How Codecademy turned from an idea into a business

(MoneyWatch) Think learning to code or building your own website seems out of reach? Think again, say Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski. Two years ago, as students at Columbia University, Sims and Bubinski founded Codecademy with the goal of teaching anyone with an internet connection (no computer science degree necessary) to code. Today, nearly a million people are learning JavaScript, HTML, CSS, JQuery and Python through Codecademy's web-based programming tutorials. Zach Sims joins The Startup to answer that burning question: Wait, why should I learn to code?

Rebecca Jarvis: What were you doing before you started your company?

Zach Sims: I was a student at Columbia. I worked for a few startups before (drop.io, which sold to Facebook. After that, ended up working in venture capital at AOL's venture arm, AOL Ventures. Then was one of the first people to work at GroupMe which ended up selling to Skype).

RJ: How long did it take to turn your idea into a business?

ZS: My cofounder and I had been working together on building products for a while, so turning Codecademy from idea into an initial product took only a few weeks.

RJ: What's your number one piece of advice to entrepreneurs?

ZS: Cut down on the time from idea to execution -- we built something we needed so we still use the product on a regular basis. That makes it easier for us to design features and think about the product.

RJ: If you could ask one person for advice, who would it be and what would you ask?

ZS: I've become really fascinated by workplaces that employees love working in. I think it's rare to create a demanding culture of excellence combined with something where people really enjoy working together. It's also really hard to do that as a company scales. I think Jeff Bezos appears to have mastered this pretty well.

RJ: Are you hiring? How do you get hired by a start-up?

ZS: We're definitely hiring (and basically always are). We want people that are independent and self-starters. It's easiest to get hired by working on and creating awesome side projects and proving your worth before you even get started at a company.

For more on Codecademy visit their website.

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