5 Reasons C-Suite Executives Should Learn to Code
The teaching of computer science and coding in schools has been the subject of hundreds of articles and trending news topics. But what is rarely talked about is the fact that students and young people starting out in their careers aren't the only ones who would benefit from the technical and problem-solving skills abundant in learning coding languages.
C-suite executives, who are the key decision-makers in a company, should as well. Especially during these uncertain economic times given the global pandemic.
Consider the role of a C-level executive in nearly every major company: part strategist, part visionary, part savant, and the final arbiters of the company's direction, operations, resources, and financial health. In an age when even the most non-technical roles in a company can be made more efficient and productive with a basic understanding of computer science, having a senior executive versed in the skills and benefits evident in learning to code is an essential component of success for any company.
Here are a few reasons why learning to code will make you a better C-level executive.
- NEW SKILLS CREATE NEW IDEAS
C-suite executives are meant to drive a company’s vision in their respective departments which means more than just reacting to trends, but setting them. A chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief information officer (CIO), chief marketing officer (CMO), or any other top executive who learns to code will have whole new avenues of thinking opened up for them simply by learning this new skill. Those avenues could lead to the next great product, service, or market insight that would never have been realized if they were simply calling plays from the same old playbook.
- ASK BETTER QUESTIONS
The role of an executive leader is often to weed out the bad ideas and focus on the good ones. But a C-suite leader who doesn't understand and know the right questions to ask of their technical teams is one that will not be able to put their considerable problem-solving skills to best use. Learning to code arms C-level leaders with the knowledge they need to ask the right questions.
- CAPITALIZE ON THE SKILLS OF A NEW GENERATION
With more and more students coming out of school with coding skills under their belts, smart executive leaders will take advantage of the fresh thinking and technical prowess of the next generation of leaders. And the best way to get the most out of these tech-enabled employees is to meet them on their own turf with a level of technical understanding that comes from learning coding languages.
- KEEPING UP WITH THE TRENDS YOUR TEAM IS WORKING WITH
Leaders aren't expected to have all the answers, but they are expected to know a good idea when they hear one. In an ever-increasing technical job market, understanding how those on your team who write the code that drives your products can be an essential component of knowing that great idea when they propose it. A c-level executive who doesn't grasp this is one that may miss an opportunity to create something great.
- TALKING THE TALK AND MEANING IT
There are few things more frustrating than a great idea that doesn't live up to its true potential because the dreamers and the creators don't understand each other. A visionary executive-level professional that cannot clearly explain their concept to their development teams in a language they understand, is a person relegating themselves and their teams to round after round of iterative hell with no guarantee that the original vision will ever be realized. Understanding the languages your dev teams use to describe projects, and the capabilities and drawbacks of certain technologies will make for a better product and a better process.
There are many reasons for members of a company’s senior leadership to learn to code, not the least of which is leading by example, understanding the workings of your company at an intimate level, and showing respect for the hard-working employees who bring your vision to life. It may also mean the difference between capitalizing on the next great idea or being left behind.
About the Author
Zach Sims is the CEO and Co-Founder of Codecademy, a leading global provider of online education dedicated to building skills and employability in the 21st century. Codecademy has served over 45 million people since its founding in 2011, helping individuals in 180+ countries access skills at their fingertips.