It is essential to have a good set of guidelines when hiring a 4D programmer. Selecting a highly capable 4D programmer is quite critical. Please note that this 4D developer will be the one responsible for creating the 4D database which, when completed, will become an essential component of the customer's business.
Today, there are available many proficient 4D programmers offering their services. However, there are also numerous other 4D developers whose abilities are definitely questionable. Therefore, the person responsible for selecting a 4D programmer must first determine what criteria should be used for this process.
© 2008 Palmer Tilden of Wizard
Even though a project might be priced on a fixed bid, it is best to find out the 4D programmer's regular pay rate. Hourly rates vary from $25 to $175. Trainees start at a low rate; as demand grows, so does their rate. Please note that "demand" rather than "skill" is the keyword here. Skilled 4D programmers in the East Coast and in California are currently charging between $75 and $150 per hour. Programmers requesting a lower rate are most likely less adept and experienced than is desirable. Thus, the supposed savings could very well be fictional.
On the other hand, programming rates are often too high. This is due to the fact that a big 4D database development company tends to charge extra for overhead. Many times, such a company will give a project to a junior or trainee 4D programmer who gets only a small part of the price paid for the work. Thus, the customer ends up paying more for less.
Programming in 4th Dimension is a complex skill which takes many years to master. For best results, a 4D programmer should have at least five to fifteen years of full-time training and experience. All 4D programmers create libraries of reusable code. A 4D programmer may copy some of this code library into newly created 4D databases. This saves the customer the cost of writing new code. An inexperienced 4D programmer will have very little preexisting code to draw from.
Palmer Tilden, chief database developer of Wizard, does most of the work himself. When the project is exceptionally large or is urgent, then Wizard will involve other contracted members of the Wizard team who are also highly qualified 4D programmers. These senior programmers have had at least 10 years of full time 4th Dimension programming experience. They have been thoroughly tested for their ability to work in accordance with Wizard's high standards.
There exist many horror stories about how certain businesses have found it virtually impossible to make even the smallest change to their 4D databases.. The major cause of these horrific problems involves ownership of the 4D database
Some programmers retain ownership of the 4D databases they create. They only give this away for an additional fee. Wizard's customers have complete ownership of the final 4th Dimension database. There is no extra charge for this service.
After a completed 4D database is delivered, the customer will inevitably want it revised at some time in the future. If the 4D programmer has moved, changed careers, or is not available to do additional work, there may be no way to implement the desired alterations. This would probably be due to the fact that the master copy of the source code is nowhere to be found.
Wizard always provides its customers with the uncompiled master version, including all passwords, so that changes can be made to it in the future. Wizard also provides customers with a compiled version of the 4D database, optimized for speed.
An alert customer wants to make sure that an excellent 4D product will be created for his/her company.
Here are the factors which are key to achieving the above objective:
- Choose the 4D programmer carefully.
- Get regular updates of the unfinished work in progress.
- Make sure the 4D programmer fixes everything without any long delays.
- The 4D programmer must meet the customers specifications fully and exactly; anything less is unacceptable.
- Test the end product thoroughly.
Updates should be examined fully to make sure they are definitely leading to the desired end result. If this is not the case, then the customer should promptly discuss the problem with the 4D programmer in an attempt to rectify the situation. If such meetings do not produce the desired result, then the customer might well want to consider stopping the work and finding someone else to do it. The customers company is paying a high price for a 4D database. Therefore, it is necessary to work only with a 4D developer who is doing a good job of fulfilling the customers specifications.
After a project is given to a 4D developer, it is crucial to monitor the work in progress.
It is Wizard's contention that the customer knows more about what is needed in the database than Wizard knows. To assure that the 4D database is exactly what the customer ordered, Wizard encourages the customer to look at the beta (test) versions. This presents an excellent opportunity to suggest changes to the screens and functions. Such checks should also be used to determine if all the functionality is complete.
All of the Wizards work is fully tested. Any bugs found in the 4D database later will be fixed at no charge.
Previous 4D Work: A good gauge of any 4D programmers proficiency is a well-documented track record. The customer should thoroughly check all the programmers references. It should be determined that these references are from recent customers and not just from friends or associates of the programmer.
