The proliferation of accessible, online resources and night/weekend classes has made it easier than ever to learn how to code. But is coding a skill that small-business CEOs — who usually have their own technical teams or outsource their programming work — need? That’s the question I examine in this story, which appears in the June issue of Inc. magazine.

The executives I interviewed had (collectively) studied CSS, JavaScript and Ruby at Skillshare, Codecademy and General Assembly. They said their new understanding of code helped them communicate with their engineers, whether in-house or overseas, and enabled them to schedule and manage projects more effectively. Afterwards, they were also able to handle small tasks, like tweaking simple web design elements, without interrupting their developers. In short, the executives felt the classes were worth incorporating into their already-hectic schedules.

Coding classes vary widely in duration, skill level, goals and cost. The sidebar accompanying the story includes some pointers on how to pick a class. Two basic ones are: know your learning style (are you a self-directed learner or do you need in-person instruction?) and ask developer friends/employees for recommendations on what language to study.

This article drew upon conversations with many people. I’d like to thank Avi Flombaum and Dan Kozikowski who teach through Skillshare, Vanessa Hurst of Girl Develop It, Zach Sims of Codecademy, Nick Pettit of Treehouse and Gregg Polack of Code School for their help. You can see some of their input in the story’s sidebar, “Which Code School Is Right For You?” which is a quick overview of some of the leading coding schools and how they compare to each other.

Working on this story inspired me to learn front-end coding beyond basic HTML. I’ll provide updates on that project later on, on this blog.

UPDATE: In 2015, I enrolled in coding school and graduated with certificates in Web Design and Web Development.