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Old 03-03-2013, 12:11 AM
CatMan CatMan is offline Windows 7 32bit Office 2010 32bit
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Default When you get really good with VBA what kind of opportunities are available?

Hello forum, I have been automating MS Office, using VBA, for a little over a decade now, exclusively for the company I work for. I am very strong in Excel VBA and PowerPoint VBA, and have moderate capability with VBA for Outlook and Word. Occasionally I contemplate breaking out and starting my own business (or consulting or ?) offering VBA services. I estimate there is lots of competition out there already but I am curious to hear other peoples point of view on this subject.

What I have observed in my travels is, there is a tremendous amount of Excel activity going on (and PowerPoint) and most Excel users either have no idea VBA exists or if they know about VBA, they lack the skills to leverage it. So there is alot of lost opportunity to optimize and reduce human error. Thank you for taking the time to read this, look forward to your reply.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:50 PM
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macropod macropod is offline Windows 7 64bit Office 2010 32bit
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Hi CatMan,

I had a look at a number of boards (MSDN, TechNet, Win Secrets & this one with that have separate forums for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word & VSTO. What I found was roughly: 1/3 of all posts concerned Access; 1/3 concerned Excel; 1/7 concern Word; 1/8 concern Outlook; 1/14 concern VSTO; and only 1/100 concern PowerPoint.

That suggests there'd be a reasonable call for your Excel skills, but little for PowerPoint. If you really want to get into the market, though, you need to get up to speed with Access, Word & Outlook, including on the interop aspects of these apps.

Just my 2¢.
Paul Edstein
[MS MVP - Word]
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:16 PM
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Colin Legg Colin Legg is offline Windows 7 32bit Office 2010 32bit
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I know a number of very strong Excel VBA consultants who constantly complain that other consultants who aren't "as good as them" are doing much better because they have a much stronger client network. Getting new business isn't easy even if you're a guru so, if you're considering a switch to private consulting, my advice would be not to put all your eggs in one basket. Try to build up work and clients whilst holding onto your current job. Then, when you're confident you can make a comfortable living from it, take the plunge.

Other options you might consider are VBA teaching/training or perhaps trying to get a job as a full time developer (not 100% clear from your post if you already are a full time developer or someone who's been very useful by doing VBA work on the side for your employer even though it's not part of your official role). In my experience, developer roles will typically require more than just VBA though, so you might want to check your local ads to see what skills are in demand. In my industry, Excel VBA skills typically need to be complimented by at least one of the following: C++, C# or VB .Net, Java, database (eg SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase).
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:13 AM
DepricatedZero DepricatedZero is offline Windows 8 Office 2007
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I work full time as a VBA developer. I'd prefer to work in a more robust language, and eventually will be transitioning away from the Access Database I'm building/maintaining into writing a VB.NET/SQL Version of the same application.

If you're skilled with VBA, try your hand at other languages like Java, or especially VB.NET (syntax is very very similar). You may be able to land a junior role with one of those, using demonstrable knowledge of VBA as your background.

My background is mostly in Java and PHP. When I applied for my current job I explained that I'd worked lightly with VBA but was far from expert in it, but that I also have a formal education in software design that doesn't come with learning VBA as an add-on to Office. Now I've been using it 40 hours a week for the better part of a year
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:46 AM
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BobBridges BobBridges is offline Windows 7 64bit Office 2010 32bit
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This is an old thread, but it happens to interest me. I'm a contractor and I do a lot of VBA work (mostly Excel, some Access and a very little Outlook). But no one hires me to do that; they hire me because I'm a specialist in mainframe security (that's RACF, ACF2 and Top Secret if there are any mainframers reading this). Once I'm there I find VBA/Excel useful for some of the work, and perhaps my clients discover also that I can do Excel automation and start handing more of it to me—currently lots more.

You can take a couple different lessons from this:
  • There are jobs out there for VBA automators, but the jobs pay surprisingly poorly considering the value automation adds. Maybe that's because there are so many VBA automators. If you have another and more valued skill—or if you can present your skills in another and more valued context—you'll still do VBA automation and be all the more valued for it. I'm billed as a mainframe-security jock, and I am, and it gets me in the door. But automation is really what turns me on, and often what I end up doing. So I automate security processes, and can do it all the better because I understand security. I don't know what your niche would be, but maybe you can find or invent one and sell automation as an add-on to that (better-paying) niche.
  • No matter what you're hired for, as long as you satisfy your employers you will in time end up doing what you're good at. By "in time" I don't mean the first few months or quarters, but it always happens. (If a quarter seems too long to wait for the recognition you deserve, no advice I can give will be any help anyway.)
By they way, I heartily concur with DeprecatedZero's advice to get other languages under your belt. Usually these days I write new code in REXX, VBA and VBScript, but over the past decades I've touched almost two dozen other languages and I'm always interested in adding another, just by reading the manuals and trying it. Another language is another opening—and the arcane languages are the ones that make you a hard-to-find resource for employers.
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