Coding · Coding Bootcamps

Best Coding Classes for Non Technical Folk in Toronto?

Stan Ivanov

December 10th, 2014

Hello there. I decided to pick up some light development skills. I don't plan on building anything significant, just hoping to be able to manage technical folks in the startup more effectively. And hopefully network with good devs. Not really looking to do the whole 4 year college degree really. Any recommendations in TO? Online might work as well. Thank you in advance. 

Amir Yasin Developer, Architect

December 11th, 2014

PLEASE do yourself a favor and don't take a coding course so you can manage developers.  Hire or partner with a strong technical person who can separate good from bad.  This is tantamount to asking is there some place I can pick up light legal skills so I can manage a team of lawyers or where can I pick up some light marketing skills so I can manage a marketing team?  If you go down the route you're proposing one of two things are very likely to happen:  The first potential outcome is that you'll frustrate the heck out of whoever you hire because you don't have a deep enough understanding of what they do to provide valuable input.  In doing so you will cost them time and yourself money to explain the situation to you (an explanation you may or may not understand).  The second potential outcome is that because you have just enough knowledge to be dangerous you'll end up with a team that has no problem pulling the wool over your eyes by making things sound to your ears as if they're reasonable but would be riddled with holes to a properly experienced person.  You're here on FD (I assume) because you recognize that people bring unique talents to the table, focus on the talent you bring and let others you trust bring talents you lack.

Stan Ivanov

December 11th, 2014

Thank you for all the great feedback. I Should have specified that I am searching for a CTO co-founder or a developer who will grow into CTO role and hoping to meet technical folk in their natural habitat (hackathons and courses)

@Joseph, thanks for your advice. Reading up on SCRUM.

@Amir Thanks for your input. Not really planning to check code that developers produce. Just get a better grip on their processes and lingo. 

Hernán Borré CoFounder & CEO at mobaires - nearshore staff augmentation

December 11th, 2014

Hi Kevin! 

First of all I would not recommend you to start learning how to code unless you want to start a career of that.

If my words don't convince you, then you should go for JAVA. It's relatively simple to understand and it gives you a pretty good idea of how to code/learn in other languages - the majority of them. 

The official JAVA ORACLE courses for beginners should be fine, being a nice entry point for people with non technical background at all. 

There must be several institutions in TO that dictates these courses, you should only google them! 

I hope it helps! 


Mani Fazeli Head of Product at Wave

December 14th, 2014

I agree with others regarding the disconnect between knowing a little bit of code and having sufficient empathy to manage developers. If you're looking to meet CTO worthy candidates, you're unlikely to find them in courses. Hackathons with a brand are a better bet, but make sure to network beforehand and take your A-game when it comes to product and elbow grease. Otherwise, you won't pair with the right candidates.

If you do want to dive in with code anyway: Codecademy, Udemy, Khan Academy, and are all places you can look for online courses. There are some fantastic tutorials for absolute new comers. None of this has any geographic limitations to Toronto.

I'd say it's best to pass on JAVA, C#, C++, Go, Erlang, Haskel, etc. when you're just starting out. Try Python, JavaScript, or Ruby instead. All are powerful languages with excellent web frameworks available and gigantic coder bases.

If you decide you want to take a deepdive and stay local, you can always apply to Bitmaker Labs or HackerYou. That'll require a fair bit of money, but only about 3 months of your time. Again, it's for the truly dedicated and still only scratches the surface.

Kevin Goldstein IT

December 10th, 2014

I would suggest something in java. That gets you the basics of coding, of OO programming, structures, error checking, logging, etc. without having to worry about some nasty issues such as portability and which operating system you are targeting.
While I am not a proponent of using it all the time, it's a good introduction to CS. Also, once you are able to do some basic things in Java, you will be able to read (probably not write) JavaScript, JSON, etc. - all of the web development languages; or at least, give you a much better handle on them, so, it should take care of a couple of different birds with one stone.
LMK if you want me to expand on this...

Amir Yasin Developer, Architect

December 11th, 2014

@Joseph you're 100% correct that you don't need to be a blank to manage blank.  Managing is it's own separate skill.  My reading of the question led me to believe that the OP would be interested in vetting or checking work, not just assigning and tracking progress.  I also agree that knowledge isn't a bad thing, unless you misapply it which would be in the case I was considering.  If you ask the question "hey I'm interested in learning what developers do, what's a good place to start or a good class to take?", the answer would be entirely different.

Joseph Foster CEO/Sr. Software Engineer

December 11th, 2014

@Amir, sounds good.  I was responding directly to the "...just hoping to be able to manage technical folks in the startup more effectively." as well as "And hopefully network with good devs...

Certainly no slight was or is intended, we apparently read the question in two entirely different lights.

John Pestotnik, PMP

December 11th, 2014 has some really good course options.  I've watched several of these to acquire a better foundation understanding of various development concepts.  Some good beginning options might include: Foundations of Programming - Object-Oriented Design, HTML Essential Training, JavaScript Essential Training, etc.    

Chris Goward Founder & CEO at WiderFunnel, Author, Keynote Speaker, Conversion Optimization Industry Leader

December 16th, 2014

If you want to start with Lynda courses, here's a 10-day free trial link to try it out:

I'm a author so the page also has a link to my Conversion Optimization course, but you can use the account for coding courses too.

Joseph Foster CEO/Sr. Software Engineer

December 10th, 2014

I'd say it depends on your product(s).  I'd focus on something that is used daily in your shop.  If it's web then JavaScript and jQuery are good to have under your belt with some CSS and HTML.  For the back end, PHP or C# or VB.NET, depending on your current poison...

In regards to managing the developers, I'd study up on some good Agile methodologies.  I like to follow a SCRUM pattern(ish), where we have daily SCRUMS that last five minutes or less.  I've heard some complaints from people (typically poor performers or problem people).  The scrum meetings (the 3 questions) allow you a very quick status, keeps everyone in the loop on what's going on and helps to prevent problems before they happen.

Knowing development helps to keep them honest, but it's not a necessity.