Programming For Non-Programmers: Fundamentals

Learn how to speak with developers. Designed for entrepreneurs, businesses, and junior developers.
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  • Lectures 31
  • Length 3.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 1/2013 English

Course Description

Are you a creative or entrepreneur that wishes you could speak tech with your web development team? Maybe you wish you could code a bit yourself?

Programming for Non-Programmers is online course designed to help non-programmers communicate more efficiently with developers.

Because leading a development team (without being a developer yourself) can sometimes feels like “talking about dancing”, I've created an interactive and easy to follow environment in which to learn the basics.

And for developers just getting started, think of this as the primer to help kickstart your career.

If you're running a tech start-up, it's essential that you familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of web development. Ultimately knowing how to "talk to the talk" will help you communicate better with developers, and overall just look really cool.

What You'll Learn

In this course we'll tackle some development principles to get you on the right path. We'll look at questions like, "Front-end vs. Back-end?", "Is UX necessary for my project?", "What is this Javascript function thingy, and why am I passing it strange math equations to it?".

  • What coding languages should I use for my next project?
  • Which CMS is right for the job?
  • What are the stages of web development?
    What deliverables do I need to provide my developer? (FYI - This is important and often neglected or done poorly)
  • Reading code & basic developing principles to get us started
  • Key concepts of programming that are the found in every programming language
  • Understanding Javascript Variables & Logic

Do You Live in NYC?

If you live in New York City I'd love to have you in class! The full Programming For Non-Programmers series is offered once a month.

Email me chris[at] for details.

Live Support! (I'm Here To Answer Your Questions)

I'm available for questions to all students taking the class. By joining the class you gain access to message me through email. And if for any reason you are not satisfied with the material, I will gladly refund you myself. No questions asked.

Best of luck!

PS. I'm on twitter as well if you have questions @castig

"I've traveled a steep learning curve thanks to Chris' friendly and lucid style of teaching." - Charles Best, CEO of

"I wish I had taken this class 5 years ago!" - Michael Goodwin, UX Designer

"Informative, digestible, actionable" - Katherine, Entrepreneur

"An INCREDIBLE thank you! So far you're the only one who has been able to teach me how to code." - Darren Hakimi, Analyst

"You are Articulate and Engaging. Broad and Diverse Range of Topics. That s right bro!!!!! Not easy to address so much in limited time." - student feedback

Even for a non tech person like me (who yes, has 50,000 emails in her inbox and actually thinks thats totally normal), I was able to keep up. My intent was to get a good overview of what the heck programming actually is, and better understand the language/terms associated with it. I certainly got that. I also appreciated your passion for teaching. I will absolutely recommend the class to my friends. - Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Entrepreneur

Read more reviews here: SkillShare Reviews

What are the requirements?

  • laptop

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand the Web Development Process
  • Make better hiring and product decisions: UX, Information Architecture, Design, Development
  • Explain concepts like APIs, CMSs, and iPhone Development in plain English
  • Understand which programming language to choose for your project
  • Develop a basic HTML/CSS/JS template
  • Understand how to better communicate your startup idea to developers

Who is the target audience?

  • This is for the total beginner!
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Students
  • You. Because you want to get the attention of Fred the IT guy that isn't giving you the time of day
  • Anyone looking to learn the first 4 hour of Web Development and Programming Concepts

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Why Programming?
Promo Video
A programming language is a set of steps, that we use to solve a problem. Let's see that in action! 
Let's be honest. Do you even need to be learning this stuff? Can't you just hire someone to do it for you? 
What problem are you trying to solve? Tips on how we can think more like a developer. 
Section 2: The Web Development Process (aka. Focusing in on the problem at hand)
"The Web, Mobile Web, Native Apps"... let's get clear about what we mean when we are using these terms. 
Planning our project! 
Let's not spend $100,000 developing an iPhone app before we've done our homework. Product Development will help give us some tools to test whether our idea floats. 
Who are our users? And how does this information impact hiring and tech decisions. In this section we introduce the basics of User Experience (UX) and highlight real life examples from Chris's work experience. 
We have our idea all fleshed out. Now how do we communicate it to the developer? In this lecture we highlight some best practices for wireframing and content strategy. 
The visual designer brings the wireframes to live. CMYK vs. RBG!? Pixels? Let's take a look at how to get started. 
Front-end vs. Back-end? What are the responsibilities of these developers? 

Section 3: Which Language? (aka. Understanding the tools)
You may be thinking, "Why are there so many languages!?" and  "Which one should I choose for my project?" Also, would you believe that there is ONE programming language that every computer can read. Watch this lecture to find out! 
Facebook is built with PHP. Twitter uses Ruby. Google uses Python. Why!? And what's the difference between these 3 languages?  
In this lecture I present you with 4 projects from my real world experience, and ask you to choose the programming language. Think you know enough yet? The Black Eyed Peas, Derby Jackpot, The Story Studio and more. We'll look at the technology, and an info graph of the hours spent developing each. 
Native Mobile Apps use different programming languages than on The Web. Let's take a look! 
Let's looks at responsive design and some tools for testing whether a site is responsive. 
What CMS is right for the job? In this section we take a look at Wordpress, Expression Engine, and a few other CMS options to help us make better choices  
C++, Node.js and .NET. How do these fit into the mix? 
These are terms that sound like they are programming languages. Things like FTP and GIT. You might even confuse them as being a language. But they're not. So let's make sure we're clear. 
Have you ever heard someone say something like, “The NY Times has an API we can use.”? What they are saying is "The NY Times has some data that you can freely access and use in your project." In this section we demystify the API. 
Tech Stack. Twenty lectures ago this wouldn't have made any sense. But now that we're familiar with the landscape of languages and platforms, the concept of Tech Stack will pull all of that goodness together into one digestible chunk. (and from there... BLOW your mind) 
Trust me on this one. It'll make sense. (Please don't watch this until you've watched all the other videos prior.) 
Section 4: Lets Code (aka. Solving the Problem)
We'll go to  to download, and then install Sublime Text
Getting started with HTML (even if you've coded HTML before you should watch this video... as we'll tackle relevant concepts and best-practices) 
CSS is the style of our page. CSS itself even stands for Cascading Style Sheets!
JavaScript: Events
Every language has the ability to write comments. Find out how, and why. 
JavaScript helps add "logic" to our code. And when we're ready to see the output, we need to "print" to the screen. 
Warning: this starts with a quiz. Ok you've been warned. Proceed. 
Whoa. We learned a lot. Let's do a brief recap of the past section, and talk about where you can find some resources to continue learning after this class. 

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Instructor Biography

Christopher Michael, Co-Founder of

Chris is the co-founder of One Month (an online school for entrepreneurs) and host of the On Books podcast.

He has over ten years of experience developing digital products for clients ranging from The Black Eyed Peas, Toyota, Bacardi, and American Express.

In 2013 Chris spoke at over 70 events on programming and APIs. He's taught at Columbia University, The University of Amsterdam, CUNY, and SXSW.

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