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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Do Inbound Marketers Need to Know How to Code?

    Posted by Jasmine Henry

    Inbound Marketing Skills for the Future

    Learning to code - it's a pretty hot topic at the moment.

    You know the conversation has hit the mainstream when pro athletes are joining the debate about to code or not to code. NBA Superstar Chris Bosh recently revealed in a viral Wired article that he thinks everyone needs to be fluent in tech. Once the self described "geek's" 11-year pro basketball career winds to a close, he sees himself returning to his second love of "manipulat[ing] 1's and 0's" and teaching tech skills to youth.

    Bosh wrote that we're living in an era where advancements aren't made on brute strength, they're made on automation- and most jobs in the future will go to candidates who know how to code. His position certainly isn't unique, and it's the same concept that drove Microsoft, Amazon, Google and lots of other brands you've definitely heard of to create code.org - a free educational resource and initiative to get more computer science education into our public schools.

    But What About Problem-Solving Skills?

    However, the position isn't unanimous. Programmer Ciara Burne recently reported in Fast.Co that she doesn't think everyone needs to learn how to become a software engineer or developer - and the road to competence isn't easy. Instead, Burne believes we'll always have a need for individuals who can effectively solve problems, and multi-disciplinary types who understand developers and the technology that drives our businesses.

    Where's the truth in all of this? And what are the inbound marketing skills that you need to worry about to drive the results you want for your company, or land that sweet job?

    Well, let's see what thought leaders have to say:

    Belle Beth Cooper, Buffer

    "There are 12 ingredients to a technical marketer (yield: 1 kick-ass employee).

    1. Databases & sql

    2. Web technology

    3. Web Development

    4. Web Design & UX

    5. Copywriting

    6. Analytics

    7. Forecasting/Statistics

    8. Excel

    9. Technical SEO

    10. Content Platforms

    11. Email Technology

    12. e-Commerce tech"

    Jamie Stevens, CMO of Moz

    "The marketers who know SQL, can write code, leverage APIs, and perform quantitative analysis will be the most desirable and productive individuals in our industry. Those without these skills will find it increasingly difficult to find ideal career opportunities. "

    Keith Moehring

    Marketers with a working knowledge of code can:

    • Strategically guide website and app development

    • Update and manipulate web pages

    • Integrate tracking and reporting technologies.

    Scott Brinker, Chief MarTec

    "I believe every marketer should develop a comfort with technology...it gives you confidence to wield it wisely and decisively...better able to communicate with technologists...[and] builds up process design skills."

    The Prognosis?

    Sorry, friend. If your idea of technology is calling your friendly IT guy to help you turn up the brightness on your computer, you may struggle to grow your marketing program and career in the ways you want in the future. At an absolute bare minimum, you need to be fluent enough in the technologies that power our apps, support our websites and translate metrics into reporting to design a strategy that's competitive. And that includes being able to develop clear, accurate, and concise guidelines for developers in a way they understand.

    I think it's absolutely fantastic that technology education is accessible and affordable for everyone. Code Academy, Udacity, and The Starter League are outstanding ways to get started understanding how the pieces fit together. Georgia Tech is now offering free classes for an MS in Computer Science degree online in massive open online course format (that's MOOC, pronounced Mook.) Tuition is relatively cheap for students who want the formal degree in addition to the education aspect.

    Becoming a really competent software engineer, developer, or data scientist takes a great deal of work and experience. It's not really something you can casually pick up on the side - if you want to be the best. However, we're surrounded by resources for you to become someone who understands tech speak, how to ask the right questions when you're meeting with your app developer, and how to drive profits through IT.

    If you haven't become that inbound marketer who knows a moderate amount of code, it's probably time to start working on it.

    This is a controversial topic, and I really want to know what you think. How much code do inbound marketers need to learn?

    inbound marketing benchmarks

    image credit: digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net

    Topics: Inbound Marketing