Why are you afraid of code? 1


<script type=”text/javascript”>
   alert(‘Why are you scared of me?’);
</script>

You do not have to look very far to find article after article that attempts to list out all of the essential job skills that everyone must have in order to succeed over the next decade.  Read through a few of them and the basics are covered, team work, passion, drive, an entrepreneurial spirit.  Read though a subset of the articles that are focused on the digital marketing industry and you will find such traits as analytical thinking, natural curiosity, embraces new ideas, and the ubiquitous big data.

What is missing? Programing or coding proficiency.

Why is that? Why are these technical skills not called out as key skills that everyone should have, not just those in the digital marketing industry.  Do you think that people and consumers will be using less computers in the future? No? Me neither.  Yet the teaching or the embracing of learning coding in schools, both K-12 and at the college level, and in post graduate professional development is largely shunned.

I believe that there is a large portion of the corporate world that views programmers and that skill set as something that is less desirable than the MBA’s of the world.  Every company I have worked directly for or consulted with has had a huge need for their current staff to be more technical.  Not once when discussing resource constraints has anyone ever said, “You know what would make this project more successful?  More people that are scared of the underside of technology”

I do not think that everyone needs to be able to compete head to head in a coding battle with Zuckerberg.  I do believe that people should have a solid understanding of the technologies that they are depending on every day in their job.   I wonder how many digital marketers have ever built a web site?  I mean really put a site together without just using templates or a wysiwyg editor.   How many have ever worked in the code to deploy the most basic of tags, and has a solid understanding of how web pages load, render, and execute code?  Based on the conversations I have had, the number is quite low.

The tools we work with are becoming more and more complex and the sales pitch is beating the “anyone can use this, no need for IT resources” drum.  Any improvements to make technology easier to work with is fantastic, but not at the expense of the general knowledge of the workforce.

With the availability of free education services such as codeacademy.com, there is no reason why everyone in the digital marketing industry should not strive for at least a basic understanding of javascript..and CSS selectors.


About Rudi Shumpert

Rudi is the Evangelist for Tag Management @ Adobe. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of my employer. To contact Rudi you can reach him at rudi (at) rudishumpert.com. You can also hear him on the Beyond Web Analytics podcast archives at www.beyondwebanalytics.com


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One thought on “Why are you afraid of code?

  • Reply
    Angie Bledsoe

    Love this post. I admit…I have been afraid of code, but understand how very important it is and aim to learn more and more. You are right about codeacademy…this helped me grow a ton in a short period. Things that I should have learned a very long time ago.

    On another note, my kids are in a brand new elementary school this year that is trying to break the mold with technology and collaborative, project-based learning. They are teaching code starting in Kindergarten with apps such as scratch jr. and tinker. I’m excited to see what these kids can come up with. (http://ees-lps-ca.schoolloop.com)

    Great post that hits home.