The following is a guest post by Tiffany Rowe. Tiffany is a Marketing Administrator at Seek Visibility, where she assists clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you may be wondering what educational path to take to best further your dreams. There are a number of popular degree paths taken by aspiring entrepreneurs. Some feel a degree in law, with its emphasis on contracts, taxes, and asset protection, would be most useful, while others are partial to a degree in communications, accounting, or, of course, business. But, if you want to start a successful tech business, is it more important to spend your college years learning the ins and outs of running a business, or is it more important to spend them building technical skills you can use to develop the products your business will eventually sell?
For those with dreams of becoming the next tech mogul, veteran tech entrepreneurs recommend a computer science degree. While business skills are easy to pick up on your own, computer science teaches complex technical skills that require years of study and practice – and a BS in computer science offers the perfect opportunity to put in those years. Besides, it’s easier for an aspiring entrepreneur with technical skills to find a partner with business savvy than the other way around.
You’ll Build Technical Skills
Is a computer science degree worth it for tech entrepreneurs? Yes, it is, and here’s why. In Silicon Valley, developers are regarded much more highly than MBAs. Besides, these days, you’d be hard-pressed to build a successful tech startup without some technical skills of your own – today’s tech startup founders have strong technical backgrounds. That’s because, in the beginning, you’ll be responsible for doing the day-to-day programming, developing, and other computer tasks necessary to start and grow your business.
Yes, it’s true that as your business gets bigger, eventually you’ll need to transition to managing the people who perform those tasks. But, just as you can’t become a four-star general without knowing how to fire a rifle, you shouldn’t be leading a tech business without knowing how to do the tasks that your employees must do in their positions. While you can get quick-and-dirty lessons on business fundamentals via Google searches, reading business books, or even taking an occasional online course in business, you can’t learn computer science that way, at least not easily and quickly enough to keep up with your startup’s needs. A degree program is the best way to build the tech skills you’ll need.
It’ll Be Easier to Find a Business Partner With Complementary Skills
When you have a solid technical background, it’s much easier to find a business partner who can fill the gaps in your knowledge with his or her own skills and education in business, law, communications, accounting, or another related field. That’s because skilled computer scientists, developers, and programmers can always find a good job in Silicon Valley, so if you study business in the hopes of readying yourself for tech entrepreneurship, you’re going to be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a business partner with the technical skills you’ll need. Few developers and programmers want to put in the long hours a startup requires for the low pay a startup can offer – not when they can go just about anywhere else and make ridiculous amounts of money.
However, aspiring entrepreneurs with business degrees aren’t as highly regarded or in as much demand in the tech sphere, so if you’re the one with the technical skills, you’ll have your pick of business-savvy partners to choose from. And because there aren’t as many opportunities for individuals with business backgrounds, they’ll be more willing to work for a low startup salary or for equity in the business.
You’ll Always Have Something to Fall Back On
The sad truth of entrepreneurship is that lots of startups don’t succeed. If yours doesn’t make the cut, a computer science degree will give you the technical skills you’ll need to fall back on a successful career as a developer, programmer, or computer scientist. You’ll still be able to make a very comfortable living working for one of the many companies that need tech workers, whether or not you ultimately decide to try again with another business idea.
If you’re thinking of starting a tech business, but aren’t sure what degree to get, consider a major in computer science. A background in computer science will give you the solid technical background you’ll need to make your startup dreams come true, as well as providing a safety net in case they don’t.