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Programmers

Code Like a Pro

Code Like a Pro
Image credit: Matthew (WMF)
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Want to start a start-up and don’t know how to code? You might probably be seen as an Internet amputee. But there is
still a chance to build a great business though it will extend your runway to growth.

Coding enthusiast Ankush Singla, a former Amazon and Facebook executive and Co-founder, Coding Blocks, an ed-tech start-up offering courses in coding, tells Entrepreneur how coding and growth can go handin- hand for a non-technical entrepreneur.

It is difficult for non-tech entrepreneurs to have know how about coding. As per you, how important is it for them to understand coding? 

It depends on the team rather than individual founder. It is not important for all co-founders to know how to code.
It would be sufficient to have a member who understands coding and technology, but it would be also good for others to at least have a broader technical know-how. But if you are a single founder, you must know coding. 

Is there any way out to take care of coding aspect if all founders are non technical?

A non-technical founder can outsource coding to a third party/ freelancers or hire a developer. Hiring developers can be a little irksome as a founder may find it difficult to judge the tasks they perform. Outsourcing can also be tricky if it is not outsourced to a wellknown professional firm, which is usually expensive to hire. In such cases, many entrepreneurs look for freelancers but then also the problems of overcharging or having suboptimal work is there. During such times, it is better to have a technical advisor in the team who can manage these people and is trustful otherwise there
is no other option but for the founder himself to learn coding. 

How much time would it take to learn coding from scratch? 

For someone who has never done coding earlier, it would take at least  four-five months of dedicated efforts.
However, the basics of coding can be learnt in two-three months in order to manage your developer team though you
still won’t be able to code by yourself. Technology start-ups today are web and/or app based. For example, building
a website, the founder would need to understand two parts of the technology, first, running on users’ browsers and
knowing languages like HTML and Javascript and second, running on business’s servers. The former is relatively
easier to understand as a non-technical person that won’t require much time.  

But how tough is it to learn coding while growing start-up at the same time?

Learning to code is like doing mathematics version 2.0 as it is relatively a hard skill to acquire that need a lot of focused effort. So those, who love mathematics, tend to do well at programming also as both are all about  applying logic to solve problems. However, diverting all the attention to learn a new thing can be tough for founder as they
have to take care of everything in their start-ups. 

Does that mean a founder can bypass roles of a CTO or technology head?

It depends on how much he knows about coding and what’s the scale of the business. Even if the founder knows
coding, he would still need to have those people to help him which would accelerate the entire business growth rather trying to manage all technology bit by himself. Once the business reaches its minimum viable product stage or go out in the market, the founder should get a CTO or a  technical advisor if he can afford.

Edition: December 2016

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