Remember those all-night cramming sessions in college, when you would overcaffeinate, stay up for days, and muster all the focus you could to finish a paper or prepare for a test? Imagine a room full of computer programmers, developers, visionaries, and marketers doing the same thing for a day, a weekend, or even a full week. Instead of cramming, they are competing to create prototypes that innovate on a theme or improve upon an existing project. It’s called a hackathon, and it is has become a regular part of how technology companies do business. In fact, the power of the hackathon has extended beyond the tech industry into countless other sectors.
CC Image Courtesy of Nat Welch on Flickr
Is coding a job requirement for product managers? That’s a concrete question with a simple answer: No. It’s certainly possible for a product manager to capably bring a production from idea to market, guiding and managing engineers and designers along the process, and ensuring that the product is both loved and profitable, without writing a single line of code. When the question shifts to should product managers learn to code, the answer becomes a bit more subtle.
The advent of services like Squarespace has an increasing number of people asking whether learning code is still a worthwhile endeavor. They offer clean, well-designed templates with myriad customization options. They’ve received glowing feedback from even picky critics. Furthermore, Software as a Service (a.k.a. SaaS, software that is delivered remotely) like that of Squarespace offers some tantalizing perks; in addition to making sites a cinch to build, they provide hosting and support, and are constantly being retooled for greater refinement and accessibility—all for a low monthly fee.
So those debating their next Dev step are left with an interesting question: Why learn to code at all, when there’s Squarespace? The potential answers—like good code—pertain to the things that may not be readily apparent, but make all the difference in the world: what you need, what you love, and what will best serve you at the end of the day.
When starting your career as a Web Developer, it’s difficult to know your value in the marketplace. One of the biggest questions we get is ‘How much do Web Developers earn in Sydney?’
Three Great Tools
The following tools allow you to hack the market for yourself and get a good idea of where you can be situated in a role:
Metaphors are great ways to bridge the knowledge gap between technical and non-technical team members. But instead of bombarding non-technical folks with acronyms and jargon, it helps to first establish a baseline understanding of how different technologies work together. One way I like to do this is by comparing a website to a house.
1. The Frame: HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
A house has rooms, and each room contains furniture and electric appliances. Similarly, a webpage has sections (e.g. header, body, footer), and each section contains images and text. HTML organizes and presents elements of a webpage in a structured hierarchy. Here’s an example of pseudo-HTML describing the elements in our house:
2. The Look: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
Not all rooms, tables, and chairs look the same, nor do words or images on a page. That’s where CSS comes in – CSS defines how elements look, describing their color, size, position, shape, and more. Here’s an example of how we’d use pseudo-CSS to style a bedroom in our house:
walls: 1mm wallpaper matte;
Earlier this year, we built Dash, an interactive, online learn-to-code program as an onboarding tool for our Web Development Immersive students. At the time, there were a lot of existing products, but we wanted something interactive and engaging, in a real world, project-based format that would prepare students who hadn’t programmed before to dive in. So we decided to build it ourselves.
At the risk of stating of the obvious, a mobile phone is not a laptop computer.
So when you are designing a mobile app, keep in mind that your users may not be sitting at a desk, but rather, they might be wedged between two people on a train, balancing themselves with one hand and using their phones with the other.
Coming up with an idea for you mobile app is just the first step; creating a user experience that brings your idea to life in the hands of your users is a much more difficult challenge.