MSPs are probably best known for acting as the de facto IT departments for small to medium sized businesses. You deal with tasks like software updates, backups, and making sure the IT lights stay on, but there are ways for you to help your clients even more.

One idea is to learn how to code. If you can build some basic applications for your clients, you can increase your value proposition and make your company more essential to your client’s operations.

You might think that obtaining coding skills would be beyond your reach, or simply too expensive, but there are a number of free and low-cost learning tools available that can help you start coding.

Freecodecamp.org

As it says in the name, Freecodecamp.org (FCC) is free and teaches a lot of coding languages including Javascript, React, Python, and Java. These are languages in demand that will really increase your value in the job marketplace and with clients.

A programmer wrote about his experience on FCC in a Medium post in 2016, and how he learned some pretty advanced programming skills in a year. It wasn’t easy, but he was able to get certified and get a job as a programmer. According to the FCC website, his experience was not unique. In fact, more than 40,000 developers have been employed in programming jobs after completing these training courses. They have graduates working as coders at companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Spotify.

Using Javascript as an example, it starts you at an extremely high level and over time walks you through much more complex constructs. You can go as deep as you like, at your own pace — which means you could do this while completing your regular MSP tasks.

Free Code Camp Javascript intro lesson.

Code Academy

Another option is Code Academy, which offers free and paid options to learn different coding languages. The paid option is $19 per month and offers much more in-depth training, but the free option is designed to give you a starting point with coding and lets you see if you want to go further. According to the site’s FAQ:

“Pro [the paid option] provides you with hundreds of additional exercises, practice packs, and quizzes to help you sharpen your coding skills. Pro also contains real-world projects that train you to apply the skills you are learning in realistic scenarios.”

These are just two examples of the wide range resources that are available today online and in app stores to help you learn coding skills. You may not have to write full-blown programs for your clients, but the more skills you have, the more value you’ll have, and the more likely your clients will rely on you for more sophisticated IT tasks beyond pure maintenance.

TruMethods MSP Improvement Plan

Photo: Aksonsat Uanthoeng / Shutterstock

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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