Managers should Learn Programming!

Remember that phase of life when you selected management as a career because you thought programming was not your cup of tea? 

Yet, for most of us, being impacted by the world of programming is becoming more and more unavoidable.  

As the world is quickly advancing towards digitalization, it is imperative to know the fundamentals of programming. Even if you belong to a non-tech profile, or are working as a marketing manager, designer, or entrepreneur, having an overview of programming will give you a stronghold on many important aspects of your business. 

Let’s understand this with an example: 

If you are directly involved in a technology product-based business, your inputs could be required for some of the below tasks:

  • Product development
  • Raising requirements/issues to the tech team
  • Automating back-end processes for improving efficiency
  • Giving inputs for on-page optimization
  • Understanding how to track and measure the performance of product components

All of the above actions will require technical discussions with members of the engineering team. As a marketing or product head, you don’t want to be in a position where you are unable to understand the concerns and ideas of the team that you are interacting with.

Also, your likelihood of sharing feasible ideas will be higher if you have a clear understanding of technical constraints and possibilities. Consider the following benefits:

  1. Giving functional inputs by thinking from the out of the box contexts
  2. Understanding and interpreting tech lingo
  3. Ensuring that your product is designed for scalability
  4. Understanding the limitations for keeping realistic expectations 
  5. Negotiating for your ideas and inputs with coherent arguments

It’s not impossible for managers to learn full-stack development, and it’s not easy either. However, getting the basics and learning the ability to write a working program in a language is really doable. Let’s take some actionable steps in this direction, and learn the fundamentals of programming! 

Here’s a 4 step plan for managers to Learn Programming

Step 1. Know your Objective

As a manager, your primary role will definitely not revolve around developing websites and apps. Thus, you must know what exactly you need to learn and why you want to explore coding. 

From HTML, Python, JavaScript to back-end programming, CSS, and hosting, the choices are many. Thus define a goal, speak to a subject expert, and discuss your objective. This will help you walk in a precise direction. 

Action Plan

The below table will help you in choosing a programming language and start your learning journey:

Programming Language
Python Easiest server-side language to learn
HTML and CSS Helps in creating static web pages
JavaScript Makes web pages interactive
Java, Kotlin, and C++ Helps in building mobile apps
PHP Runs CMS (WordPress) 
Ruby Builds scalable web applications
SQL Database querying

Choose a language based on your objective and the platform you will work on (mobile app, website). 

Step 2. Take up Online Programming Courses for Beginners

Now that you have a clear vision, it’s time to find a course that can actually make you learn the basics of programming. Being at a managerial role, your work schedule might not allow you to take a biweekly classroom course. Thus, it is advised to sign up for an online self-paced programming course. 

Action Plan

To ease your complicated journey, we have compiled a list of courses that you can sign-up and instantly begin. These courses are handpicked for beginners and have easy and simple to understand offerings delivered with some great learning experience.

Helpful Courses to Learn Programming from Beginning

Coding for Designers, Managers, and the Entrepreneurs Specialization by University of Virginia at Coursera

What will you Learn – Build working software using HTML, CSS, and Javascript

Duration – 3 months

Introduction to Programming by Udacity 

What will you Learn – Strengthen the basics of programming through HTML, CSS, and Python

Duration – 4 months

HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals at edX

What will you Learn – Markup language concepts, Basics of HTML5 and CSS

Duration – 6 weeks

R Programming For Absolute Beginners at Udemy

What will you Learn -R programming, Chart creation using R as a base, managing data frames

Duration – 10 hours

How to Code: Simple Data by University of British Columbia at edX

What will you Learn – Inputs to simplify the structure of your program, ways to represent information as data

Duration – 7 weeks

Step 3 – Stay Motivated

Doing unconventional things requires considerable effort and the same goes for you. When you will start with a course, you might feel lost, stuck, and/or confused. But this is not the time to hold yourself back but stay motivated. 

Action Plan

If you want to pace up with your ongoing programming course without getting tangled or losing your interest, we suggest you to start referring to free learn-to-code resources along with a dedicated course. 

Some of the most helpful sites offering excellent resources for beginners starting how to code are:
  1. freeCodeCamp
  2. Codecademy
  3. Upskill
  4. SoloLearn
  5. W3Schools

Some books you can refer to are

  1. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by “Uncle Bob” 
  2. Programming Pearls (2nd Edition) by Jon Bentley 
  3. Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (2nd Edition)  by Steve McConnell

If reading is not your thing, you can also switch to YouTube channels which have plenty of interactive videos covering individual topics on how to start with programming. 

Some popular channels that you can subscribe to are:
  2. TheNetNinja
  4. Programming with Mosh

Step 4 – Take up Personal Projects

This is a very crucial step that you must follow if you are new to coding and programming. The more you work on live projects, the better insights you can gain. Also, you can talk about your learning journey with pro coders and seek their feedback. 

Action Plan

Follow the below steps when planning to work on a live project

  1. Start small and steadily amplify the complexity
  2. Speak to developers and seek their opinions 
  3. Join online communities like GitHub and check out what other beginners are working on
  4. Ensure you don’t forget to see small things like closing an HTML tag
  5. Google all the error messages you get
  6. Celebrate small victories

By following the above steps, you’ll start seeing results. You have to be patient for a few months. But, once you master the fundamentals of programming, your efforts will definitely help you in the long run. You might still have to scratch your head in tech conversations, but you’ll incrementally build on the foundations that you have acquired.  

We can’t wait to see how far you can go. If a programming course has helped you as a manager, do share the same with us.

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