Kuovonne's Guide to Airtable
Kuovonne's Guide to Airtable

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Getting paid to work with Airtable

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So you’ve used Airtable a bit and want to make a career out of it? Where to next?

Types of jobs

Here are some types of jobs / roles I have seen related to creating with Airtable.
In-house developer. This person is typically an employee or a long-term contractor who builds and maintains Airtable bases for a single company.
Standalone consultant. This person works as a consultant providing build/maintenance/advice services related to Airtable to multiple clients. This person might bill hourly, per project, or work on a retainer. This person might sub-contract out some parts of a project but does most of the work oneself. In addition to doing Airtable work, the person must also take on all the aspects of running a business.
Agency owner/manager. This person runs an agency that has multiple developers. This person typically handles more of the “business” side of the agency versus the hands-on development.
Agency developer. This person works for an agency doing development work for the agency’s clients. This person does not have to handle the business side of nurturing leads, billing, contracts, etc.
Project manager. This person could work for an agency or for a large company. This person manages the pipeline of projects and developers.
Third party service/product provider. This person or company develops a third party add-on to Airtable, such as an extension or a service that uses the web API. Common third party services include (but are not limited to) portals, forms, document generation, and backups.
Training. This person produces training material for Airtable. I haven’t seen this as a primary job, but it is a common service / product.

Career paths

Here are some career paths related to working with Airtable.
An employee in a company starts using Airtable and turns into an in-house developer.
Someone learns Airtable (on the job or as a hobby) and decides to switch careers to become a standalone consultant or an agency developer.
An agency developer decides to spin off to become a standalone consultant.
A standalone consultant decides to grow into an agency by hiring other developers.
A standalone consultant or agency developer decides to become an in-house developer. For an standalone consultant, this may be a switch to working for a former client. For an agency developer, this would not be working for a former client.
A developer using other platforms learns Airtable and adds Airtable related services to his toolbox.
It is possible to mix and match the different roles. For example, over the years I have worked as a standalone consultant, agency developer, third party product provider, and in-house developer.

Consideration for picking your path

Here are some factors to take into consideration when deciding on a path or a potential career change
Do you enjoy hands-on development or do you prefer the business side of things?
How do you feel about running a business?
How do you feel about managing employees/sub-contractors?
Do you want to work for a single company or a wide variety of companies?
Do you want to teach or create training material?
Do you want to focus on just Airtable or are you also interested in integrations?
How important is a stable income?
Do you have an idea for a third-party add-on and the skills to build it?

Don’t think your technical skills are ready yet?

If you want to be a consultant but feel that your technical skills aren’t ready yet, the best thing to do is to build lots of projects. Build lots of different types of projects so you learn something with each build. Don’t settle for a single way of building a solution—experiment with different ways and evaluate the pros and cons of each method.
If you have a hard time coming up with ideas of what to build, look at public forums where people ask questions. Look at old questions as well as new ones. If an old question has a solution, how do your solutions (yes, plural) compare? Do you understand the solutions? Do any of the solutions have pitfalls?
Here are some specific skills to work on:
Learn about database normalization. Knowing when to use a new table and how to structure relationships are essential to good database design. This is the foundation. If you don’t get this right, maintaining your database will be a nightmare.
Experiment with different ways combining logic: formulas, rollups, lookups, conditional rollups/lookups, view filters, automations, etc. There are usually multiple ways of doing things. Which method is the cleanest and easiest to maintain? Which methods will lead to problems?
Think about the data structure, how data flows in & out, and user workflows. How can you get them all to support each other instead of competing with each other? How does the scale of your data or users affect your systems?
Decide what third party tools you want to focus on. Many complex bases have some third party integrations, such as portals/websites, document generation, data import/export, etc. You can’t learn them all, so decide what you want to focus on.
If you already know how to code, consider writing scripts. Developers who know how to code have more options, but writing code can also have a steep learning curve. Plenty of Airtable consultants don’t write code themselves, and learning development and coding at the same time can be overwhelming.
Once you’ve built your skills, you will need to demonstrate those skills before anyone will pay you. Because there are no degrees or certifications available for working with Airtable, your work needs to speak for itself. Here are some ways to demonstrate those skills.
Give away builds. Since you will be building bases to level up your skills, you might as well give them to people who will appreciate your work and maybe turn in to a client or a boss. They will also be able to give you feedback on how well your systems work in the real world.
Answer questions. Others who come to the various forums/communities with questions will see your answers. Just make sure that your answers actually are solid first!
Publish training material. Make training videos or blog posts for others. Keep in mind that making quality videos requires an additional skill set.
Network. Does this really need an explanation?
Finally, don’t forget to work on soft skills. They are equally important.
The content in this guide is free, but creating it takes time and money. If you like this content, .

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