How Quickbase Transformed me from an IT Ops Pro into a Software Developer

Written By: Erich Wehrmann
April 1, 2019
4 min read

For most enterprises, there a proverbial line in the sand between “software developers” and “IT.” Once you start a career path down one of these channels, it can be hard to shift to the other.

Even if you’re able to learn the other craft on your own time, you need experience to understand how to be effective. Gaining professional skills in both areas will probably land you a job title with the word “Architect” or “DevOps,” and will exponentially increase your ability to make a positive impact for a company.

As an IT Operations professional, I never would have predicted how learning Quickbase could have helped me grow my skills as a software developer – and shape my career for the better.

It all started with one question

An engineer approached our IT department with a challenge. He asked if we could provide support for a cloud application he was using for project management on a job site in lieu of MS Access or Excel.

I was brought in because I had a previous life as a website designer and was supporting some of our existing Access databases, but struggling to troubleshoot and maintain them across a WAN and VPN connections. The support for the current cloud application was not stellar and the governance capabilities left much to be desired, so my team started looking at other options. We came across a different solution that checked all of our boxes – an online database platform called Quickbase.

Bridging the gap in experience between IT Ops and Dev

The first project I tackled with Quick base was no easy task. It involved mobile devices, barcode scanners, subcontracted stakeholders, and multiple physical sites. As an IT Ops professional, I didn’t yet have the aptitude to do this development, but I worked closely with QSP (Quickbase Solution Provider) developers to provide specs, and with their help and expertise in areas like JavaScript, we were able to achieve our goals and make this Quickbase pilot project a success.

When I started working with Quickbase, I literally had no idea what an API was. The first time I looked at API documentation it looked like a foreign language. Taking the HTML expertise I had gained from web design along with my experience from working with the QSP developers on previous projects, I started working with and writing some JavaScript code to enhance applications we built within the Quickbase platform. These enhancements allowed for data transforms and moves that would otherwise require a lot of clicking in the standard Quickbase interface.

I quickly began growing my software development skills across other projects, adding UI components like pop-up windows with colors, images and form inputs. In the process, I learned a lot about cloud-based architecture by experimenting with API calls to other services, which helped to add additional functionality to my Quickbase applications.

I started working with iPAAS solutions (Zapier, Workato, etc.), which took the heavy lifting of setting up the various server components required for API communication off my plate. This allowed me to focus on API methods, translation techniques and logic. Along the way, my coding skills continued to improve.

These days I’m conformable building solutions on cloud platforms like AWS and have built mobile apps that can push or pull data from Quickbase, something I never would have imagined before I started using the platform.

Pro Coders + No-code

Quickbase helped take me from an IT Operations professional to a better-rounded employee with skills in software development. But my path isn’t the only way to grow a career with Quickbase – pro developers can enhance their careers too.

If you’re a back-end developer or DBA, you will learn more about data integration and front-end development with Quickbase.

If your expertise is front-end or mobile dev, you will learn data management and data modeling concepts in Quickbase that will improve your future work.

All developers that become Quickbase builders will gain experience with user support. Due to the nature of the work, you typically don’t separate the roles of developer and support in no-code environments. This puts app builders on the front lines dealing with issues reported from the user base which helps instill empathy.

In my opinion, this service management and help desk experience is vital to becoming an impactful senior developer.

As I attend various conferences and events that are IT-centric, I get questions about the validity of no-code in the IT environment as anything other than another software tool simply managed by IT. The truth of the matter is no-code is providing real value to businesses, and IT departments and software developers should embrace this value. Quickbase and no-code app building play an important role in the IT ecosystem, and they can play a role in the future of your career.

See how Quickbase’s no-code platform can help you grow your skills in software development, and make a big impact in days or weeks instead of months or years like traditional development.

Written By: Erich Wehrmann

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