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Do You Need To Learn Programming to Start a Startup?

No technical experience required

Today, there is a wide range of resources available to entrepreneurs who have an idea for a high-tech company but do not have the programming skills to build it. While launching a startup without technical training has never been easy, entrepreneurs and the industry are still debating whether those skills are critical to entering the high-tech industry. Everywhere you look today, people talk about “software of the future”, “programming is like literacy” and “everyone should learn to program”. And while programming is a useful skill, there are higher ROI things you can do as a non-technical founder.


If you are looking to start a business, you should not start learning to code. You must start by learning product design. When exploring a startup idea, there are two main types of risk: technical risk and design risk.

You can think of discrimination as:

⦁ Technical risk: can it be assumed?
Design risk: if we take it, will anyone really need it?

How to reduce design risk?

The main way to do this is to talk to potential clients to get feedback on their ideas. Fortunately, there is a wide range of studies under this process, known as “product design” or “design thinking.”
Now, you might think that you really need to build something to get feedback on your idea, but by using prototyping software, like InVision, you can get high-fidelity prototyping feedback without any code. These prototyping tools are pretty robust and the learning curve is much shorter than learning web development from scratch. When you expose your product to potential customers, you know that people want it or that you need to go back to the drawing board and incorporate some of the feedback you received.
On the contrary, if people obviously want what you’re building, that’s great too. After talking to users and checking your product’s assumptions, you’ll be in the 99th percentile for people looking for technical caskets. If you have people who want to give you money, or better yet, before pre-ordering your product, that’s even better.
At this point, you can try to find a technical person who wants to be involved in an initial project or outside of work. Chances are, once you find someone, you can implement in a month what would take much longer to build. Since you’re not spending your time learning to code, you can continue to emulate the design, or you can start reaching out to other potential customers for income from the day you ship the product. At the same time, all of the above does not mean that you should not learn to code.

If you are looking to transition into a career in software development, for example, then by all means learn to code. Software developers are well paid, they usually have a good work-life balance, and they have to do engaging creative work, so if you’re looking for a new career, the software is pretty good.
If you are starting a business, you may want to learn a little about how basic technology works. Also, there are probably code-related things you can learn to help automate tasks in your daily life, like learning to do web scraping, combining more complex jobs, or manipulating data. Often the best place to start is by automating three tasks that you perform automatically. And if you are creating a startup, focus on the area where you are most at risk: design.

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