To code or not to code

3 reasons why learning to code is a skill graduates can live without

Young professionals are often told that learning to code will help them stand out from other job candidates. Game developer, designer, and York alumnus  Zamilur Rashid, explains why he believes that this isn’t the case.

I have been involved in the tech community in Dhaka for past few years. Every now and then, especially during a Hackathon, I hear managers from non-technical areas say ‘This time I am definitely going to learn how to code’. It can be tempting to enter the ‘cool’ world of coders, however from my experience, trying to learn ‘how to code’ is not a productive use of your time unless it has major value in your job, or you enjoy programming as a hobby.

Image Credit: Oliver Thomas – Klein
  1. Learning to code will not give you a better grip over your developers

I am an economics graduate and used to work in the development sector. Today, I run an IT start-up that I founded. I manage a team of 12+ technical people and mentor many young professionals. At times you may feel that you are unable to communicate with your developers and that learning to code will improve this.

If you are having a hard time communicating with your developers, chances are you have bad developers. With a talented team of developers, communications shouldn’t be an issue. Effective communication skills are cross-sectorial and take practice, patience, and experience to develop. Better to spend time improving your communication methods that on learning to code; learning the basic syntax of any programming language is never going to put you on the same level as a professional programmer.

2. You can’t add ‘coding’ to your CV until you have years of experience 

If you are learning to code simply to add a new, attractive ‘skill’ to your CV, think again. I have personally supervised our office construction and extension. I have acquired a basic working knowledge of interior design and people tell me our new office looks nice. However, that doesn’t mean I can add ‘interior designing’ to my CV and expect people to pay me for that.

Being a good programmer requires years of experience and study.

3. Learning to code will not allow you to fix your own systems

Playing around with your website – the face of your business – or your business software, is risky without years of experience and expertise. Leave the things that need expertise to the experts. Look online, do some research about your needs and how companies in local and international markets have solved potential problems. Sit down with a few good companies with a solid track record in your specific sector. Ask them questions on how would they solve your problem.

Prepare system requirement documents and award a contract to a suitable company. Remember being cheap and cost effective are not the same thing: you will get what you pay for.

Image Credit: Alex Knight
To code: not to code

If you really want to make a mark in the IT sector, there’s a range of different developing methods:

These will help you to communicate better with developers resulting in a better system for your business – rather than amateurish coding.