Do You Need a Tech Degree to Start a Tech Business?

When someone plans to start a career in technology, they will likely think of getting a tech degree first. In the past, you had to go to college before going after your tech dreams, but this isn’t necessarily true today. It depends on the kind of business you wish to establish. Just consider how Airbnb’s owners did not have any coding experience, and yet they developed an amazing application that tourists can use to book vacation rentals.

Just like Airbnb, there are many other great companies whose owners did not know computer programming. They succeeded because they had the right team working with them. However, this does not exclude you from your responsibilities in a tech company; involvement is still important in the process. Here are a couple of things you can do to bring your business idea into reality without a tech degree.

Learn coding basics

Laptop with coding on the screen

Communication is key in any company, and the only way you will conceive effective communication with programmers is by understanding their work. As a business owner, you don’t need a tech degree to collaborate with developers, but you do need to learn basic coding to effectively communicate with your programmer.

You can start by developing a simple program. There are free online templates you can use to practice. One of them is FreeWebTemplates, a website that will give you a sense of how software development works and what the basic terms are.

You can also take a short-term coding bootcamp to learn more. Bootcamps are generally more affordable than getting a four-year tech degree. Here are some of the best coding bootcamps.

Outsource or build the product in-house?

Two people working together on a computer

Outsourcing your workforce is a viable financial option; you will hire programmers for a specific project without having to pay in-house developer benefits.

However, having the services of an in-house developer gives you the ability to iterate ideas if necessary. You can work together to make changes to software or website projects as you wish. The major drawback of hiring an in-house employee is that you will have to pay more.

The best approach is hiring an outsourced developer to create a prototype for your project and then enlist an in-house worker for the rest of the project.

Recruit a great tech team

A person doing a job interview

Once you see positive outcomes from your project, it’s time to recruit. You do not have to be a CTO, but you need a diligent tech team. Hiring might be the most crucial aspect of your company’s development in the tech industry. That is why you need to find the most talented tech team. According to a DQYDJ report, there are more than four million developers in the United States, which makes hiring the right match difficult for companies.

If you want to hire talented developers and designers, you need to become a tech team’s heaven. To do this, you will need to provide them with all the tools they need to work efficiently. According to a Stack Overflow Developer Survey, another important motivating factor that programmers consider when deciding where to work is career development. If you offer career development opportunities and trust, you’ll be able to find good developers.

You should also test them with challenges they’ll face with your project. This gives you an idea of how efficient they will be for your business. Also, consider being flexible with the languages and tools they’ll be using to solve a specific problem. This way, they will come up with creative actions that could show you new ways to optimize your project.

Anything is possible

A person on top of a mountain above the clouds

Do not limit yourself from starting your dream business in the tech industry because you don’t have tech experience. There have been amazing ideas born from people who did not have a degree. These people learned the necessary skills to create a project. Your project could be the next innovative software for the future. Just make sure you educate yourself as much as you can through books, courses, and experience.

Have you started a business without a tech degree, or are you thinking about doing so? What challenges have you faced? Let us know in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.

Artur Meyster: Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.