Do I Need To Study Software Engineering To Build An Online Business?
Have you ever considered starting an online business? It’s steadily grown more appealing as the digital world has matured, and the challenging conditions of 2020 have only accelerated that process. Young people increasingly want to take charge of their professional fates, and running your own business gives you far greater control over the path of your career. Factor in the rich accessibility provided by the internet and you have an enticing option for aspiring entrepreneurs.
It isn’t for everyone, though. Not only does it involve long hours and a lot of pressure, but it also requires certain skills that aren’t generally needed for typical employment. The question we’re going to answer here, of course, is whether studying software development is necessary. Can you still craft an online empire if you haven’t learned high-level programming? Let’s get to it.
Concerning the titular question, there’s no need to carefully build up to the answer. It’s actually quite straightforward: no. You don’t need to study software engineering, either formally or informally, to build an online business. This is because there are myriad ways to do everything necessary without doing any coding at all.
If you’re interested in taking the ecommerce route (selling products online), then you can turn to one of many user-friendly platforms. Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce via WordPress… Whether you have solid tech skills or just know how to browse the internet, there’s an intuitive service you can use to create a decent store and start stocking products within hours (or even minutes).
And if you want to run a different kind of online business, such as a consultancy or a service provider, you can either keep the software side simple (you don’t need a complex website, so a simple WordPress site can suffice) or get external support. This can involve anything from hiring a website developer (marketplaces like Fiverr are useful) to having a cloud solution distributor (e.g. intY, a Scan Source Company) that will help you with choosing a suitable range of software tools..
This certainly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study extensively before you try building an online business, because that’s a great idea overall. Instead, it means that you should focus on different topics: in particular, you should look to hone your overall business knowledge. How do you create a great value proposition? Shape a compelling pitch? Register a company?
Software development is a fine topic to pursue if you plan to work as a software developer, but it’s increasingly unimportant for other tasks due to the aforementioned code-free tools and surfeit of outsourcing options. Knowing how to win over an investor, though, will always be useful, no matter where your entrepreneurial career takes you.
If you’re still in education, then consider pursuing an apprenticeship. Getting real-world experience of how a business operates — and being in a position to ask as many questions as you want — will leave you much more comfortable with the thought of starting your own, and it’s a fantastic way to pick up some contacts that could help you down the line.
There may well come a time when you’re building an online business and you want to get involved with the development. Maybe the outsourcing costs are getting steep, or you’re unimpressed with the preset themes available through the store builder you’re using. If so, you don’t need a broad education in software engineering. You can simply pick up what you need.
The internet is packed with convenient educational resources concerning matters like getting to grips with HTML and CSS (sites like HTML Reference and CSS Reference are invaluable), and there are free code snippets everywhere. You don’t need to know how to program to take some existing code and make some basic alterations. It’s akin to taking a template and filling in the blanks with your specific details, only mildly tougher.
You’ll never need to be at the level of a trained developer, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a deep understanding of the code you’re using. Your education should be about laying the groundwork for the career ahead of you. Once that groundwork is in place, you can build on it at your leisure (and at your preferred pace).
You don’t need to study software engineering to build an online business: you don’t even need to know how to do basic coding. You do, however, need to know how the business world works, and that means learning everything you can about things like financial planning and investor pitching. You can pick up everything else later!
4 Dec 2020, 16:20 PM