Should UX professionals learn how to code?

Should UX professionals learn how to code?

Share these actual insights

What do UX and entrepreneurship have to do with each other? For me personally it matters quite a lot. Even though I am more inclined to call myself an intrapreneur it magically all boils down to the same thing, making the most out of every opportunity you get to create or do something amazing.

Intrapreneurship: ‘A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.’ (source: Wikipedia)

From Web Analytics to User Experience

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Data & Intrapreneurship

What do we call ourselves these days? Have you ever noticed how our work is changing almost every week or month. Our required skill sets seem to be expanding by the ever growing demand from companies to find actual insights (no pun intended) about users.

Long ago I started working with web analytics tools to find out WHAT visitors were doing. Then curiosity got the better of me and I started to wonder WHY users were doing WHAT they were doing.

I started teaching myself more about usability, about online factors that can influence the user experience from site wide to individual elements, it became so fascinating. Time and time again I would learn something new and get that sense of achievement and know that I had a new set of skills that could help me learn more about visitors and help improve the user experience and in ecommerce situations also the bottom line.

UX and Intrapreneurship

Having skills is one thing, putting them to work is another. With many of the skills and tools in the field of usability/UX being fairly new it is difficult to deny that we are all entrepreneurs, or intrapreneurs if you are not freelance or interim. Looking at the definition “turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation” is what UX is actually all about.

As far as UX is concerned we create ideas, turn these into reality (through research, design, and testing) by taking risks and leaning heavily on innovation. Many of the research-, design- and testing-methods are new and definitely require the taking of risks using innovative tools.

In my professional adventure where I have reached the level of management I have noticed that our work often lies in the middel of a web of skills. Web analysts, designers, researchers, testers, copywriters and even developers all need to come together to make a project successful.

This train of thought quickly turns into a question…

Should UX professionals learn how to code?

What does it all boil down to? It would be strange for me to write an entire blog post about the topic only to say that ‘no, UX’ers don’t need to know how to code’.

I guess that it really matters what it is what you personally want to achieve. For me, learning is as necessary as eating food and drinking water to feed my body. After almost 10 years in the industry I have seen that skills have gotten me where I am today.

To take myself further as a professional and as a person. In London schools kids are staying on after school just to learn how to code. If they can do it, why can’t I? With the arrival of tools like Ruby on Rails, Django, Twitter Bootstrap and the sorts, coding is slowly becoming a trait anyone can learn.

Being creative in the world of UX, designing and semi-programming interactive prototypes in Axure, turning ideas into solutions… see where I am going? By learning how to code as a UX professional, you can start to build your own ideas into real applications, sites, and tools.

Who knows, you might end up creating the new ‘Instagram’ or ‘WhatsApp‘. I kid you not, build your ideas!

From Kickstarter project to Udemy course

Kickstarter Coding for Entrepreneurs


So what’s the deal with Justin Mitchel. Justin Mitchel is such an entrepreneur. He turned his idea of wanting professional ‘freedom’ into a plan of action. His plan of action can benefit any one of you to help you enhance you skill set beyond that of UX in the broadest sense of the word.

Justin launched a project on Kickstarter called ‘Coding for Entrepreneurs’ and set out to help people like you and me learn how to program our own online applications. By using HTML, CSS, Django, JQuery, Python, Twitter bootstrap and more he quickly shows us how we grow beyond our UX skills into an all-round online specialist.

Like I mentioned in my previous article about Google Analytics, it is safe to say that skills, even basic knowledge of a skill, will help us become better at what we do. As a UX’er it can be important to learn about coding because we can then better understand projects as a whole.

UX is often a small part of a company’s project to optimise the user experience, conversion, customer experience of their brand, products, and/or services. By learning basic programming skills we can better embed ourselves into these projects and other and be of more value as business partners during the project’s development and optimisation process.

Coding for Entrepreneurs (Coupons) by Justin Mitchel

Since Kickstarter, Justin has published his main course ‘Coding for Entrepreneurs’ on Udemy and is available for only $99. After some digging around the internet and the ever available collection of discount codes for Udemy, I have been able to find a way to help you get all 4 of his courses (only 3 are open to the public at the moment) for only $60.

Use the links below to save $214 and get 3 Justin Mitchel ‘Coding for Entrepreneurs’ courses for only $60 and get the 4th course ‘Try Django’ FREE.

  1. Coding for Entrepreneurs (main course$99 now $24 [grab deal]
  2. Marketplace and Deals (add-on course$75 now $18 [grab deal]
  3. MatchMaker and GeoLocator (add-on course$75 now $18 [grab deal]
  4. Try Django (add-on course$25 now FREE [grab deal]

There you have it, your next stepping stone to learning new skills and expand your knowledge about the ‘online world’.

About Matthew Niederberger

Matthew works as Conversion Optimisation Manager at Ziggo BV. In his free time he enjoys family life as well as digging into online user research material whilst frequently generating some of his own, which he freely shares here on


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