Want to be an Entrepreneur?..Learn to Code

by Dan Bunker

Gone are the days where the only people that code wear white button down shirts with pocket protectors. It's true that coding has created a stereotype over the years. However, the typical developer is becoming atypical by others wanting to harness the power of the computer. Graphic artists and designers are learning to code to bring their creations to the web and mobile platforms. Mechanics, factory workers and even doctors and lawyers have made career path changes into development to either bring better pay or more reasonable work conditions. But those that can gain the most from learning to code are those starting businesses and building ideas. The entrpreneurs.


Long Road


"If I'm Starting a Business, Shouldn't I Hire Coders Rather Than be One?"


You've come up with an idea, you've drafted a business plan and you've registered your business with the proper government agencies. Shouldn't you get others to do the technology, sales, operations, marketing and accounting? Yes...eventually. The problem with starting a business generally comes down to cash. Unless you've figured out how to grow money trees in your backyard, you are going to be strapped for cash. You can get a business loan or venture capital (which can be difficult to do) and hire those you need to run your business or you can fill most of those roles yourself until you can get enough cash flow to start offloading those tasks to others.


"Why Code When I Could Fill Any of the Other Business Roles?"


You certainly could run down leads or keep your chart of accounts up to date. Those tasks need to be taken care of by someone. But take a moment and think about the costs involved to hire out the various roles you may want to fill in your business. Below are a few job roles and their average yearly salary based off of 2015 data from USNews.

  • Sales Representative ~$55k/year
  • HR Specialist ~$58k/year
  • Accountant ~$67k/year
  • Software Developer ~$98k/year

As you can see, programmers are expensive! If you, your business partner or other ground level employees have programming skills you can save yourself some serious cash up front by taking care of technology until you can get enough sales and income to hire IT out. 



"Doesn't Coding Take a Long Time to Learn?"


To be a "great" developer, yes it will take you a long time. As an entrepreneur, your goal isn't to be a great developer. Your goal is to be dangerous with technology. If you can prop up a basic website, create a blog or build a prototype mobile app to show off to capital investors, you've done your job. You need to get your idea to market fast so you can start bringing in income. You can then hire the "great" developers to come in and get things built so systems can scale and be maintained.

There are so many ways to learn to code that your toughest choice might be figuring out what avenue you want to take to begin learning. Many cities offer 8 to 12 week boot camps. You can find online schools and tutorials like pluralsight.com, udemy.com and lynda.com. Learn enough to get started and don't sweat the rest. If you spend 3 months learning to code and then start working on your business, you're already ahead of where you'd be if you signed up for an MBA program.


Learn to Code, Save Money and Build Your Idea


No matter what business or industry you get into, there will be a need for software to help you run and automate that business. Why not learn what you can to save some money while still being able to move your business forwad? Coding is not easy and building businesses aren't easy. That's the trademark of life as an entrepreneur. Make the difficult easy and get your idea out there.