We keep on hearing about how coding is the future and how anybody who can’t code will essentially be illiterate as far as the economy is concerned. If you want to start your own tech company and you can’t code, then you can just about forget it and apply for a job at McDonald’s, flipping hamburgers instead.
But is there any truth to any of this? Not if the story of Charles Best is anything to go by.
Best’s story started in the Bronx. He was a teacher there for many years, but over time he began noticing a worrying trend: he was constantly being called upon to buy his students the material they needed out of his own pocket. What was so worrying about this was that people were giving the school he worked at money in good faith that they would provide children with the equipment that they needed to learn.
Transparency, as they say, is the best disinfectant, and so Best began drawing up plans for a website that could track where every penny of donor money to the school was spent. Within a couple of weeks, he’d saved up the money he needed to get the site built, as well as handwritten all the text that would appear on the site. He then got a developer to make the site, providing facilities that would allow donors to see exactly where they were spending their money.
After 14 years, around 60 percent of all teachers in the country were using it. Best says that this happened because donors are more likely to respond and give money when they can see exactly what they are getting out of it. If giving money allows a teacher to take a class on a field trip, then donors are getting something in return for their hard earned cash.
What Best’s experience shows is that coding skills are no substitute for good ideas. There are thousands of people who can code but don’t have an original thought in their brains with which to help other people in meaningful ways.
There Are Lots Of Resources Available To Entrepreneurs
In today’s economy, it’s much easier to build a company than ever before. This is because you don’t usually have to hire people to do many of the necessary ancillary services traditionally required by the business. Instead, there’s usually somebody out there already offering things like programming skills and IT infrastructure. Usually, all an entrepreneur’s needs to do is buy Dell laptops and connect them to the cloud, using the internet to get the services they need.
According to Kraig Swensrud, the founder of the online advertising platform Keiden, entrepreneurs have got it easier than it was a decade ago. They now have so many tools at their disposal to do a great job he says.
Swensrud says that for his new company, an online survey company, he was able to get things like online customer support up and running within a few days. Despite the fact that he holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering, not programming, he says that he was able to build up his enterprise without any real technical skills. Most of the software that he used just did everything for him, like connecting his bank account to his finance app.
Startups Can Have Big Ideas
Another big shot, Lud Ulrich, the startup relations director at Salesforce, says that building tech solutions are no longer something that is the preserve of the tech giants. Over the last few years, he says that companies have been developing tools that allow novices with no coding experience to build their own apps from scratch for their businesses and their customers.
There’s a perception that building apps is something for the big guys, Ulrich says. But now that there are platforms that allow users to build their own programs, it’s all changing.
Salesforce isn’t the only company offering startups help getting their apps going and providing technical knowledge. Windows App Studio and Project Spark are all vying to get into the entrepreneurial market by enabling entrepreneurs to code with minimal learning required.
What this is essentially doing is making it possible for the people who have the best ideas to be the most successful. In the past, only geeks like Steve Jobs could make big waves in the tech world because they had the expertise to do so. But now, thanks to these new coding platforms, anybody can put their ideas into practice. This means we will hopefully see more revolutionary ideas from startups in the future.