7 things you can do now that you've learned to code

March 25, 2017

Josh Li

Digital Marketer at Institute of Code

Learning web development can expand your horizons in much more ways than you might expect.

Yes, it’s true, you might now be able to build beautiful websites, and it’s true you’ll be joining an industry always thirsty for new talent. And while yes, it’s also true there will be over one million unfilled IT positions in America in the next two years, with demand for front-end engineers coming within the top ten jobs, learning web development can provide so much more than just a well-paying and rewarding career.

In effect, learning to code can help ensure that your have greater independence and control over the evolution of your company or projects. 

1. Improved Communication with Developers


With the growth of technology rapidly outpacing any other industry, having to communicate and understand other developers becomes inevitable.
Without digital literacy and a comprehension of what coding is and how programming languages work, it’s challenging to try to work with or manage technical staff. One developer team’s workflow varies significantly from another’s, often leading to a gulf of miscommunication when collaborating on projects. Being able to better understand developers can thus lead to better communication and efficiency. 

2. Understanding and Adapting to the Digital World Better


There are not many jobs out there that digital technology has not touched. Industries such as digital marketing, graphics design, and even traditional agencies such as accounting and law are rapidly facing digitization, automation and disruption. In fact, disruption is moving so fast it’s predicted the average lifespan of an S&P500 company will halve, to just 14 years by 2026, compared to the 33 years in 1965.
Technology has permeated so deeply into every workspace that understanding the mechanics of how everything around you works will help you work more efficiently.

3. Talent Evaluation


For any startup or company that leverages technology, your staff is one of the driving factors of success. If you can’t differentiate the difference between good and mediocre technical talent, you and your company could be at risk of costly errors.

Hiring for technical roles within companies traditionally has often just been up to the HR department, who might rely on a disinterested, most likely overworked IT staff member to evaluate a candidate’s competency. It hasn’t been a model that’s always worked. HR departments often use outdated vetting processes and merely asking a few technical questions is not enough to fully assess someone’s capabilities. However, if you understand code, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in a talented developer or chief technology officer, a web developer or a jack-of-all-trades. Hiring right is often a make-it-or-break-it factor.

 

4. Facilitate project management

If you are managing the development of a tech product you need to be able to understand how to create a realistic development timeline.
Through a solid understanding of HTML, CSS, and the development workflow, you will better understand what impact each element might have on the project’s timeframe.  On another note, if you understand coding, you can foster better communication, empathy, and efficiency with your development team, which will in turn foster mutual respect and higher morale.

5. Build critical thinking skills and attention to detail

Because there are a variety of methods to approaching a coding project, you must be able to quickly evaluate each solution to a number of factors (such as build time, scalability, maintainability and stability).
Aside from the macro level problem-solving, you must simultaneously be aware of  details on a micro level. In an environment where a misplaced full stop can break an entire website, you’ll need to develop the patience and attention to detail necessary to carry out repeated processes without missing a thing.

6. Take control of your online presence


Even if you continue to outsource development or have a dedicated team of developers, you might still be left waiting for a minor change to be made. Understanding how to code means that you aren’t reliant on anyone else when you need to make small changes to your site. It also means that you can communicate clear instructions to ensure things are done correctly, quickly, and efficiently.
You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference it makes to say to your developer ‘Can you adjust the grid layout for mobile devices to a narrower breakpoint and decrease all padding in a 676px media query?’ as opposed to ‘it doesn’t look good on mobile everything is all squished, can you fix it?’. When you speak the same language, you can provide actionable instructions with reliable results.

7. Quickly Build Digital Products


In the age of startups, understanding how to create a simple landing page for a business idea goes a long way towards creating a live prototype for a scalable product. Many successful startups began life as a simple landing page detailing what the product could potentially achieve. 

Having the ability to build digital products, websites, email campaigns, and manage 3rd party CMS, webhooks, tracking pixels, and more opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Furthermore, by building things yourself, you’ll be able to iterate faster, which means more learnings and a better shot at success!

Learning front-end engineering goes much further beyond just learning code. It opens up opportunities for you and your company, giving you more control, independence and ability to move with speed, even if you don’t become a developer.


Written by: Josh Li

Digital Marketer at Institute of Code