How Many of You Wish That You Learned How To Code?

Programming jobs are far from solely having geniuses occupy those roles (much like banking). Yet, both have very high barriers to entry when you look at SWE at FAANG or MF PE. Not going to argue about which is harder to climb in, since that's a pointless discussion. 

What I am curious about is How many of you wished that you had learned to code? 

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Comments (47)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 29, 2021 - 10:40pm

I wish I learned to code for a completely different reason. I'm a pretty entrepreneurial guy and I'm always having random ideas and thoughts for tech-based startups. Most are junk, but I'm 100% sure that some of them would click if I implemented them. I can't build the product out myself so I always have to ask a CS friend to help me out. I'm learning python, r, and others for my own economic research initiatives, but I'm not versatile enough to build a tech startup by myself.

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Mar 29, 2021 - 10:46pm

My background is eCommerce and I've run a content site that hit decent size too so YMMV.

When I started out in 2012/2013...definitely. I remember managing physical servers (off-site but not cloud) and trying to figure out stupid ways of decreasing load like hosting our images on Flickr instead of our site or only using SSL on checkout pages so we would be PCI compliant, etc...  Again, not even that long ago, I'm not that old. 

IMO low and no-code tools are making it increasingly pointless unless you want to build very specific things. Devs are increasingly commoditized and less expensive. Took me roughly 7x - 12x in spend and 2x the time to deploy the same functionality back then.

With low-code tools and platforms like ReTool someone like me can quickly build/deploy internal tools that we would have required dev for a few years ago. A 3-month project is now something I can do in a weekend.

Additionally there are so many platforms out there like Twilio, Shopify, etc. that make booting up and scaling much easier/cheaper and remove the need for a huge engineering team to launch/reach scale. I bring up scale b/c the only time having specific technical skills is useful is when you are unable to pay for good talent. Have dealt with lots of DTC brands pushing $50M - $100M running on Shopify with a dev team of 2 - 4 people and their work is primarily marketing related. 10 years ago that would have been 20 people.

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Mar 30, 2021 - 11:02am

This is a super unique experience that I'd like to learn more about. Would you be willing to share?

Something like how you started out or what your thought process is in starting new DTC brands? Do you buy a small version and scale, or start from scratch? Just a fascinating area I'd love to learn more on. 

Just had my trade dispute rejected by Schwab for a loss of 35k. This single issue alone should be a gigantic red flag to anyone who trades on their platform.

If they have a system error, and you do not video record your trading (they actually said this), they will not honour their fuck up. Switching everything away from them. Fuck this company.

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  • Investment Analyst in PE - Growth
Mar 29, 2021 - 10:47pm

These type of posts are starting to get old, but I'll bite. You are right in regards to the barriers to entry and climbing up the ladder. It's not easy to make a lot of money anywhere. There's no golden path. I majored in CS before going the finance route and doing co-investments then moving to GE. Being able to program and work on my own personal projects in my free time is definitely worthwhile when I have time and it's nice to not have to pay someone else to build a prototype for me if I have any idea. It's also useful for automating simple tasks, data scraping, and data analysis. But, at the same time, I've done software engineering internships and both my parents work as senior engineers at FAANGS. I can't imagine doing software engineering full time, it just wasn't for me. Software testing, code reviews, etc. just gets old after a while and nothing more depressing than working on pointless work projects and code sprints when all I want to do is spend more time on my own side projects. So, I'm glad I decided to major in CS and am skilled in multiple different languages and can spin up web crawlers, video chat apps, etc. It's nice to be able to take my mind off of investing/finance topics every now and then and explore my nerdier tech side.

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Mar 29, 2021 - 10:53pm

I don't like coding so, no I don't want to code.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Mar 29, 2021 - 11:36pm

I know how to code. Not well. Not optimized.

If you want to learn. I would recommend looking at this book. The projects are practically useful for most people and you do them while learning to code. I used this for a little bit. It goes over web scraping and autotomizing your mindless activities. The author (and many other leaders in their respective field) has a website where he offers all his content for free.

If you want to advance further you should pick up one of those big reference texts and work through it.  If you are reasonably smart you can learn to build decent programs that would make you employable in about 6 months to a year. 

Mar 30, 2021 - 11:26am

Using python you can take an excel file and convert it into a .CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. This file is now mutable (able to be changed). You can then do anything you want with it in python. You can change that .CSV file to a "Pandas dataframe" and you can look through it using SQL commands. You can then convert this .CSV back into a excel file.  The book should show you how to do this I believe. 

Sounds complicated but is not. Check chapter 13 &16

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:03pm

Python is free and opensource. So any office can use it and develop software without having to deal with IP problems.

One of the main pros to python is its speed and use for data visualization. I can work with a dataframe with 60 million cells and still be able have my program function in reasonable time.  

The con as you mentioned to using Python is that its user interface is not easy to use for people who are not familiar with programming. 

Here is a decent article I found.…

Mar 30, 2021 - 5:37pm

The thing is many companies won't let you just download any software, even if it's free (backwards, I know). I was just saying that in order to speed up work, think 80/20, excel VBA seems easier for most people. Python would be a little more work, not saying anything negative here, just most people value their time off. But I think python would open more doors down the road. Also, learning more MS skills could open up more doors as well... just more enterprise focused (it doesn't hurt being the guy in the office that knows all the MS tips and tricks, especially advanced excel/VBA skills which this industry leans heavily on).

