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  • CB

    Chris Bolman

    over 3 years ago #

    Either way you slice it, it's worth it to learn to code. If you have good developers at your disposal (friends, teammates), they can do the complex programming, but by understanding code yourself you'll be (1) more clear about requirements when you give them instructions/specs, (2) you'll understand what it actually takes for them to build stuff and (3) you'll be able to review their code to understand what they actually built in case you need to modify it, expose it in an API or explain it to somebody else. If you don't work with great developers (or engineering resources are scarce), then you'll need to learn to code to get stuff done, period.

    Here's my take on requirements:

    1. Learn a web development framework that (a) abstracts away a lot of your database communication and middleware/URL routing and (b) has a good developer community so you can integrate 3rd party modules rather than write new code yourself. Personally I prefer Django (Python framework), but I've also worked with node.js (Express). Ignoring my personal preferences and how I learned for a second, a node framework like Meteor or Derby (or MEAN -- not really a framework) is probably the best way to build something relatively quickly starting from scratch, while also learning javascript that you can apply to front-end user experience and also potentially package into a mobile prototype via Phone.js or PhoneGap. After that I'd say Rails, Django or Flask.
    2. (Whatever language and framework you pick,) Learn how to write a basic scraper. In Python, two good places to start are Scrapy and BeautifulSoup -- both are robust, well-documented libraries of pre-existing code that make it easy to build website scrapers to collect and organize data.
    3. Learn HTTP requests and figure out how to use an existing library (like Requests) to get and post data to/from third party APIs
    4. Learn basic social auth and how to build something a user can sign into with Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Github. Learn the basics of how these apps work and how to set one up (again, there are pre-existing libraries you can integrate into your code like Passport for node.js or Django-Allauth for Django that abstract away most of the auth engine to help you focus more on integration/assembly and less on actually writing code). Also learn how to retrieve extended permissions and data from their profile.
    5. Use your newfound understanding of (3) and (4) to figure out how to program referrals and social posts (i.e., "share to Twitter")
    6. Learn some basics on building and validating forms or model forms so you can post basic user-submitted data to a database. This is pretty entry-level programming but it's essential for working landing pages.
    7. Whether or not you choose Javascript as your starting language teach yourself enough javascript to understand some basics of applying jQuery to selectors and how to add key:value parameters to tracking scripts like Mixpanel, KissMetrics and Intercom.io.

    If you can pick up those seven segments you can build landing pages, prototype apps and gather lots of user/lead data, which is a big step in the right direction of "MVP." If you can get that far on your own with a good idea you'll definitely be able to find a good developer who will take you seriously and can carry the torch from there

    • GB

      Gary Baker

      over 3 years ago #

      For those seeking to become growth hackers with non-technical experience, what are 'the best' online resources for learning to code, and what is a reasonable time frame to become effective?

      • CR

        Corey Rabazinski

        over 3 years ago #

        There is a ton of great material out there. Codecademy and Udacity are probably the leaders on the free side. Code School (shameless plug), Lynda, Treehouse and Udemy are great options on the paid side.

        It does take a bit of practice and time to become effective at any programming language, but it awesome to see the things you begin to understand and pick up while learning.

      • MS

        Michael Sarlitt

        about 3 years ago #

        For Python, check out Learn Python The Hard Way by Zed Shaw: http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/

        It's a grind after the first few lessons, but a great primer to understanding code in general. The online version is free.

    • SC

      Shana Carp

      over 3 years ago #

      what do you think of flask?

    • ER

      Enzo Ricciulli

      about 3 years ago #

      do can you give some examples of how you used django.

      Thx in advance!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 3 years ago #

    Here's a related question that asks the importance of learning to code in the first place: http://www.growthhackers.com/ask-gh-how-important-is-it-to-learn-how-to-codetheres-been-a-lot-of-debate-about-the-importance-of-learning-to-code-imho-theres-a-strong-need-for-non-technical-traction-talent-to-solve-s/

    But let's assume we are all in the camp that believes that learning to code is important. I think ideally there would be some courses set up specifically around "coding for growth".... It would be great for someone with an engineering and growth background to list some bullet points around what the coursework this type of study track should include.

    • CB

      Chris Bolman

      over 3 years ago #

      Sean that's a great idea. I may try to expand on and package my response above into a Udemy course (or at the very least a more structured blog post).

  • CG

    Chris Gains

    over 3 years ago #

    I am really interested in getting the skills needed to become a growth hacker. Here are the skills I found that a GH needs to be efficient:
    Web technology
    Email technology
    Analytics
    Technical SEO
    Excel
    Forecasting/Statistics
    Web developmement
    Web design and UX
    Copywriting
    Web development
    Content platforms
    Databases and SQL
    Ecommerce tech

    Can anyone help me with these question:
    1. Do you need all these skills to be efficient enough to grow a company or product? I understand that it depends on many variables, but I just mean in general.
    2. I saw mentions on Treehouse and Codeacademy. What skills could I tick off from above that I could learn with these learning sources?

    Thanks in advance any info

  • DS

    Dan-ya Shwartz Bar-El

    about 1 year ago #

    I can only say what code i'm using on daily basis:
    - I use SQL frequently for the past 6 years or so, this helps me with be independent in analysis
    - I believe HTML / Markup (depends) is a must
    - Some python, i mostly READ and not write it, it helps me understand what is possible

    Generally speaking - I think it's important not be afraid of reading code. Writing is a nice-to-have.

    OH, and understanding how code repositories like github works is also a must IMO.

  • SC

    Shana Carp

    over 3 years ago #

    python. Primarily for Pandas - which is fairly easy to learn for a python library.

    Some of my all time favorite hacks are because of that library

    • CC

      Chris Conrey

      over 3 years ago #

      Python is great, and pandas as well, because of it's abilty to do math very easily and quickly. Python is the hot language (along with R) in the stats and big data spaces. Highly recommend.

  • S8

    shyla 820

    about 1 year ago #

    Python,Ruby, SQL, are the top most priority for me.
    Besides, technical SEO and UX and UI are included in the list.

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