The decision of whether or not to learn how to code is a tough one for many non-technical entrepreneurs to make. It may seem like a major time commitment on top of non-technical responsibilities. However, learning even some very basics can be extremely beneficial. You don’t need to be an expert in coding to get value from it. Below are six ways learning to code can help your business.
Save Time and Money Recruiting a Technical Co-Founder or Hire
You don’t find co-founders in one day. It takes a long time. In that same amount of time, or less, you could easily be learning how to code. A month is enough to learn the basics. It can be challenging for many non-technical founders to find a committed technical co-founder that shares their vision. Learning to code will make you less dependent on outside forces and help you get your company off the ground. There’s also a risk that your technical co-founder could leave the company after joining, which could leave you in a tough position if you don’t know anything about coding.
Evaluate Technical Hires or Co-founders More Effectively
If you don’t know much about programming, it will be hard to tell whether someone can effectively program. Therefore hiring will be a major challenge. You will need to rely on others to help you evaluate technical hires. This could be a burden of time and/or money. Learning even basic coding skills will help you to more effectively evaluate potential hires or partners.
Build a Prototype to Test your Idea
Being able to at least build a prototype or “minimum viable product” of your idea will help you to test the demand for your product and business viability before you spend a lot of time and money finding and hiring developers. A prototype will enable you to see how users interact with your product and if it’s even providing them with something they perceive as being valuable in the first place. Interacting and testing with mock ups or just verbal descriptions is much different then a product.
Sometimes customers don’t know if they want something until you put it in front of them and let them use it. A prototype doesn’t have to be perfect, or even scalable, for you to learn, and save time and money. And you don’t need to be an expert to build a prototype. You could even build a landing page to test whether people will buy your product, that you can drive traffic to it, and to build an audience pre-launch.
Communicate With Your Development Team More Effectively
For business people who manage or work with coders, understand ingcoding can be extremely beneficial. Business people will need to know what sorts of things are easy or hard to code, what sorts of problems arise, how long a certain task should take, how hard it is to maintain code, etc.
Programming languages are called languages because they are a mode of communication. If you’re in Spain, you need to learn Spain in order to communicate effectively with people around you. If you’re in a technology startup, learning basics of coding and computer science will enable you to communicate effectively with your technical team members.
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert at coding to be able to communicate effectively with coders. Basic understanding can be helpful in determining what is a reasonable or unreasonable request, or how much effort a particular piece of code would take to produce.
Contribute More to Developing your Product and Company
One of the biggest time commitments in starting a new technology company is product development. While business activities such as customer acquisition and fundraising to take considerable amount of time, being able to contribute to building product can be tremendously beneficial to your company. Different products and companies will have different proportions of business and product development time needed, however in most situations, being able to build product will at least be helpful.
Better Understand your Product and Technology
As a non-technical co-founders some of your biggest responsibilities will be sales and marketing, recruiting and fundraising. You will need sufficient knowledge of your product to be able to effectively communicate with customers, investors, and technical hires. If you’re starting a technology company, you should know enough about technology to be able to run your business.
Conclusion: You don’t need to be the best coder in the world to benefit from learning. It’s not an all or nothing decision. Understanding a little about coding will help you to be better leader. You should still be recruiting technical partners, however learning enough to get your company off the ground and work with those partners will be extremely beneficial to your company. Learning to code will empower you — “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to code and robotic minions shall fish for him forever.”
Check out How to Build a Landing Page for a beginner step by step tutorial.