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Why Learning to Build Is More Important Than Learning to Code

No code, build,

Unqork's Amar Vedula explores how the future of software will be powered by people who know how to build, not how to code.


In the past decade, there’s been a huge buzz about the importance of learning to code. The coding bootcamp market has continued to grow year-over-year, climbing another 4.38% in 2019 to bring its total gross revenue just above $460 billion. For context: There were a whopping 11 times more coding bootcamp graduates in 2019 than there were in 2013. What’s driving this growth? 

The IT skills shortage has pressured many companies to find candidates who can code using their particular technology stack, and it’s no secret that these companies are willing to pay top dollar for software engineers with the right language skills. Understandably, that’s why many tech industry hopefuls flock to coding bootcamps and academies (often with as much as $15,000 in tuition in hand).

However, we have strong reason to believe that the coding bootcamp bubble is about to burst. The future of software development will be powered not by people who know how to code, but rather people who understand the broader mechanics of how to build. Here’s why.

The Constant Evolution of Coding Languages 

Acquiring new skills is always worthwhile, but when we try to quantify new skills in terms of value, we have to think about how long these skills will be relevant. Consider some of the findings in Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends report. Notably, there’s no overlap at all between the top-ten tech skills from 2016 to 2019 and the top-ten in 2020. Furthermore, none of the top-ten most popular tech skills in 2020 appear on the list of 2020’s emerging skills to watch out for in the decade to come.

This rapidly rotating cast of star coding languages illustrates that the tech industry and software development as a whole moves impossibly fast. The languages you need to know how to work with as an engineer never stop evolving. Long story short: Learning to code may require you to invest a large amount of time and money—only to realize you’ve invested in learning a set of languages that will be outdated in as little as a year’s time.

Want to see what can be built without a bit of code? Check out this demo of Project Cupid developed by the city of New York in just eight days.

The Skills of Tomorrow

The truth is, once you learn how to code you’ll never stop, because there will always be a new, more relevant coding language on the horizon. So, if learning to code isn’t the best investment, what is? What skills will withstand the test of time and make you an attractive candidate to tech companies years down the line?

According to Forbes, building is one of the only three skills that will matter in 2020 and beyond. “Building” is an admittedly broad category, and could potentially refer to anything from designing products to coding algorithms—but the point is that it’s best to immerse yourself in the foundational concepts that make up your industry. If you’re in financial services, that might mean learning about derivatives or bonds. If you’re in technology, that means learning the logic and mechanics behind what you’re building, rather than just the inputs that make it happen. Coding languages come and go, but knowing how to put an app together—in a macro sense—is forever.

We also need to think about how the prominence of machine learning and artificial intelligence change what it means to code and build. According to computer scientist Martin Ford, we’re actually suddenly dealing with a 50% excess supply of full-time software engineers on the market, because the role of the coder has fundamentally shifted. For example, if a company today wants to make an app prototype, there’s no need to pay a Silicon Valley developer $100,000 to do it when they can outsource the job to someone overseas. Soon there will be no need to even outsource, because an advanced algorithm will be able to build the prototype in the place of a human coder. 

Coding experience simply won’t mean as much when the future of software development means finding data, pruning it, and training an algorithm to work with it. What can’t be automated as easily, however, is the complex human logic of understanding how to best solve a problem—and that’s what we at Unqork feel you’re best off spending your time learning. The premium we pay for coding skills won’t last forever. Staying relevant isn’t about the languages you learn in bootcamp that will soon be outdated, outsourced, and automated, but rather the foundational concepts of building, like problem-solving, logic, and scaling complex architectures.   

"No-code allows you to shift away from ephemeral coding languages and focus on the logic behind app-building that will never be phased out."

No-Code Is The Future

When you learn to build on the Unqork platform, you learn how to create apps holistically and use the rise of automation to your advantage. No-code allows you to shift away from ephemeral coding languages and focus on the logic behind app-building that will never be phased out. Our platform has just the right amount of automation—enough to automate simpler programming structures through templated models and drag-and-drop functions, but not so much that you give up total creative control.

No-code makes sense for developers looking to future-proof their skillsets, but it also makes sense for enterprises that want to break free from the code cycle. When you rely on code as a developer, you’re leaning on skills that will ultimately become old news. When you rely on code as an enterprise, you’re trapping yourself in a circle that only leads to constant upgrades, legacy maintenance, and technical debt. It’s time to get building.

About the Author

Amar Vedula is an Account Development Representative with Unqork who helps agencies discover ways to use no-code to benefit residents and taxpayers. Want to learn more? Follow him on <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> or <a href="">shoot him an email</a>.

Profile Photo of Amar Vedula