Free online programming courses are a non-technical founders best friend

When I founded the original GoGrabLunch back in 2010 there were not many free online programming courses available. But I knew the importance of having at least a basic foundation in programming was important. 
 
Luckily, I had a great technical co-founder in Frank Podlaha who was able to handle all of our programming needs. But I still felt a bit misinformed when we would make decisions about the business. Especially when I felt there were technical improvements we needed to make. 
 
A good example was when I wanted to add the ability for our members to use their social media accounts to register for our service. This is also known as social sign-on. I felt this would make registering faster and make it easier for our members to post online about becoming a member.
 
Frank always took the time to educate me on why something I wanted couldn't be, or shouldn't be, done. So, with social sign-on, we elected to focus his programming energy in different places.
 
That decision is one I still regret to this day. It is not that Frank’s opinion was necessarily wrong. I regret that decision because I just didn’t understand the programming needs to do so enough to make a solid case for my argument.
 

Business founder or technical founder

 
I am not advocating that every startup founder needs to have a deep understanding of programming. In fact, in many startups where there are multiple founders, it is normal, and beneficial, to have a business-focused founder and a technical founder.
 
But, again, I do see the benefit of a founder having at least a solid understanding of programming and other technical aspects of running a business. 
 
I can also confidently say that my former partner, Frank, would agree. In fact, it was Frank that encouraged me to start out by learning how to host and design a simple website on WordPress. Years later, I know do all of my own work and some work for others. Thanks for the advice Frank!
 
That is why I wanted to share a great resource with you that offers free online programming courses.
 

Free online programming courses via Codecademy

 
Codecademy offers a variety of free online programming courses that include the chance to learn some basic, and intermediate, programming skills. 
 
I personally started out with the simpler programming languages like HTML and CSS. I have even run through each of those courses twice just to make sure I really understand the concepts. After that, I have moved on to learning some Java and Javascript.
 
The decision to start out with these free online programming courses is probably in the top five of new skills I have added to my professional resume. I don’t expect I will turn into a “full-stack” programmer anytime soon. But, even learning the basics of HMTL and CSS have paid off well for my own websites and that of some of my clients.
 
Your turn
 
What are some other free online programming courses you have taken? 
 
Be sure to share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other. 
 

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