Stuck at Home? Learn to Code with Claris
Covid-19 has driven almost half the world’s population to sequester itself, and economic upheaval has already driven unemployment rates up to levels we haven’t seen in years. The challenges we face as a society are daunting – and one possibility is that it’s a good time to pick up a new skill or maybe even start a new career. Learn to code with Claris!
The Claris community is constantly growing. There are hundreds of thousands of partners and developers around the world. A lot of these companies are looking for remote employees and many individuals success with freelance careers.
Claris FileMaker development is a versatile skill that covers everything from requirements gathering, project management, data modeling, coding, security, and more. All resources that you need to develop your first app are available online, and most of them are free!
Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide our interns and apprentices have followed to great success.
Learning How to Learn
Online learning from the comfort of your own home might sound simple at first. Believe us, success isn’t guaranteed – it takes discipline. When there is no set schedule, no teacher, no homework, and certainly no classroom, even a small task can take a few days to accomplish. Learning online is a skill on its own and you’ll want to master it before anything else. Especially if you never worked remotely or tried learning from home before, we recommend starting here:
Learning How to Learn is a free course on Coursera that offers tons of tools you can use to make the most out of online learning. It’s based on a book “A Mind for Numbers” and will completely change the way you master new subjects.
Another good idea might be to use the Pomodoro technique to avoid distractions and set achievable goals for each day. Set a schedule, reward yourself, seek help when you need it, and track your progress.
Let’s Start with the Basics
If your end goal is to build a fully-functional app for your business without any integration with other apps, this section will cover all you need. Or, these resources can become a solid foundation for more advanced topics.
Custom App Academy was created by Claris itself and is the best place to start. Use their short interactive courses to get familiar with the FileMaker platform and see what it’s capable of. To make the most out of it, follow along and try building your first app. Don’t worry if it seems like a lot – all of their courses can be finished in a few days.
If you prefer to have a textbook with lots of exercises, FileMaker Training Series: Advanced for FM15 is a well-known classic. Even though it was written for FileMaker Pro 15 and is now archived, many of its concepts are still totally relevant. Use it to learn about relational database design and some basic FileMaker-specific topics you absolutely need to build a powerful database.
LinkedIn Learning, previously known as Lynda.com, is a paid platform but they offer a free month to all new members. Use this month to watch at least a few beginner-friendly courses by Cris Ippolite or extend your membership to view them all. Many municipal library systems offer membership to the service, including Denver’s. Be sure to check with your local library. It’s totally worth it!
The popular online platforms like Udemy and YouTube also have a fair share of FileMaker courses. While there are tons of useful videos on YouTube, Scriptology Mastery Course for FileMaker Pro YouTube by Matt Petrowsky offers the most structured approach, starting with opening FileMaker Pro for the first time. If you like his YouTube courses – and we are sure you will – check out his ISO FileMaker Magazine for more advanced tutorials.
Advanced FileMaker Topics
After a few weeks of learning using one of the resources above, you should be able to build your own app and customize it. However, if you want to work as FileMaker developer, you’ll need to learn other things or explore foundational topics more in-depth. Let’s take SQL, for example. Even though a lot of FileMaker courses will cover how to add a basic SQL query to the app, you might need to learn more on this topic on Data Camp.
Then, there is a lot to learn about FileMaker Data API, JSON , and RESTful APIs if you want to connect a FileMaker app with other services. At some point, you will want to extend your application using custom functions, and you can find a function for almost anything in this Custom Function library. Those who want to deploy their applications, will benefit from AWS and Productive Computing courses.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Learning something new online and without any help is tough and requires a lot of effort. We would even go so far as to say it’s impossible to learn everything on your own. There will be times when you need help, guidance, or at least encouragement to keep going. Luckily, we have a robust Claris Community, which will become you go-to place to meet like-minded people and find answers.
Claris regularly holds virtual (and physical) events where you can learn a great deal more about what’s going on in the community, what plans the company is making, and more. The also publish some excellent eBooks on FileMaker and other topics.
During this pandemic, we don’t know if we will be gathering for the annual conference, but if there’s an announcement of it being delivered virtually, don’t miss it.
There’s also a community-driven event, Pause on Error. We’d encourage you to check it out. It’s less formal than Claris Engage, sort of like hanging out with a group of really nerdy friends. It’s on pause (sorry, had to) for now, but keep an eye on their site for any announcements of online activities.
Lastly, once your skills are beginning to come together, consider reaching out to join::table.org – a non-profit dedicated to helping connect developers to pro bono work. There might be a way for you to do some good as you continue to learn.
Finally, the best advice we can give you is to start somewhere, pick a resource that appeals to you, and learn by doing. FileMaker is a constantly growing platform with developers all around the world so there always will be opportunities to use your newly acquired FileMaker skills.