Coding is for computer geeks in windowless rooms, right? Think again! Digital education organisations such as General Assembly and Coder Factory offer a variety of courses that bridge the digital gap for professionals and small business owners.
These days, coding is a valuable skill for a variety of jobs and businesses, but half the battle is getting people over their fear of code, says Pete Argent, founder of Coder Factory.
“People are definitely intimidated by coding – they think its something only geeks do,” he says. “We are trying to dispel that myth; you don’t need to be a math wiz or a scientist. Coding is more accessible than ever – there are many tools that can actually do a lot of the work for you.”
Here are four ways that a coding course could help you in your business:
1. Understand your online business better
Many of Australia’s leading online retail entrepreneurs frequently say that they run technology companies, rather than retail businesses. With data, user experience (UX) and analytics being at the heart of any online business, understanding how web applications are built and how they actually work is a major benefit for e-commerce business owners.
Riley Batchelor, General Assembly’s Senior Regional Director Asia Pacific, explains it this way: “I always say to people: ‘You wouldn’t start a car mechanic shop if you couldn’t change a tyre.’ If you have an e-commerce business, it’s a digital business and you need to understand what is going on under the hood of your business.”
2. Improve communication with your web developer
Understanding code will immediately allow you to discuss website plans and problems with your web developer more effectively.
“Knowing how to code means you can be more confident with your web designer and you can think more about innovation for your customers or improving your processes to be more efficient,” says Argent.
3. Upskill and become more employable
Every industry is being impacted by the digital revolution, and people with digital skills are more in demand than ever.
“Employers need people to build websites, and lots of big companies are bringing skills in house, because it is becoming such an important part of their business,” notes Batchelor. “There is just a huge need for people with web development skills.”
Argent echoes this, with an ominous warning: “We are at the beginning of a technological boom – there are so many things that are going to change, and the fact is you might be left doing the jobs that the robots don’t want to do.”
4. Save money
Investing in a coding course costs money, but, in the long run, you could end up making big savings. “There is the obvious cost benefit of being able to do your own coding,” says Batchelor. “Instead of paying a web developer, you could do a course and then do your website yourself.”
What’s on offer?
Coder Factory and General Assembly each offer a range of training options to suit all levels, abilities and interests.
General Assembly bridges the digital skills gap in areas like web development, coding, UX, product management, digital marketing and data and analytics. Its courses range from lunchtime events and weekend workshops to a 10-week part-time Front-end Web Development course that costs $3,000 and a full-time 12-week Web Development Immersive course for $11,500 that focuses on the web development framework Ruby on Rails.
“We have something for everyone who is keen to learn more about coding,” says Batchelor, adding that the one-hour lunchtime classes are free and offer introductory-level information about coding that is especially useful for those from a business or corporate background.
Coder Factory also offers a variety of courses that allow people to dip their toe into coding or build up more advanced skills. Its weekend workshops – Learn to Code or Web Design – are $395 and are ideal for people who are keen to get a taste of what coding involves.
“The workshop starts with students coming up with an idea and then they see how building apps can help solve the problem,” says Argent. “By the end of the workshop, participants can do some code and design – they get a better understanding of what it is about.”
Many participants of those workshops go on to complete the 12-week Web App Developer PTcourse, which costs $2,475.
Who are courses suited to?
Both Argent and Batchelor see a high proportion of entrepreneurial people in their respective workshops and courses.
“We are seeing people working in corporate jobs who are investigating their own e-commerce business; they are building up their skills,” says Batchelor. “We also have those people that have actively made the jump to their own start-up.”
So, banish your fear of the geeks and get coding now!