projects is the most effective way of understanding why, for example, a particular script works in the way it does – this often gives me a whole different perspective on how to code in the future. Linear Blue’s own standardised coding practices for example make things far more efficient as I’ve learned to incorporate them into my work. They’re designed to be legible and universal so it’s easier to pick up from where another developer has left off, simplifying development and maintenance of code.

Most recently however I’ve been using this time to read up on the FileMaker documentation and training series’, which supported me in passing the FileMaker developer certification exam last month in February. This was aided significantly by time allocated for training with the senior developers throughout the week where we covered all of the potential topics that were available in the exam. I have to thank all of the developers in the office for their mentoring and help in passing the exam.

The most interesting part of development for myself is the variation in developers’ ideas and the number of different approaches and avenues to tackling a project. Every day presents a new challenge and it’s exciting to see something develop from an idea into a polished product, which I may have contributed to.

Simon Ward

Simon has been developing FileMaker databases since the late 90s and joined Linear Blue in 2006. Over this time he has developed database systems for clients in many different industries from Order Processing to Book Publishing. Simon’s BSc in Chemistry from Thames Valley University comes to the fore in his analytical skills and he is certified in FileMaker versions 7 through 12.

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