So you have a great idea for a killer app, web interface, awesome game, or money making tech—you just don’t know how to make it happen. With so many freelance coders out in the world, it seems like the easiest thing to do is to just contract someone else to make your vision a reality. So why would you choose to learn to code yourself?
Ease of communication
If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of coding, and not accustomed to talking in the language of software engineers, trying to talk about how you want your application to work is complicated. You’ll say things that get misunderstood just because you’re not speaking the same language.
Learning how to code will not only let you complete this project, but it will help you to do a better job of speaking to tech folks in the future, when your company is big enough that you want to focus on other things.
Remove privacy concerns
If your company is still based out of your living room, it can feel a little bit tin foil hat conspiracy theorist to start deciding that idea thieves are hiding around every corner, but theft of ideas absolutely does happen. Sometimes it’s intentional, but more often, people overhear just enough that they springboard onto an idea of their own. That can still threaten your market, if you’re not careful.
If you’re sure that your idea is a winner, you may want to maintain your secrecy until you can acquire a patent or trademark, which means learning how to code at least well enough to create a prototype.
Improve your own skills
It is generally agreed that bosses who know at least a little bit about what their employees are doing are better to work for. If you know how much work is involved in very small changes, you may be better able to understand the concerns and time frames presented by your eventual IT team.
If you’re learning coding from scratch, picking up a book or taking a class on software design is probably the best first step for you. If you have more knowledge, but know that you’ll need an expert to help you get all the way across the finish line, companies like Codementor excel at helping their clients create the perfect app without taking ownership or responsibility.
Maintain company control
Maybe your business was always intended to be a partnership, but if you’re working on your own now, you might be loathe to bring on a coder at the early stages of the game, where you’ll almost certainly be trading away eventual company shares in order to get your app developed. By learning to do it yourself, you can keep control of your company, and its eventual direction, until you’re ready to start bringing people on as hires, not as partners.
On websites like Quora, you can find dozens of programmers who’ve been infuriated at the idea that the idea person “just” needs a tech guy. The highest quality programmers expect to be well compensated for developing your tech. If you’re not willing to do that, that’s understandable, but you need to be able to do it yourself.
Ultimately, whether you choose to hire a programmer, bring on a partner and compensate them fairly, or learn to do it yourself, is a personal decision based on how clearly you understand what you need, what you feel like you’ll be able to offer in the future, and how much you believe you’ll be able to accomplish on your own. If you don’t want to give up future equity in your company, then using the tools and mentorship available to develop your own program is the best way to maintain control.
If you do opt to proceed with a program that will help you learn to code on your own, make sure that the type of coding you’re learning is up to date. Look for references and examples of work that the company has done.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone who’s about to dive into the world of coding for the first time?