A famed innovator, Marc Andreessen, once said that the spread of the computers and the internet would eventually breakdown the jobs into two categories:
- One which will be awarded to people who can tell the computer what to do.
- And the second will go to the people who are told by the computer what to do.
While some people may find this amusing, all of us, deep down in hearts, know that this is the truth. One can either wait for the reality to strike like lightning or prepare a safe house of knowledge and logic to save oneself from the impending change. But, does an entrepreneur need to be a skilled coder to build successful products for the future?
Innovation, Business, and Coding
In a typical start-up, people come from varying backgrounds of knowledge, education, and cultures to form techno-functional teams equipped with tasks that cater to different business needs. The teams concerned with creating products discuss technology, mobile apps, websites, workflows, and more. The founders are generally a part of such teams and are hence forced to participate in such discussions. Being naïve to the tech and the language that powers it limits the ideas of the founders. The founders eventually find themselves asking many questions that make them look naïve. Therefore, if an entrepreneur is going to talk about technology, it is always good to learn about the new ecosystem that will fill the workplace.
Understanding the coding language that the product development team is going to use will help the founder in:
- Appointing the right people for the job – The entrepreneur will know precisely the kind of talent and the level of experience that the company requires in a prospect.
- Finding the right tools for the job – The entrepreneur will be able to invest in the proper computer hardware and software setup for their team.
- Scheduling and managing the project’s tasks in the best way possible – Since the entrepreneur will be able to estimate the work, effort, and time required to complete a task, the project management would be efficient.
- Helping the team when they face the wall – Developers can run into dead ends at times. Knowledge of the coding ecosystem will make the entrepreneur empathetic towards the engineering teams’ situation while working on a product.
- Minimizing the cost of the operations, talent, and other overheads – like over-investment in the technology, software, or hardware. The founders will also find themselves in a better position while negotiating contracts and maintenance costs.
Small Benefits = Big Savings
The knowledge of coding empowers the entrepreneurs in performing the small tasks that otherwise bear the cost of hiring an expert. Here are a few scenarios that entrepreneurs face almost daily, that do not require much effort and expert coding knowledge. Understanding basic coding principles and the simple logic building is enough to complete these tasks and save some money.
- The 2 most common languages used on the internet are HTML and CSS, changing the web page’s content. These two languages go hand-in-hand and create beautiful webpages that we see. HTML is used to provide a structured layout to the page, while CSS beautifies it by supplying styles, effects, and animations. Changing content on the page is usually very simple and straightforward. Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS should be more than enough to achieve the desired results. Moreover, if an entrepreneur runs into an unexpected error, the solution is usually a Google search away.
- Building prototypes instead of presentations – Building a small wireframe of the app or a website is usually more impressive than presenting the idea through a PPT. Of course, a PPT will be required to present the product’s intricate parts (if the entrepreneur is not code-savvy). But a prototype can make the life of an entrepreneur easier while talking about it to the audience.
- Creating guidelines and maintaining excellent coding standards – Coding standards and policies are used by big companies to write clean and understandable codes. Writing codes in a standard way removes the confusion, dependence, and problem with scalability from the software/app. Knowledge of coding can help an entrepreneur instruct the development team on how to maintain the code so that the founder never finds themselves dependent on a particular resource in the group.
- Tweaking the features urgently – Many entrepreneurs find themselves in a fix right before the meeting with the investors or even while discussing the product with the investors due to a misplaced icon, wrong hook or action, and other such minor mistakes. Knowledge of the framework and the language used to create the product can help the founders fix or tweak the feature instantly without making calls. It will boost the investor’s confidence in the founders and make the founder look more unmistakable in the vision in front of the audience.
Our Brain Loves to Code
Coding can be a fun activity for our brains too. The studies conducted in 1992, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2017 suggest that coders developed better cognitive skills on an average than the non-coders. It also proved that this is why people who love to code are better guarded against the diseases related to neuron degeneration like Alzheimer’s.
These studies also proved that the brain has a special place that it uses to build logic. And it is the entire left hemispherical of the cerebral cortex. For comparison, the remaining part of the cerebral cortex (right side) is used for various neural functions like maintaining attention, perception, thoughts, memory, awareness, consciousness, and language.
To a non-programmer, coding sounds like a mixture of maths and logic. However, only a programmer knows that coding involves maths, reasoning, attention, memory, language, creativity, and critical thinking – a perfect cocktail of everything that the brain loves.
The Future of Coding
Learning to code is fun and an exercise that the brain loves. Not just that, coding jobs have been in high demand for the last few years, and the trend will continue to dominate the market. As per Payscale, computer engineers can earn up to USD 90,000 per annum at the entry-level positions. The higher limit is uncapped for the right talent. For entrepreneurs, these figures turn into the assurance that the time they spent in learning to code will not be wasted. What makes the future of coding even more lucrative is the rise of start-ups like Whitehat Jr., whose prime focus is on teaching coding to young children. There is potential in coding, and people have started realizing it already.
For entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping their ventures, learning to code and being an integral part of the development or engineering team can be a good thing. Doing such a thing will result in a better understanding of the foundation that powers the product. Hence creating a better roadmap for the future becomes easy. Learning to code can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It banks on the complexity of the language that one wishes to learn, and the competency one wish to develop. As a rule of thumb, a 6-month period is enough to learn any computer language. Industries like Education, Finance, Healthcare are moving aggressively towards Techworld and making a huge impact on society and human life.
Where to Start
Learning to code in the 90s was a tedious task. However, much development has been made in computer programming, and now learning a new language is comparatively a piece of cake. Several websites are filled with free content, ready to be consumed by anyone willing to learn. Investing a little money in the premium courses can put an entrepreneur on the fast track. All in all, the only thing that limits one’s learning curve in today’s world is their will power.
Below are a few free and affordable online platforms that one can use to learn to code:
Tynker – This platform is built for beginners and kids. Tynker uses puzzles to teach logic building and writing code.
Udacity – One of the top resources for budding coders, Udacity, has content created by engineers from Google, Facebook, and other tech giants.
Udemy – This is a swiss knife for learners. One can not only find coding courses, but Udemy also provides courses for other skills that help build the right mindset for coding.
Code with Google – A program by Google, the website features content that creates the mindset and teaches to code.
Learning to code can be fun and exciting. The entrepreneurs can not just pick up a new skill or two while learning to code, but can also develop the competency to help them save money. Also, understanding the technology, language, and the platform used to create a product helps the founders lay a better roadmap for the future, scaling in reliable ways and contributing to the overall development of the product and services.