As a founder . Do your really need to know how to code?

As a founder of SAAS or other tech startup, would you prefer to get basic knowledge of programming ? even if you going to hire developers . To me it's very time consuming and have little benefit since i wont be able to match years of experience that developer would bring on the table .

P.S: I have read some post about how developer take advantage of non tech founders and deceive them by exaggerating requirements and turnaround time. And you may end up becoming a prisoner without having your own say.


  1. 5

    I think that an introductory CS course is a must for tech company leaders. It's not about deception from your employees, CS is an art of problem solving. Don't just learn coding (loops won't help your company), learn how to make a computer solve problems for you, faster than any human. When you understand CS concepts, it's a new worldview which helped set up the tech industry.

  2. 3

    The same thing can be said for marketing folks or other professions.

    I would say stay focused on where your strength is and find a reliable partner. I work for a guy part time who runs a successful WordPress plugin business and he is not a developer.

    With trial and error, you will eventually learn how to identify good developers without being one.

    Sometimes, I wish I were a marketer. Being a developer I have this bad habit of jumping into building without validating first.

  3. 2

    I think it depends on what is valuable to you right now.

    I can see as a founder who is working on a SaaS who is looking to hire developers to work on their product it would be beneficial. One of the things you have to weigh when outsourcing your dev work is how much is it going to cost and with the budget I have, how much can I get? If you're hiring a contractor to do some dev work they might quote you and estimate a certain amount. Having some basic coding knowledge you might be able to get a sense of whether it is realistic or not. Obviously you could ask the crowd to help validate even if you don't have technical experience. I think you've used the correct IH hashtag for that already :)

    Again if you're in the early stages of your SaaS, and you aren't working with a huge budget, one of the things that you might have is an abundance of time. Then when you have the itch you can pour time into your product by building it.

    I will say though, it could also be a double edged sword. Having constraints is a good thing. It forces you to get creative. There is a movement for no-code business builders and I think that's awesome. I think knowing how to code definitely makes me biased towards overcomplicated solutions. When stringing together existing solutions might get you to a solution faster and cheaper.

  4. 2

    The advantage I see you can get if you a minimal coding knowllage is that you can communicate your ideas better to developers. You can meassure how hard a task is going to be, or if they are even possible to do.

  5. 2

    I'm in total agreement with you on it being little benefit. The way I see it, I can spend a whole lot of time to be the absolute worst coder on the team, or I can put my time toward the areas I know well and they would struggle with.
    Regarding being taken advantage of, it probably does happen where devs exaggerate the reqs, but just as often, non technical people could be underestimating. I'm always way off on which tasks are 'simple' and which are complex.
    If you can't or don't want to get a technical cofounder, just talk through those questions with someone you trust. In my case my husband is an engineer and I always get his take on what resources we would need to complete X. Helps me set and communicate my expectations a lot more accurately.

  6. 1

    Not nessasarily but I would reccomend knwoning some. Take 3 months to learn to code in your free time. You will learn alot about problem solving and general coding.

  7. 1

    Marc Benioff doesn't code. You don't have to.

  8. 1

    I don't think you need to know how to code. It might help you to design things in an easy way tho. I believe this is why you need to find colleagues you can get along with. Find the missing pieces and fill them with people who can solve. Don't try to do everything by yourself. This will take time and probably it won't look professional.

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