It is very important for the customer to carefully examine demos of the 4D programmer's work. Any capable 4D programmer will have samples available for this purpose. When the 4D demos are inspected, it should first be resolved that the examples are easy to understand. Next, it should be determined whether or not the sample 4D databases would be easy to learn and implement. These factors will prove to be especially significant when the customer is working with new or temporary employees.
The screens should be examined to determine if they have a Windows/Mac appearance. The customer must determine if the screens fully meet the standards of what a database should look and act like. Some 4D programmers are excellent at writing internal code, but when it comes to creating a user interface they fall short. The graphic design of the screens is most important for the personnel who use the database. Therefore, the screens should be reasonably easy on the eyes, as the customer or various company employees will most likely be looking at them for several hours each day.
Experienced In the Real World: It is best to avoid 4D programmers who are inexperienced in business. A solid knowledge of the business world can be very helpful in designing a 4D database. A 4D specialist armed with such knowledge can offer advice and suggestions about how the 4D database can be altered to better work with the customers specific business needs.
The perfect scenario would be that the hired 4D programmer is especially proficient in the customers business. Such is probably not going to be the case. However, someone experienced in the business world will be knowledgeable in different fields, understand business operations, and be aware of how things in that world work and function efficiently.
Created A Variety of 4D Databases: The customer should be aware of whether or not the programmer has created and worked on many 4D databases, rather than just a few. A 4D programmer who has created fifty or more 4D databases will most likely be greatly aware of how a 4D database should be designed and how to make it work efficiently. Having created just a few 4th Dimension databases limits the value of a 4D programmer. Obviously, such an individual does not have experience with many different types of database structures. Lack of experience in working with a large variety of businesses markedly diminishes the effectiveness of a 4D programmer.
70% of Wizards work is the repairing or enhancing of 4D databases created by others. It has received much recognition for its competence in this area. Such exposure has given Wizard the opportunity to work with a large variety of businesses and many types of 4D databases. Observing the output of may other 4th Dimension programmers has greatly increased Wizards understanding of what works and what does not. This knowledge is invaluable in building or modifying a 4D database.
Flexibility: Some customers know exactly what they want and can put it all in writing. This ability enables the customer to require that the 4D programmer give an exact quote on the project. When the 4D database is completed, the customer should receive precisely what was requested.
If the customer is not quite firm on what is needed in the final 4D database, then it will most likely be necessary to implement changes during the creation stage. These changes in direction require a flexible 4D programmer. The 4D programmer should be able to handle a reasonable amount of such changes without having to increase the bid. However, if a 4D programmer lacks flexibility it will probably be impossible to get changes implemented without a new quote being made. Of course, this process involves additional cost and time.
Easy To Work With: The 4D programmer should be able to easily communicate with the customer. Some 4D programmers lack people skills and are difficult to deal with. All of Wizard's past clients believe that Wizard is very easy to work with. They will be happy to testify to this fact.
A large company may use middlemen, rather than the actual 4D programmer(s), to deal with the customer. Such a procedure often impedes the flow of communication. Palmer Tilden, who is responsible for the greater part of Wizards 4D programming, always works directly with the customer.
Non-4D help: Some small companies have no one readily available to solve network or computer problems. In such cases it would be highly advantageous if the 4D programmer is able and willing to give some assistance. It is not really the job of the 4D programmer to work on the customers computer system; however, it would be extremely advantageous to the customer if assistance is available for occasional minor computer problems. The customer might do well to ask the 4D programmer if such service would be provided in a pinch.
Future Additions: It should be determined if the programmer includes extensive comments with the 4D code. Comments are written, nonfunctioning additions to the 4D code. They are very helpful in clarifying the various parts and workings of the 4D code. When there are comments inside the 4D code, it is much easier for a programmer to understand what is going on. This is extremely important if enhancements are needed later on, since the 4D programmer may not be able to easily recall the reasons that certain lines of the 4D code were written. Extensive comments are even more crucial when it is necessary to hire a different 4D programmer to change the 4D database. Clear, extensive comments make future work on the 4D database easier and cheaper.
The most important requirement for making future additions is a copy of the uncompiled master of the 4D database structure including the top-level password. See Ownership of your 4D database.
Wizard is a specialist in enhancements and repairs of 4th Dimension databases and/or data. Wizards experienced flexible, enthusiastic professionals are ready to slightly alter or completely overhaul any 4D database.
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