Suraj Kapoor

Director of Product @WayUp, formerly @Lerer Hippeau. Technologist, Optimistic Contrarian.

Learning to Code? Why?

So, you're learning to code? That's great! Why?

Option A:
I think coding is super cool and I want to be able to build stuff!

Option B:
I had this awesome idea for a billion dollar product. Now, I just need to build it...

There is no right answer here, but I think there is a big difference in attitude about how you approach learning. The amazing Christina Cacioppi tweeted this recently:

Super insightful. Everyone wants to build their billion dollar app (yay!), but no one wants to learn how to (boo!). Maybe I'm over simplifying this a tad, but I feel like many past conversations I've had with aspiring entrepreneurs is consistent with this. I include my past self in this category.

Let's say you want to learn to code to build your billion dollar idea (yay!) and, let's say you run the course to building your prototype (yay!), which you launch (yay!), and now let's say the traction or feedback you get doesn't meet your expectations, which inevtiably will happen (boo!)... now what? Did you just waste 6 months of your life learning to code?

If you want to learn to code, you should almost forget about your billion dollar idea, or rather take it out of the immediate equation. Learn to code because it's fun and amazing to be able to build anything you want to, not because there are dollars attached to it.

Treat learning to code like an investment in your future and learn to love it. If the first thing you start building is your app, understand that it will barely work. The first thing you build is usually crap. I recommend working on something else first, like a simple scraper tool or a game.

Approach learning with a naturally inquisitive frame of mind. You are exploring something that's going to feel completely alien but, simultaneously, incredibly powerful. If you learn to love it, and you get to the point where you can build your prototype, then rebuilding it after some initial user feedback wont' be nearly as painful as trying to hit that billion dollar hole-in-one.