Companies are constantly looking for great quality Access developers, here are some questions to help you evaluate one:
- Do you provide quotes and/or estimates? This is a major red flag. Quotes, contracts and proposals are a great way to be on the same page as your developer, otherwise you may be asking for trouble. Shy away from people that only offer a handshake to do your work.
- What kind of certifications do you have? This is a trick question, since there is no Access Developer certifications in existence. But if a developer has a related certification, such as a .Net developer or MCP, ask them about it and if they found the skills from the certification to be useful with Access. If they quote an Access developer certification you gotta wonder what else they will fib about. UPDATE: As several readers have pointed out, there were certifications in the past provided by Microsoft & third parties. such as BrainBench
- What is your backup strategy during development? What is your backup strategy when the app is installed at my company? If you get blank stares from this question you need to head to the exits. Backup strategies are a must during development and deployment. An Access developer worth his/her salt will be glad you asked this question and will discuss and develop strategies with you.
- Do you consider yourself a macro developer or VBA developer? There is nothing wrong just using macros in Access, but I don’t believe a macro only developer can deliver a great solution vs. a VBA developer. Hands down the VBA guy will do better every time.
- What version of Access do you love using? If someone says they love Access 97 or 2000 and you are on 2007 or even 2010 you may consider going with someone who uses a more recent version. Why?
- Do you have a website? Do you have a calling card? In this day and age of getting a website for $300 no self respecting professional should go without one. Yes, there are great developers with no website, but do you honestly want to trust your work to someone who will not bother to have a professional calling card or website?
- Do you have references? It’s important you talk with other firms that have dealt with a consultant, even if it’s glowing reviews. (And they should all be otherwise they should not be a reference). Ask them how responsive your consultant is, wither they accommodate emergency requests or disappear for weeks on end.
- What has been your most challenging Access problem and how did you solve it? Granted, you may not understand all of the techno babble but what you are looking for here is if the person formulates a plan of attack and how they handle problems.
- What has been your greatest work? Here you want to listen in on the features and accomplishments your consultant is proud of. Do the features sound useful from a business perspective? Is the work quoted sound like a great solution? I use this question to highlight wonderful solutions I’ve built for companies in the past.
- Are you going to charge me for bug fixing? This is a great way to clear up the atmosphere before work gets started. The answer to this question will let you know the frame of mind a consultant has in regard to the project and your business.
I hope this helps you evaluate your consultant and I look forward to new clients asking me these questions going forward, as you can imagine I have some great responses lined up!