Learn to Code

Even though you may not have any formal software development education, learning how to code is a worthwhile pursuit. Personally, my formal education was focused on business, marketing and related topics. I have spent most of my career in product management and product marketing for technology firms. Initially, I learned the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and WordPress. But that was the extent of my “coding” experience.

Learning to code has great benefits, especially for software product managers. While you may never be an ace coder, it gives you a lot of insight and perspective from the developers point of view that you work with on a day to day basis. You get a much better feel for what can be achieved, the various tools that are available and potential trade-offs that software developers face.

In the past, when I ran a large development team, I decided that in order to better understand my group I needed to learn to code beyond the basics. I spent quite a bit of time diving into the new functionality of HTML5 and CSS3, and learning JavaScript, jQuery, Node.js and MongoDB. I enjoyed it so much, I have continued to code.

The learning curve at first can be steep, but if you keep working on it, it will come. Learning to code is much like learning a foreign language. You will first learn to understand other’s work and examples, and then you will be able to create your own.

The great thing is that there are some great online tools to help you learn to code. Codecademy is an excellent online school and some of it is free. You can learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby. It is very good. Once you progress to the next step, I suggest considering one or more of these online training providers:

Learning how to code has helped me a better software product manager. It has given me insights that I hadn’t realized before. Without question, I can talk with my developers and understand them better (especially the front end ones).

I have come to learn there are all kinds of exciting things happening in front end development. Not only new things in HTML5 and CSS3, but mobile is driving all kinds of new directions. There are many interesting trends in the JavaScript space. MVC models being supported with Angular.js, Ember.js, React.js and more. Google’s new Angular.js looks like it will revolutionize application development on the web forever. The boundaries between web apps and desktop apps is blurring.

Happy coding!


Combining PM & UX

Value of Design

Value of Wireframes

UX Design Tools

Importance of Personas

Outside In Thinking

Got Wireframes?

UX for Developers

Learn to Code

Full Stack Development

Node Overview

Single Page Apps

Power of Introverts

Products That Sell Themselves

Future of Content

Learning Startup

Willing to Pivot

Cultural Differences

Rarely Say Never