Should I learn programming or focus on idea generations


I have ideas about iPhone apps but I am not sure if I code those ideas myself or hire someone to do it for me. I am not an expert programmer but I can learn. The only issue I have with learning is how many things should I learn. I have other ideas about web site so should I go and learn about webs site development too? Is this is the "Only" way to start a company. I agree that some technical skills are essential but how to balance these multiple ideas and the process to implement those ideas.


Getting Started

asked Oct 8 '11 at 06:16
6 points
  • I dont care what anyone else says. To get a project off the ground and actually do something with it, you need good developers. Developers are the most important part of an early company. It takes years to master programming and schooling to understand what is really going on. You're better off hiring programmers. – User5765 12 years ago
  • How long does it take to understand loops,variables, conditions, Simple Math, Arrays ? How long does it take someone to understand the Database logic ? If anybody used Excel, they can understand the structure. It is the unnecessary complexity that people are forced to learn the technology makes things harder. Do we really need to understand Memory Management to put a prototype out ? In this case Objective-C requires you to do so but still he might use HTML5 to develop a mobile app. If your idea takes off hire a developer. Money is a big constraint to develop an idea if you're not a developer. – Bahadir Cambel 12 years ago

9 Answers


I'm kind of in the same boat as you. I wanted to start an online business, but had no idea where to start. After losing thousands of dollars to really shady people, I finally got smart. I was an idiot and basically said "well I don't want to learn any of the technical details, so I'll just hire someone that can do it all." It was naive, and incredibly stupid. So take my advice. Learn as much as you possibly can about the entire process, from idea, to implementation. Read about technologies, logistics, skill sets of various people, how long it took to aquire those skills so you know a reasonable rate to pay people, learn about hosting, managing your own hosting, and everything in between. While you are doing all this, start wireframing your project with something like Take your time doing this. Think through absolutely every detail, and once you think you've got it 100%, wait another week before you hire someone to work on it. I beg of you, do NOT jump in to this. There is a smart way to do it (which is learning a lot and being very proactive about your project), and there is a dumb way to do it (which is just throwing all your notes at someone and saying "build it"). Good luck!

answered Oct 8 '11 at 10:10
182 points
  • Wouldn't learning a whole new language set him back a few months? Normally, it would send him back years. Also, most languages require other languages with them to work. Ex: Ruby on Rails. PHP requires HTML and CSS and so forth.. – Bhargav Patel 12 years ago
  • I never said learn a whole new language. I would never advise that for something like this. – Jdh 12 years ago


So there are a few things to consider here. Ideas are a dime a dozen. I have great ideas but without implementation they are worthless.

With that in mind I'd take an honest look at yourself. Do you offer business skills to your start up?

If you answer yes to that question I would go ahead with your business idea but don't hire a contractor. Bring someone on a co-founder. Someone that can be your technical go-to person. The technical visionary. Perhaps you can help out on the programming along the way but you need someone who's a technical person to help out. Contracting out to do the technical work is almost always a poor thing to do. Someone who is invested in the idea who will be there throughout the entire process is important. Contractors aren't that type of person.

Now if you don't think of yourself as a good business person or seller and your product can wait a while I'd go to/go back to school and get a C.S. degree/masters. After that you should have the technical skills you need.

answered Oct 8 '11 at 10:18
David Mokon Bond
234 points
  • +1 for going with a co-founder instead of a contractor – Pieter Kuijpers 12 years ago


Short answer: Hire someone, focus on ideas Long Answer:

I am a developer for almost 10 years now and even i can't master everything at all. But to answer your question, since i have the proper skills, i can turn an idea into an app very quickly, but for you, you must invest many many years and code a dozen things to be able to do so.

answered Oct 8 '11 at 20:16
Herr K
292 points


If I wanted to fly to Paris I would buy a flight-ticket instead of learning how to fly. Ideas and implementation are two different things. One is conceptual and the other is technical. If you have both - you can implement your ideas easily and produce a high class product.

So it looks like you have no experience in the field of development/programming. You can learn and I strongly encourage you to do it so you can understand exactly what it means. Note!!! if your ideas are 'enterprise' ideas - you will not be able to implement them; simply because of lack of experience, and for this you will have to hire someone to help you.

Button line: start learning programming just to get (some) solid understanding and if you really believe your idea is excellent - hire someone to do it for you.

answered Oct 9 '11 at 01:20
250 points
  • in 1927 Charles Lindberg could not buy a ticket to fly across the Atlantic. He had to fly himself. You want to do something nobody has done before? Expect to get your hands dirty. – Christopher Mahan 12 years ago
  • Such a flawed comparison... – Boris 12 years ago


Running a software company without the technical skill to program would be difficult but doable.

Spending all of your time programming when it's not your passion would be very unpleasant.

I would choose doable before unpleasant.

answered Oct 8 '11 at 13:04
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points


i wud say idea .

you can always hire someone to get ur work done. I am a programmer and I hire others to do my work.

the idea is the most important as it the start line of any race.

answered Oct 8 '11 at 08:01
29 points


Also, just make something that works on a $10/month website (see ). that web site will be able to handle thousands of clients. Once you get a few hundred paying clients, you can hire all the people you want.

Also, no need to code in java or C#. You can make it in python. You can learn python in a month at (free online, not my project).

Finally, ideas are a dime a dozen. It's execution that matters. Make it work and don't worry about making it pretty. Once it works, people will pay you to use it, even if it looks like it came from 1994. Then make it pretty (but only if that would increase revenue).

answered Oct 8 '11 at 10:24
Christopher Mahan
101 points


Everyone has ideas.

Very few will ever act on them or move them forward.

If you love technology, the web, the startup mentality then learn to program. It will give you far more pleasure being able to build your idea.

There are far more successes of founders coding products then founders outsourcing products. Although it can be done.

Learn to code, it's a great feeling to be able to create what you are thinking.

I would suggest for web platforms:
Python / Django or Ruby on Rails

Mobile, check out Appcelerator. Easy to get started.

It will take time, but be worth every second.

answered Oct 9 '11 at 05:15
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


Which do you enjoy most--programming or getting that idea out into the real world?

If it's the latter, then you need to build a team around you. You can find good developers, marketing experts, virutal assistants by outsourcing to sites like oDesk. You'll be surprised at the quality of talents you will find there ready to help you.

If you enjoy programming, you will still need help getting attention for your app. It would be difficult to focus on programming and running your start up company at the same time.

answered Oct 9 '11 at 08:24
Social Media Publicist
1 point

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