Why Project Managers Need to Learn to Code

On the heels of Josh's question on if project managers need to be technical comes a controversial posting from Coding Horror imploring people not to learn coding if they are just doing it to learn coding.

Bad idea!

Stretching your talents and your knowledge is always a good thing. It doesn't matter if you programming skills are not good enough to create the next Farmville; the effort alone is well worth the reward. Being more literate in the concepts and tools that make up or modern complex society will make you more appreciative of the work others do and better able to engage in an intelligent conversation with the experts.

It is also a good way to protect yourself from being bamboozled by the experts. A Federal judge in the Google case taught himself Java so that he could better understand the arguments in the case (and came to a key finding). I don't think the judge wanted to give up his day job (but not bad part-time work on Midnight Coder while he's waiting for the jury to come to a decision). Rather, it helped him better understand the actual issues of the case and to determine if the experts were actually being truthful in their claims.

Know the limits of your knowledge but do try to expand your knowledge whenever you can.

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