Should business students learn to code?

July 12, 2014

I’d say yes, and convinced a journalist to quote me. Maybe not for everyone, but I think even basic familiarity with Python would increase your productivity dramatically relative to Excel and give you an advantage in the job market. That said, I think a course focused explicitly on business applications would be more helpful — and less painful — than a traditional intro to computer science course.

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2 Responses to “Should business students learn to code?”

  1. Andrew B Says:

    I think understanding programming is a helpful skill for business majors, but coding a useful application requires more than an intro level. Have you ever tried writing a macro in vba? Programs seems very easy conceptually but during implementation there are all sorts of challenges (corner cases, logic, exceptions, syntax to name a few) I find most people give up – or land on a solution that can’t scale beyond one specific case. High level languages like Python can definitely help, but I think the expectation for business students should be understanding programming concepts, while practical application should be owned by the CS majors (who definitely need a better understanding of business)

    PS – been reading this blog for almost two years and love the content and insight. Keep it up!

    • David Backus Says:

      Interesting thought. We were worried VBA wouldn’t be platform independent — it wasn’t on the Mac a few years back — but I think they’ve fixed that.


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