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Growth
Mar 30, 2021 - 1:00am

Although I wouldn't go as far as to say "cesspool" lol, I'd have to second this and say the culture at a lot of these tech companies, especially big tech, can be suffocating to the point of unbearable. And there is a built up perception with new grads and even people on this forum that just because you're a software engineer you'll be joining a team the likes of Google X, depending on where you go to work. I do enjoy grinding my own side projects but as someone previously mentioned the barrier to building new tech and prototypes/mvps is significantly decreasing with new technologies allowing you to spin up websites and applications with little to no coding knowledge. If you have the time, it's a useful skill, but it is no longer impossible to build and pitch a base product without a CS/programming background.

Mar 30, 2021 - 11:12am

Idk man, I think cesspool is pretty accurate. If I see another calendar invite for a book club about how to be an ally to black men in the workforce, helping asians against discrimination, being a mentor to females, etc. I'm going to fucking snap.

Just had my trade dispute rejected by Schwab for a loss of 35k. This single issue alone should be a gigantic red flag to anyone who trades on their platform.

If they have a system error, and you do not video record your trading (they actually said this), they will not honour their fuck up. Switching everything away from them. Fuck this company.

Mar 30, 2021 - 12:12am

It's not that hard to learn how to code. A lot of people invest 10,000 hours into learning Mandarin Chinese in their spare time, and have barely scratched the surface. Someone who invests, say, 200 hours into learning coding, is proficient, and can code independently in whichever language that they learned, and will be able to pick up new languages easily. 

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:47am

I would rather be a freelance opinion columnist, assuming the Huffington Post won't take me back.

I’m a fun guy. Obviously I love the game of basketball. I mean there’s more questions you have to ask me in order for me to tell you about myself. I'm not just gonna give you a whole spill... I mean, I don't even know where you're sitting at

Mar 30, 2021 - 4:51am

Well I did learn to code. I studied electrical engineering before switching to finance and did courses on C and python. I use VBA and python in my day job. In a previous role I used a lot of SQL and Tableau.

But I really don't like it. Coding is so finicky and particular. I find it easy to "think logically" and know how something can be executed. But actually writing the code is a copy paste quest through stackoverflow and it is frustrating. That's why I am glad coding is becoming commoditised, I hope it becomes so standard that I don't actually need to write code and I can say to a junior "hey can you write this script for me I need abcd".

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:25pm

FAANG and similar $5 Billion+ Market caps firms typically have competitive pay and a 40 hour work week pending on your role at the firm.

However the AA in FAANG are typically 60+ hour weeks.  

Bankers get payed more in the long term especially if they transition to the buyside. FAANG salaries for SWE rarely is above 300k. However if you are some hotshot PHD who can write amazing ML/AI programs you can demand $1 million at nearly any tech firm (maybe 25 of these people exist).  They probably also have offers from DE Shaw and RenTech as this is a pretty high demand skill with low supply. 

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Mar 30, 2021 - 3:59pm

Teaching myself now and looking to exit ASAP. However, I will be targeting more "Data Analyst" roles rather than "SWE". Currently studying SQL, Tableau, and Python (in that order). 

Mar 31, 2021 - 5:58am

I tried over a decade ago and if I had liked it, I'd have been well in time to take advantage of the boom. Not my thing. I hated it with passion. It's also something you must really, really like because you'd be doing it 10/15 hours a day. I tend to have multiple areas of interests and can't be bothered to focus too long on a single thing. I get bored. 

If it's already boring and repetitive, even worse. I truly admire those who like it, enjoy it and can do it for so many hours a day. I just can't. 

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Mar 31, 2021 - 7:27am

I just came to say that I did learn to code... and so can you! A lot of people have the mistaken impression for some reason that coding is very difficult or that you have to go to school to learn it. You don't. Just like you can break into finance even if you didn't do finance in undergrad (e.g. know plenty of econ/engineering/arts/science folks in it), same for coding. There are lots of YouTube tutorials and free and paid resources to learn Python/JavaScript/whatever you want.

It is definitely a useful skillset to have, so yeah, highly recommended to start learning now if you regret not learning before! Best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, second best time is now and all.

Edit: Read some posts in this thread and I would say that the biggest barrier to people not learning to code is actually... them not liking it. So just keep that in mind. Far be it from me to force you to do something you don't like. But if you like it like me, it's a great deal of fun and also very useful :)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 20, 2021 - 8:18pm

you say "wish you learned to code" as if its something that could only be taught in your youth. theres literally thousands of great resources online to learn if you dedicate and hour or so each day

  • Research Associate in Research - Other
Apr 20, 2021 - 8:43pm

Reading all these clueless people talking about coding is like watching a monkey trying to use a computer.

Came here to gloat. I'm ready for the MS. 

Apr 23, 2021 - 7:52pm

It needs to be noted how much harder and especially more time consuming CS/Stat/Math classes are compared to other disciplines. I feel like what this question is really asking is "do I wish I had 20-30 hours of less free time/sleep per week in college to know how to code?" To me, the trade off is not worth it. Comp in SWE at FAANG is still less than IB at the Associate level and above, forget about the buyside (this was covered on another thread recently). If I ever want to do a startup, there are plenty of technical people who I'd be happy to bring it at 1%, 2%, 3%, 5% equity as co-founders/early-stage joiners. Most of being a founder very quickly becomes selling to investors, customers, and especially managing a team. 

Sep 14, 2021 - 3:24am

I'm not sure how easy it is to bring a really competent and compatible co-founder on-board that soon.

I'd still recommend learning how to code and get good at it. You don't need to be the Chief Technology Officer though. 

No-code tools: they are built on top of thousands if not millions of lines of code..."no code" needs a lot of code.

Apparently not everything in this world is technology related, and it's totally feasible for you to build a successful company without a single line of code. 

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