You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Do You Really Need to Code? Online classes and night-school courses in programming are hot. But whether entrepreneurs need to be fluent in computer code is still open to debate.

By Colleen DeBaise

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do You Really Need to CodeThere's so much you need to run a business: a great idea, access to capital, industry knowledge, passion. Should coding be on that list, too?

Programming skills were high on the wish list of startup entrepreneurs at the recent SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. One reason: Investors seem to take a liking to those in-the-coding-know. During the Q & A portion of a panel called "Investor Spotting," I witnessed one investor interrupt an entrepreneur who was trying to pitch his startup idea. "Do you code?" he asked. Big pause. "No," the entrepreneur said, dejectedly. "I wish."

The market for online classes and night-school courses in programming is hot, according to the New York Times. A number of startups -- including the touted Codeacademy -- are catering to this new crop of coder wannebes, the paper reports. The thinking is that with so much business gravitating toward the Internet, it's critical that today's entrepreneurs learn the language of the computer -- or at least enough that they won't be left behind.

Of course, programming skills aren't everything -- and startup entrepreneurs who don't have them can still hire IT staff (if the budget allows) or outsource talent if need be. Many entrepreneurs with bright ideas but minimal computer skills pair up with technical co-founders, too.

One item left out of all the recent discussion about coding: Sure, you can teach an entrepreneur how to code. But can you teach a programmer to be an entrepreneur? That's a much trickier talent to learn. If you have to have one or the other, entrepreneurial abilities still seem far more valuable than fluency in HTML.

Is it necessary for entrepreneurs to learn how to code?

Colleen DeBaise is special projects director at Entrepreneur.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Business Solutions

Visualize Data for Better Business: MS Visio is $23.99 Through April 16

Set your team up for success with a reliable tool for creating organizational charts, diagrams, and more.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business Solutions

Scan Easier and More Affordably with This 20% Discount

iScanner is a mobile app that makes document management, editing, and sharing easier.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.