Have you thought about learning to code & become your own technical founder? What has stopped you?

Hi there! I'm a self-taught dev + technical founder and have been debating ways to better support the "non-technical" founders in my network. (They're already technical, I honestly hate that framing!!!)

My coding journey began with a course called Code4Startup that broke everythinggg down for me. I had an MVP deployed three weeks later and have built that up to generate 100K+ ARR in revenue. I'm trying to figure out how I can support fellow female and non-binary founders in learning how to build products. It truly is simpler, faster, and more affordable than it seems.

Founders- have you considered learning to code out your own product? Or learning to code to better hire or manage engineers?

  • What have the barriers been?
  • What would your ideal course/workshop/support system look like?
  • What technologies are you interested in learning?

Hopeful for your feedback!

Congrats on your amazing success! To answer your questions:BarriersThe biggest barrier for me was a combination of time / opportunity cost and the fact that software development wasn't the largest barrier to product-market fit for my specific startup. From my understanding, most coding bootcamps are multi-month programs, and like any form of education, you get out of it what you put into it, so in order to really learn I'd likely be dedicating evenings and weekends in addition to time spent in the courses. After this bootcamp stage is complete, you come out still relatively entry level and perhaps unable to debug errors or build scalable systems. All of the time spent learning to code can't be spent on go-to-market strategy and having sales meetings. Like many founders, I'm a workaholic, so even if you had found me when I was in my prior job gearing up to quit, I would have already been working nights and weekends in that job with no time to take classes at night.Ideal CourseYou already mentioned being able to build an MVP after your course. For me personally, I spent a couple thousand dollars here and there (on offshore developers) in order to build various MVPs, and then I'd pay the developers to tweak the MVPs while I interacted with customers and saw what needed to change. It would have been useful for me to come into a bootcamp with my MVP already built and then learn to tweak my own code. I guess it could have been even more useful if a bootcamp had a relationship with the offshore developer who'd build the first MVP. If it was like, "Pay $3k for your MVP, and then pay us tuition afterwards to learn how to interact with your MVP's code and develop new features yourself." I would also want there to be guarantees that if I broke something and couldn't fix it myself, the bootcamp would step in and guarantee to have it debugged within 24 hours.TechnologiesI'd have this feed into the prior question about the ideal course. I'd want to come into the course, perhaps with high-fidelity mockups and clear (but no-code) requirements of what I wanted to build, and then included in the initial fee for the MVP, the bootcamp would advise on the best language, tech stack, smart ways to set up the production and staging environments, repositories, etc. I have no opinion about technologies besides the fact that I don't want a language that's already older or about to become obsolete. I think the people who go into bootcamps with preferred languages to learn are basing that off of job descriptions at startups they want to join — "non-technical" founders are more focused on the most efficient way to code and solve the business problem they are interested in.
aminayamusah's profile thumbnail
Wow, thank you so much, this is so helpful and detailed! I 100% hear you about the opportunity cost between sales and development. Especially when investing an hour into development at the early stages has a much less clear return on investment than putting that same energy into sales calls.I actually don't have a course yet, but am seriously thinking about creating one. The one I took was life-changing and only took 6 hours (i had to watch it 2x so really 12+). But I was building a pretty boilerplate LMS at the time, so maintaining afterwards was relatively simple.It's really interesting that you bring up boot camps. I hadn't considered that format because most of the ones I'm familiar with are almost a year long. But I agree that's brilliant! To have the certainty of a strong build + the ability to learn how to maintain it on your own would be amazing.
Ha, yeah, see I wouldn't even know what an "LMS" is. Maybe I'm not understanding your question — how much did you pay to attend the course you attended? I would have trouble imagining that I could suddenly manage my entire existing codebase just from watching a video series, but perhaps I'm underestimating myself.
emilypatterson's profile thumbnail
Hi! First, wow, congrats on your journey! that is so exciting! I am technical, but not a developer in my day job. I think probably the biggest barriers for writing my own code is the setup, which is always the fiddly part that I can't stand. It's also the amount of choices - thinking through what to use for front end/backend/database/all the other stuff. And those choices really mean something in the long run - like if you'll have to rewrite your app in 2 years because you didn't build it to be scalable or you went with a niche technology that nobody knows.I would love if there was some sort of jumpstart that walked you through specifics on getting everything setup and there was a recommendation on stacks that were curated (I have read allllll the indiehacker posts on this and no that is too much information for me :D). I also think in general that non-technical founders would benefit so much from leveraging APIs, so an easily consumable course with a practice set (like, take this API and use it to populate a field on your screen) would be super helpful.