I have been involved in the tech community of Dhaka for past few years now. Every now and then, especially during the Hackathon times, I hear managers from non-technical area like lets say Business development saying ‘This time I am definitely going to learn how to code’. And I understand it is very tempting to enter the ‘cool’ world of coders. However I would ask you to refrain from such activities. Drawing from my experience, trying to learn ‘how to code’ is a complete waste of your time unless it has major value in your job, or you enjoy programming as a hobby. Here in this article I shall discuss few major misconceptions that lead non-technical managers wanting to learn coding.
It will give you better grip over your Developers
Honestly I have been in this situation many times. I am an Econ grad who was working for development sector. Suddenly, chain of events happened and I discovered myself as a founder of an IT start up. Now I manage a team 12+ technical people and mentor many more. At times you may feel that you are unable to communicate with your developers and that learning to code will improve it. But to be honest, if you continuously face hard time communicating with developers, chances are you have bad developers. Effective communication skills are cross-sectorial and it takes practice, patience and experience which are also required to be a good developer. To think that learning the basic syntax of any programming language is going to put you on the same level as a professional programmer is like me thinking I can discuss welfare economics with Amartya Sen because I had taken a course on that subject in my undergrad
It's an attractive skill to add on my C.V
Not really. I have personally supervised our office construction and then extensions that followed. I acquired working knowledge of basic interior designing. And people tell me our new office looks nice. But that doesn’t mean I can add ‘Interior designing’ in my C.V and expect people to pay me for that. Being a good programmer is like being a good composer. I will not start composing great works of music for sure just after being familiar with some chords of instrument. That may come from years of experience and study.
I want to fix my own System
And here we go again. Do you really want to play with your Website (face of your Business) or your Software (Critical Brain of your Business)? I would rather not. Leave the things that need expertise to the experts. Google is here, so do some research about your needs and how companies in local and international markets have solved it. Sit with few good companies with solid track record in your specific sector. Ask them questions on how would they solve your situation. Prepare System Requirement documents and award it to a suitable company. Remember being cheap and cost effective are not the same thing, you will get what you pay for.
So what should you do?
For a starter grab a cup of coffee and do something that you really enjoy. And if you really want to make a mark in the IT sector, start by learning to do a proper system requirement of a business process. After that you can learn different developing methods. Learn Agile Software Development process, be a Scrum Master or PMI ACP if you wish. One good way to start would be to study and develop diagrams. These will help you to communicate better with Developers resulting in a better system for your business not amateurish coding.