This guest post is by Emily Pope of General Assembly, NY. Give it a read and let us know what you think!
These days it seems like everyone wants to learn to code--or is telling you that you should; and as a marketer it’s becoming increasingly important to have at the very least a basic understanding of how the Internet works. And why shouldn’t you? In today’s tech-centric job market it’s incredibly likely that you’ll be working to shape and promote some kind of digital product--whether it’s a website or a mobile application.
Sure, you may never write full software programs (and the last thing the world needs is more bad code), but this doesn’t mean that you should ignore such a critical skillset. From search engine optimization, to email, to landing pages--every facet of digital marketing is powered by code, and understanding what’s going on behind the scenes will give you the insight necessary to make informed and strategic marketing decisions. Here are just a few reasons marketers should learn some basic code.
1. Communicate Effectively Within Multidisciplinary Teams
As a marketer, it’s likely that you’ll be working closely with designers and developers to make website enhancements or launch digital campaigns. Understanding the technical limitations (or advantages) behind your requests will enable you to properly scope the project, create more detailed specifications, and communicate these effectively with your team.
If you understand basic code, you will have a better understanding of what goes into each task, and can budget your time and resources accordingly. Also, being able to have informed conversations with your tech savvy teammates will save everyone time, money, and perhaps a few headaches.
2. Take Care of Quick Fixes
On the other hand, designers and developers are busy people-- and while you should certainly leave specialized tasks to those who know how to do them right, wouldn’t it be useful if you could make simple changes or fixes on your own?
Having a working knowledge of front-end development languages like HTML and CSS will enable you to build and customize your own email templates and landing pages without the help of a developer. Want to change the color of a CTA button? Should the email capture be moved an inch to the right? That’s done by code, and learning the basics is not as scary as you might think.
3. Make Informed Decisions About Outside Vendors
If you don’t know what’s involved in a process, you’re most likely not getting the most out of your time and budget. This is certainly true when working with outside vendors or consultants to enhance your website or power your marketing campaigns (email clients, refer-a-friend programs, exit popups, etc.). In order to effectively coordinate with their team and your own developers, it’s immensely helpful if you are well-versed in the technology. This will allow you determine if the product is aligned with your specific needs and technical requirements, choosing the one that will have the highest impact within your budget.
In the end, you don’t need to be a full-stack developer to be a great marketer; but having a basic understanding of how the Internet works, including how websites and other digital products are built, will make you more versatile and valuable as you develop your career.
Want to learn more about web development and design? Check out General Assembly’s online, part-time Web Design Circuit course, perfect for the modern marketer looking to level up in their career.
Emily Pope is Content Marketing Producer at General Assembly, an immersive school for programming, business and design.