An interesting headline on Slashdot.org reads, “Learn Basic Programming So You Aren’t At the Mercy of Programmers“. The headline itself immediately grabbed my attention and was sparked by an entry that Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby wrote on his blog.
Personally, I agree with Derek 110%. Although great programmers are extremely hard to come by, you don’t necessarily have to be one yourself to grasp the basic concepts. At times programming can be looked at as being a mystical art form which some people will always appreciate but never really take the time to understand. As the Internet continues to evolve, entrepreneurs and employees in the tech industry are expected to at least have a rough understanding of HTML.
I wouldn’t consider myself a programmer because I tend to do more scripting than programming. My server side scripting language of choice is PHP. I wouldn’t know anything about PHP if I hadn’t made the effort to teach myself more about the language. The motivation for this stemmed from being disappointed by a few of the outsourced programmers I used to use years ago. It’s funny how a bad experience can be used to motivate you to learn a little more.
As a domainer who tends to build basic websites I find myself using both HTML and PHP on almost every project. As I stated in a previous blog entry there will be a learning curve and it is really up to you on how much time you want to dedicate to this. If you have the money there is nothing wrong with hiring a solid programmer, but you might just pay a premium for it. If you have the time and are willing to learn, then crack open a few tutorials and start reading.
A great site for tutorials that I’ve used countless times is WebMonkey.com. The tutorials cover a wide array of languages and can help provide you with the basics to get you started. Master the basics and you will be amazed on how you can rely on yourself to get those smaller jobs done.
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