The essence of all technology lies in coding, yet it has become an overlooked part of the IT management process. While crack coders were stars of the tech world in the 1980s and early 90s, by the mid-90s industry attention had shifted more toward whiz-bang end results and away from the lines of 0s and 1s that make those results happen. When coders do get attention, it is usually for the wrong reasons, such as major hacking attacks or systems failures.
But performing the coding process still holds the potential to earn significant profit, and SMBs have a significant need for reliable coding services. As detailed in a recent New York Times article, a whole niche of start-up businesses has developed around teaching individuals and small businesses to code.
These businesses target everyone from students to housewives to entrepreneurs to established coders looking to improve their skills. While some of them are currently offering free online services, most employ some type of monthly student fee to generate revenue.
Those Who Can’t Teach, Those Who Can, CodeCertainly the people behind these learn-to-code businesses should be applauded for finding a need in the marketplace and attempting to fill it. However, in some cases, MSPs may have success targeting part of the same audience learn-to-code services are targeting: owners and employees of SMBs.
Learning to do their own coding may sound like a nice, practical idea for SMBs looking to improve in-house skills and save money. But in reality, the typical SMB employee or owner is already working far more than 40 hours a week and under a tremendous amount of stress trying to keep the business competitive in a troubled economic environment where larger rivals employ teams of expert coders and developers. In reality, most SMBs are probably better served by outsourcing their coding to a qualified MSP than by taking a “DIY” approach.
Keep the Costs LowWhile MSPs can make a persuasive pitch to SMBs who are using or considering using a learn-to-code provider to instead outsource their coding, MSPs need to keep in mind that at least in the case of the companies profiled New York Times article, monthly fees run from $25 to $49 a month.
Obviously purchasing coding as a managed service will cost more, but MSPs must find creative ways to keep the cost within competitive distance, especially since one implied benefit of learning to do your own coding is that you eliminate the need to pay someone else to do it for you. Therefore MSPs should examine ways to work coding in as a portion of a larger development deal or as a “pot sweetener” for a client on the fence. The SMB code market can be cracked, make sure you are doing the cracking and not a DIY instructor.