When you start a career in venture capital, you’re not just beginning a career in investing, you’re beginning a career in entrepreneurship.
As an investor, it is your responsibility to understand startups and founders. How do you expect to do that without any basic knowledge of one of the primary skills in new companies? There’s a bit of debate on the accuracy of this statement, but many claim that the ability to code is the new literacy. Let’s make a compromise — that’s at least true for the startup community. Knowing technical skills will make you a better investor. You’ll be able to understand complex products, hold a conversation about them, and identify when a product is unique. Whatsmore is that it opens up the opportunity to be a founder yourself — something that I hope to be a part of my personal career.
If you didn’t major in CS in college, it is not too late. Codeacademy has online fundamental courses in a bunch of languages. It’s extremely intuitive and, most importantly, completely free.
Too often, I hear excuses from people claiming that it’s not completely necessary to have a successful career in venture. Well, that’s totally true, but you’d be better off if you did it anyway. It’ll only add another tool to your professional war chest. As a VC, you should always be looking for a competitive edge, as it’s a competitive business. The majority of VCs don’t make crazy returns. It’s just really hard to find the winners. You don’t need to get a Ph.D. in ML or anything like that, but you’d be doing yourself a great service if you cover the fundamentals.