Will Coding Help Me Get A Job in ICT4D?

What software coding skills do I need to succeed in ICT4D?

You would be surprised by how many times I am asked that question by hopeful ICT4D professionals. And you might be surprised by my answer: it depends.

Do you like coding? Do you want to compile? Do you dream of debugging? Then, hey, your future is bright with any code you want to work on. From FORTRAN to Ruby to HTML5, there is always a role for builders and  mechanics.

There are also roles for business analysis, sales people, accountants, and every other role in business that has a technology angle. I know this as I'm an ex-accountant with zero coding skills (okay, I know basic HTML) who has done well in development.

Seriously, should I learn to code?

I can best answer this question by pointing you to this great post: Learning to code? I did it for 2 years – here’s what I learned. Here is the money quote:

Before committing, understand your ultimate goals. Learning to code may be entirely useless to help you reach your goals. Or it may prove indispensable.

So, yes, it really does depend on what you want to do. What you love to do. What will make you get out of bed and get you to work every day. For some, its the minutiae of coding, for others the minutiae of proposal development.

Know what you want and everything else – role, skills, training – will fall into place. Yes, knowing what you want is the hardest task of all. I did not promise my answer would be easy. Only that it would be the best.

Now go forth and JSON!