On Learning to Code, pt. 1

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I want to write about a topic that I think will benefit a lot of people: learning how to code. When I first quit my job to start my own company, all I had was an idea. The goal at that point was to find someone with a technical background to actually execute my idea. I suspect that many of you are in similar situations. There’s something you should know: it’s never going to happen.

Demand for developers has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Think about it. Anyone with any aspirations in the tech scene is starting their own company right now. Each of those startups needs its own lead developer (not to mention that companies like Facebook and Google are sucking up thousands of talented developers).

Please don’t want to wait around trying to find that perfect technical co-founder. If that’s your goal, then you’re bound to fail as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs don’t look for people who are able to execute for them. They improvise and make things happen in spite of being under-equipped. You’re not expected to become a master hacker (or even an adequate one at that), but you had better learn how to code well enough to put together the first version of your product yourself.

As an entrepreneur, learning how to code is useful even if you’re not actually going to be coding full-time. One day you will be expected to manage a team of developers. At the very least, you will need to be able to interact with developers in order to pitch them on joining your startup. Where do you find developers? What do you talk to them about? How do you get them excited about your project? It’s much easier to do these things once you’ve learned how to code.

That leads to me what I feel is the most important reason to learn how to code: more and more, the things we interact with in the world around us qualifies as technology. For most people, technology is the first thing we interact with in the morning when we wake up and the last thing we do before we go to sleep. For example, 83% of young people sleep with their cell phones next to them.

Very quickly, society is becoming divided into two groups: those that understand how to code and therefore manipulate the very structure of the world around them, and those that don’t – those whose lives are being designed and directed by those that do know how to code.

So I think it makes a lot of sense to start learning how to code. As an added benefit, it’s easier than ever. In my next post, I’m going to talk about where to start.

Mattan is the founder and CEO of The Front Labs, a digital strategy agency based in New York City. He’s a marketer, philosopher, adventurer, and generally well-mannered guy. Follow him on twitter and read his blog at mattangriffel.com.