Is Programming/Coding A Required Skill For Your Startup?
[Please note that this article is meant for non-techie entrepreneurs, so if you are a geek, this article will not add much value to you]
So, the reason you find yourself interested in this post is you don’t know how to code and over that you are planning to start a new business or taking your existing one on the web.
By the time you finish reading this article, I will try my best to clear this confusion of learning to code so that you can shift your attention to other important things of the business.
Keeping programming skills aside, There is something you are required to have for survival. You need to understand Technology and where it is heading, because if you don’t know the path yourself you can’t guide your team and if you can’t guide your team, your business falls to ashes.
Why do you think you always end up reading Trak.in? It is all about sticking to the trend along with design and quality.
If you are planning to start your first venture or taking your business online then I am sure you have already prepared the checklist of requirements (If not, Bookmark this page and come back later). Every such checklist of a business has these two things in common which require coding skills.
A website and mobile app
If you are planning to build up something extremely complicated like a search engine algorithm or some new encryption technique, then, take my advice and master the required languages first.
It is not an easy task and even if you can afford to pay a developer to build it for you, such developers don’t just take money when they build something like this, they ask for shares which you can’t just distribute like candies. You have to make a choice….I’ll continue with other parts.
Coming to the most important part, A website:
It is more important than your product (seriously). Every product or service needs one, and assuming you don’t know shit about it (just for the sake of this article) or you feel it is really difficult to build one lets get the facts straight, you do need some sharp coding skills to build a masterpiece but to build a basic website for your product, you can do it even with your left hand (If you are a leftie then rephrase that to ”even with your right hand” :D )
The reason I wrote that line is because it is damn easy! Some web hosts like Bigrock and GoDaddy give you automated tools to build a website when you buy any of their hosting packages alternatively there are many tools you can use to build your basic website.
If your needs are not much and a basic website will do (Just a webpage pointing to your social profiles and with reviews and writings about your product or service) then you can even use the software which I used while writing this article on my computer, i.e. MS Word.
Maybe some of you aren’t aware (Unless you’re living under a rock), you can build web pages using MS Word or MS Publisher.
Just open one and start designing your webpage, insert images, write stuff and when you are done just save the file as a webpage in the save options (It is in the dropdown which says Word/Publisher Document).
If that’s too basic and low end then try using softwares like Dreamweaver or services like WordPress or Tumblr.
Fun Fact: Remember “Jobs”, not Steve Jobs but the movie based on him released in August 2013, the website for it was built on tumblr.
Next, Let’s raise the bar higher. If you need to build a basic ecommerce store, then you have open source scripts like Magneto and OpenCart or e-commerce SAAS platforms like Shopify which make it easy as hell.
We aren’t going to talk about how to build one using these tools anymore, there are hundreds of tutorials available on the web for that (Just a Google search and you are overloaded with options).
In order to stand out of the crowd with your website (masterpiece), you have two options, either pay a designer (like me) or start learning some HTML and CSS. Building a basic website with your product info is easy and so is building an eCommerce store but on the way up you will need to hire a developer because with these things, they break often and you cannot always tell what the hell happened.
Coming to the mobile app,
If you have built your website (Read above on how to) then building a mobile app is easy (Only a basic one). There are many tools available on the web using which you can create a mobile app in a few steps, just create an account, enter the URL of your website and that’s it, just download the app and enjoy.
Here is one of the tool that can help you build one.
You need to have a mobile responsive website for some of these tools as what these apps do is, they open your responsive website like a web browser would. When you don’t know how to code that’s the best you can get.
But as it was with websites, if you need something which is better and makes you stand out of the crowd then you need to either learn or hire a one who knows because the tools cannot build a highly functional app all they do is open your mobile responsive website within the app.
If you need a basic setup like a simple website or a simple mobile app for your startup, then you don’t need to learn coding and you always have the option to hire a geek for the job (Unless he asks for equity :D )
If you make up your mind to hire a professional then make sure you retain the ultimate control. Here is an example of how things can go wrong if you don’t pay enough attention.
Gurbaksh Chahal the founder of RadiumOne. When starting his first company ClickAgents he hired a developer from London who had a click tracking system Gurbaksh needed and he got the system from him for $30k but his mistake was he didn’t interfere much in his work (Thinking he should focus only on the business end) and let him host the system on the servers bought in his name (the developer’s). Later when the developer quit due to some reasons, the backend of ClickAgents collapsed as he took the servers with him. Though Gurbaksh later got back the system from the web host but he had to face a week of downtime for his advertising platform.
Now an example of how things work if you do pay some attention, Steve Jobs didn’t know how to program a computer but he never ignored its importance, he knew where he wanted to take the company and how. That is the reason we have witnessed apple with state of the art Hardware and Software (What did you think?).
If you decide to learn coding yourself then I recommend you read this article.
[box type=”shadow” ]About The Author: Nishant is a Web Developer and Designer who runs HashFloat.com, Where he writes about Latest Tech, Startups, Influencers and Geeky Fun Stuff. You can follow him on twitter, His handle is @HashFloat. [/box]