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Freedom seeker

After jumping from one job to another, Andy Leap found his FileMaker career at The Support Group in Boston starting as an intern and eventually becoming a developer.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: How did you become interested in becoming a FileMaker developer?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: My father showed me FileMaker initially. When your dad shows you computer stuff, it’s typically not that interesting, but FileMaker really piqued my interest. It seemed approachable and elegant. So I took a class with The Support Group (TSG) as a trainee and saw that FileMaker is easy to use and can solve a lot of different business problems. At 28, I am now a full-time FileMaker developer for TSG.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What is your background?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: I grew up north of Boston and went to Emerson College studying video and audio editing. I moved to Los Angeles, but the film and TV industry seemed self-absorbed and transient. It involved long hours for not enough pay. After jumping from job to job every month or two, I started working in retail as an inventory manager for Walgreens and stayed there for 10 years. I transferred to different stores and traveled. At this time, I was not focused on my job as a career — I just wanted to save money and enjoy my youth without job pressure.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: How long did it take to become proficient in FileMaker?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: I took three classes at TSG before they hired me as an intern. Then I spent a year as an intern working 40 hours a week hands-on building solutions and learning from advanced people. TSG has a great mentoring program. I was somewhat proficient after that year, but with FileMaker, you can always get more sophisticated, so I am still learning.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What are your favorite aspects of FileMaker?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: FileMaker impresses me most with its flexibility. When clients come to us with business problems or even when my friends ask me how to organize an aspect of their lives, FileMaker can solve the issue. With FileMaker, there are so many different ways to create custom solutions.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: Which version are you using?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: I’ve been using FileMaker exclusively and my favorite feature is the ability to dynamically control the visibility of a layout object based on a calculation. For example, you can choose to show or hide certain fields in a questionnaire depending on who is viewing the layout. Also, the optimizations for Windows make solutions run blazingly fast on PCs.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: Which solutions that you’ve developed are you most proud of, and why?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: We helped create a solution for E2 Consulting Engineers, a company that cleans up EPA Superfund sites. The solution runs on iPad and is integrated with Google Maps. When engineers draw a box around an area on a map, they are furnished with precise locations. The solution helps streamline daily logging and in-the-field reporting.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: If you had advice for others interested in FileMaker, what would you say?

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: My job is fascinating. I genuinely love it. Every project is completely different. One day, I might be working with a school, then a health care company, and next an auction house. I have to learn others’ jobs and help them improve their workflows. Being able to wrap my brain around all these industries to maximize their bottom lines is cool. I get bored if I am doing the same thing, so this is a good place to be. I would also tell them that becoming a FileMaker developer is a good move financially. To make nice money and enjoy what you do is a bonus.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: Tell us more about yourself.

  • Mary Pitzen

    Leap: I like to play sports recreationally like soccer. Video games and bacon-mushroom cheeseburgers also top my list of favorites.

My job is fascinating. I genuinely love it.
- Andy Leap, FileMaker Developer, The Support Group
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