What Does a VBA Programmer Do?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2020
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A Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA programmer, generally works with the specific VBA edition of Microsoft Visual Basic. Visual Basic is an object-oriented programming language with its own Windows-based interface that is popular for creating a wide variety of Microsoft desktop applications. Visual Basic for Applications is tailor-made for developing specific applications, whether these are office resources, graphics programs, file sorting programs, or any other kind of Windows-based software programs.

On a general level, VBA programmers are responsible for using VBA to develop existing applications or to draft new projects. They must know how to use all of the parts of the complex Visual Basic interface, as well as how to use dynamic link libraries (DLLs) to provide references for code modules. They also need to know about object models, which are specific language constructions that Visual Basic uses to work with an application.

It can be rather difficult for VBA programmers to figure out the specific object model for an existing application. This element of the software has been coded into it by the original creators. A VBA programmer can use something called a macro recorder that can help to discover parts of the object model. Some debugging tools can also be useful in this process.


Some of the top-level cognitive tasks for VBA programmers involve evaluating an object model and analyzing the syntax and logic of existing code. These individuals may run Visual Basic or Windows-based applications repeatedly to decipher how code works during runtime. They may use extensive debugging or testing to learn more about how a specific piece of software works.

In order to manage a complex set of communications with applications, a VBA programmer might use tools like the OLE automation resource. This type of tool helps users to scrutinize how applications share functions. Here again, the nature of Microsoft Visual Basic as an object oriented language is important. Some code functions can be described as “automation objects,” which are sometimes shared between multiple applications.

A VBA programmer will often be responsible to look into the workings of a specific software program and present findings as needed. This professional may be called on to manipulate various specific pieces of a software program, or to alter it in different ways. VBA experts generally help an IT team to manage necessary changes to a set of applications.


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