The Single Most Important Business Skill in 2016? Learning to Code

By QuickBooks

3 min read

No longer reserved for freaks and geeks, the ability to write code is becoming a necessity for professionals in technology, marketing, commerce, finance and beyond. We’re becoming more dependent on computer hardware and software to do business, and learning to program can help improve your work life. Coding is quickly becoming a core skill of the 21st Century, and with good reason: the ability to code can make you more productive, efficient and effective.

Learning to write code lets you automate tedious tasks, which allows you to spend less time on the mundane and more time on the high-level stuff that sets you apart from your competitors. In fact, that’s exactly how I started my own company! I was actually a consultant when I built this software to automate some of the repetitive tasks I was doing. Just like that, WordStream was born.

The good news is, you don’t have to go back to school or commit 40 hours a week to learn how to code. You can start learning quickly, painlessly and often free of charge in your spare time.

Get Coding and Stop Freaking Yourself Out

You didn’t get where you are today by being faint of heart or shrinking from challenges. Coding is problem solving, plain and simple. Sure, if you were looking to reinvent Facebook or Google, then you would need significant education and on-the-job experience, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Learning to code is no different than learning how to gas up your car, check the oil and fill the washer fluid. With a little help from the owners manual, you can even change the tire, replace a fuse or, if you’re really into it, replace that burned out headlight before you get a ticket.

But learning to code goes beyond those simple things. It would also allow you to repaint your car, do some body work and soup up the engine to do the things you want it to do—which is often more than it was created to do!

Learning to Code Is Just Good Business

Hardware and software are increasingly the tools of our trade, regardless of the type of industry or company. By mastering some of the stuff under the hood, you’ll have a better work experience and won’t have to rely entirely on “your people” to understand what’s going on around you. This is especially critical for budget-strapped entrepreneurs and startups, because you can’t afford a whole lot of trial and error.

Learning to code will enable you to better understand what your people are doing, with the added benefit of understanding the true nature of what goes on in your business. After all, if you don’t know what’s involved in writing an app, for example, how can you understand the costs involved? How can you really know whether the software you’re using is high quality, or just looks slick on the surface?

Knowing code can also help you break down barriers within your organization. If an employee spoke German, you’d likely learn a little of the language to assist in communication. Your company’s programmers are like that: they have their own language. By learning code, you’ll be able to communicate better and understand what the heck they’re talking about when things get glitchy. Oh, and they will get glitchy!

You’re Convinced. Now What?

There are all sorts of options once you’re ready to start coding, and you can do it pretty much wherever and whenever you want. Sure, people go to college to study computer science, but coding has been completely democratized in the past decade. It is quickly becoming a life skill that everyone will require, and one that will virtually future-proof your skill set. You’re not likely to get put out of work by a machine if you’re the one who tells that machine what to do.

The first step to your new future as a code-savvy entrepreneur will be to choose which coding language you want to learn first. There are a ton of places you can learn to code free of charge, usually online and with a variety of teaching styles, mediums and languages available. There are also many paid options for learning to code, with courses ranging from a few hours to several months, and at all price points.

In the best case, learning to code gives you skills that make you more employable and/or a more effective manager of your business. At worst, you’ll be able to help the kids with their homework. Take control of your future and learn to code!

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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