Why SME owners should learn to code

The importance of code is undeniable — it powers the digital world we live in today.

It enables businesses to innovate and evolve at speed, which gives businesses a competitive advantage in a busy market.

As an SME owner, you may ask why you should learn how to code and if it’s a worthwhile investment. It might seem easier to get someone else to do it, especially when you have other business priorities. However, the skill set that coding provides extends across many facets of a small business and could power your business growth in the near future.

It helps you recruit and train tech staff

Recruiting and retaining tech talent is a real challenge as we’re experiencing a massive IT skills gap in Australia. Yet, SMEs are increasingly reliant on new technologies, including coding languages, to run their business, create new services, and drive business value.

Having that extra knowledge on coding can help you with interviewing and hiring technically-skilled employees, as you can speak the technical language.

Additionally, being able to train those who may not have a tech background, but have a keen interest in tech and an ability to learn quickly, will help you fill that tech skills gap without having to rely on expensive and scarce candidates.

It allows you to collaborate better with tech teams

In a world where tech is at the heart of everything, not being able to understand technical language can be a bottleneck when interacting with internal or third-party tech experts. Learning coding fundamentals and having a good understanding of the software and app development lifecycles can prevent misunderstandings when discussing tasks and goals. Understanding the technical issues can help you coherently provide assistance and direction, to ensure tech developments are at the service of the broader business objectives.

If you are working with developers, encouraging them to get involved in the open source community will help them upskill by learning from experienced developers. From there,

collaborating with each other will become second nature and key to ensuring an effective and more productive way of working. The creation of a collaborative work culture will in turn drive greater and faster innovation within your business.

It improves problem-solving skills

Learning how to code is similar to learning another spoken language, and to that extent, it is an amazing vehicle to encourage cognitive and problem solving functions. As a trilingual speaker, learning code has greatly helped me improve my ability to switch from one language to the other, but also approach problems from a new perspective.

How do you get started?

There has never been a better time to learn code, with more free and online resources specially designed for beginners, than ever before.

Today, fantastic online resources and courses exist that can help you kick start your coding journey: CodeCademy, freeCodeCamp, Pluralsight and Udemy are some of the many existing websites that can help business owners understand the basics and fundamentals of coding. GitHub’s Learning Lab also offers interactive courses that will teach you various skills and coding languages, such as HTML, as well as how to collaborate on code.

New or novice coders are also encouraged to join the biggest developer and open source community on GitHub, that currently has more than 31 million developers. The open source community is a great place to learn from more experienced developers.

Learning how to code and having that additional skill set in your arsenal will set you ahead of the curve in the current competitive business environment. It will be one of the best decisions you make this year.

Faten Healy, Solutions Engineer, GitHub ANZ

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