Don’t let the machines win. Learn to code.

I’d say that ten years ago there was no expectation that a marketing person would need to know how to write code in a serious programming language. Whether you were in advertising, PR or some other communications role, the technical demands on you pretty much ended at trying to make Microsoft Word put a page break in the right place.

Today is a very, very different world.

Nowadays, technology plays a massive role in the marketer’s day-to-day job. Writers are also publishers, expected to know at least basic HTML to get their words onto the web. Strategists and planners need to be just as comfortable in a spreadsheet as a focus group. And of course there’s the omnipresent social networks, with their proliferation of APIs and algorithms deciding on what people get to read on the daily commute.

Problem is, these changes have happened within many people’s professional lifetimes and there is a skills gap between what you used to do and what the competition of today is capable of.

If you’re lucky you might have a clever employer that’s investing in its people and training you in this brave new world. No? Well, no worries, there’s plenty of information online about how to learn to code. All you need is time and a bit of determination. That’s how I learned, so it’s definately possible.

Google search interest in the phrase “learn to code” looks to have quadrupled over the last five years.

The next problem is — where to start? There are hundreds and thousands of websites dedicated to teaching you to code, but sort-of by definition these need to be generalist introductions. They can seem overwhelming to someone who just trying to solve a specific problem.

Introducing — ‘Coding for Marketing People’

We’re going to add one more site to the collection, but this one will be designed exclusively for people who work in a marketing role of some sort. It will feature a series of practical examples that are instantly useful but also show you how it’s done so that you have a better chance of solving your own problem next time.

The things we’ll be tackling will be very specific to people working in marketing, comms and social media, and hopefully crowdsourced from requests from the community.

You’ll soon be able to: scrape public data from Facebook; banish Excel spreadsheets and Pivot Tables from your life; and add interactive features to a website, pulling live charts of information from a third-party API.

We’ll be taking requests so if there’s a specific problem you’re trying to solve, you’ll be able to submit it for coverage in a future post.

Stay tuned and let us know if this sounds useful to help us understand whether there’s actually demand for this kind of content.

Let’s take back marketing from the machines, shall we?

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