Building a technical foundation as a non-technical founder

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Building a technical foundation as a non-technical founder

It might surprise you to know that many startup founders consider themselves to be non-technical people. For example, Airbnb’s co-founder Brian Chesky was an industrial designer when he first hit on the idea of renting out people’s homes for money.

Non-technical founders can build great technology companies. With the cloud becoming more accessible to all skill levels, you typically only need to know the basics to get started. The trick is to keep learning, cultivate strategic partnerships, and build on your technical foundation, regardless if you’re a beginner or a pro.

Seeking a helping hand

When it comes to building a startup on the cloud, one of the best ways to begin is to ask for help.

Typically, there are two ways this happens. First, many founders seek out someone with technical skills to join them early in their journey, often as a technical co-founder, with the two working closely together to translate the idea into a cloud-hosted reality.

The other path is for the non-technical founder to hire a team of developers to get them started or to partner with a professional services partner. This is often cheaper than employing people directly and is especially useful for testing out whether a new idea is viable, but obviously relies on you having some initial funding to cover costs.

The reason why these two paths work is that the startup community is filled with people who want to help and are looking for opportunities to work on the Next Big Thing.

Giving startups a boost

At Amazon Web Services (AWS), our startup team’s deep connections into the community mean we are often making recommendations and introductions, as well as holding events that can bring technical and non-technical people together.

With this goal in mind, in 2021 we began testing out a new program called StartBoost, which pairs non-technical founders with AWS consulting partners. This credit can pair with AWS Activate credits, which could help you test out a new idea through building a minimum viable product (MVP).

Building technical skills

Another path founders take is to simply gain some of the technical skills they need to build their idea. We offer an extensive range of online learning and development options – many of which are free – that are designed to build the skills of even novice cloud users, including:

  • Our startup team hosts regular AWS Partner Network Immersion Days and other workshops that provide opportunities to both ask questions and share experiences with other startup founders.
  • AWS Amplify offers a set of purpose-built tools and features that let frontend web and mobile developers quickly and easily build full-stack applications on AWS. With Amplify, as your requirements (and skills) grow, it is easy to migrate your startup onto more sophisticated and powerful solutions.
  • Amplify Studio is a visual interface that allows developers to build and run complete web and mobile apps in just hours. With Amplify Studio, you can quickly build an app backend, create rich user interface components, and connect a user interface to the backend.
  • Our startup support program, Activate, also features numerous programs to help founders get started. The Build on AWS program, for instance, helps you build your infrastructure on AWS in minutes by providing you with a collection of infrastructure templates and reference architectures covering a wide variety of solutions curated specifically for startups.
  • With the AWS Builders' Toolbox, even founders with a basic technical knowledge can quickly skill up to build more complicated solutions.

Taking the first step

Building a cloud startup can seem daunting, but it is good to remember that everyone is born non-technical, and everything that even the best software coders know is something they have learned.

Now that you’re equipped with the combination of community support, free learning and development opportunities, and a set of technology tools that are becoming progressively easier to use, building a cloud-based startup is now in reach of even the most non-technical founder.

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