Tech Entrepreneur: Technical Knowledge Required?

Here’s everything about technical knowledge being required to become a tech entrepreneur:

There is no specific checklist that you can follow to become a tech entrepreneur.

That said, very common topics include coding, accounting, engineering, math, wireframing, technical writing, and analysis.

Depending on your company, there are countless other topics you might need to study in order to succeed.

So if you want to learn all about the skill areas needed to succeed as a tech entrepreneur, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

Tech Entrepreneur: Technical Knowledge Required? (7 Areas)

What Technical Knowledge Do You Need to Become a Tech Entrepreneur? (7 Areas)

To be completely honest, there is no specific set of technical knowledge that you need to be a tech entrepreneur.

The truth is that this path is different for everyone, and whether or not you succeed has to do with a whole lot more than what you know going in.

The entire point of entrepreneurship is that you are inventing the business in the first place.

The knowledge you have right now is what you need to get started.

But, if your startup exists in the tech space, then there are some concepts that are bound to come up at least a little.

And if you have a foundation of knowledge in these areas, it will be a lot easier to tackle whatever comes your way.

#1 Coding

When do you think about tech entrepreneurs, who comes to mind? Steve Jobs? Jeff Bezos? Elon Musk? Bill Gates?

There’s something all of those people have in common.

They made their way by building tech companies, and all of them were heavily involved in software development to get there.

Now, you don’t have to be a software engineer, or even a programmer, to develop amazing tech products or resources.

But, knowing how coding works will certainly help a lot.

Modern tech runs on well-written code, so if you understand coding, at the very least, you will be better able to direct your own programmers.

Even if you want to invent some cool technology, it’s probably going to have programming tied to it somewhere.

So, coding knowledge is very useful. 

#2 Accounting and Bookkeeping

On a completely different note, every startup still has to manage money.

You need to be able to keep track of funds and expenses, and you need to be able to manage your money effectively.

Even if you are able to hire professional accountants and bookkeepers, if you don’t have a strong fundamental understanding of money management, you’re going to struggle to build a successful business.

It’s essential knowledge, and it can be pretty technical.

It’s worth taking the time and energy to learn about money management.

When you do, you can make better use of the advice you get from your accountants and money managers.

More importantly, if you don’t already have enough money to hire specialists for money management, then you have to do it yourself.

You want to know enough that you don’t run the business into the ground before it has a chance to really succeed.

#3 Math

You do not need a Ph.D. in math just to be an entrepreneur.

You don’t even need to know advanced mathematical concepts for a lot of entrepreneurial projects.

But, some math is inevitable when you run a business or start a project.

In general, you need to be able to balance your resources, and this is about more than just money.

Every aspect of managing a business ultimately boils down to resource allocation.

Do you have enough people working on each aspect of a project?

Do you have enough space?

Do you have the raw materials you need to build a prototype?

There are a lot of ways that your startup will use resources, and math is what empowers you to keep track of it all and manage it successfully.

If you learn more math along the way, it will only help you.

You might notice that this advice is true for more than just tech entrepreneurs.

You’re right, but this is still a technical topic you might have to tackle for your tech startup.

#4 Engineering

If you want to be a tech entrepreneur, then it means you want to innovate the tech space in some way.

That might be a software product, a new hardware system, or even just a service.

Regardless of your specific goals, your plans will inevitably involve the design of something new.

When it comes to design, engineering is indispensable.

You don’t necessarily need an engineering degree in your industry, but a cursory understanding of engineering principles can help guide your mission.

Software and computer engineering specialties will come up the most in the technology space, but any amount of engineering can inform you with ideas related to design and testing, and that knowledge can only help you move forward.

#5 Writing

This one surprises a lot of entrepreneurs, but technical writing skills are essential, and they come up a lot.

At a minimum, you’re going to have to create written descriptions of your products, services, and/or systems.

Those write-ups can help you pitch to investors or explain how you want things done to subordinates. 

You’re also going to spend endless time dealing with emails and other written messages.

It’s just how this kind of business operates.

Technical writing skills will help you along the way, largely because they involve a lot more than just spelling and grammar.

Technical writing techniques help you focus your writing content so that it is clear, understandable, and efficient.

This is a skill that you will want to develop as an entrepreneur, and you might need to study it as a part of that development.

#6 Wireframing

For those unfamiliar, wireframing is the ability to conceptualize a process for building technical products and/or services.

In other words, wireframing is the essential job done by the entrepreneur.

Even if you can hire specialists for all of the individual tasks that go into your startup, you have to supply the vision.

But, wireframing is about more than just having a good idea.

It’s the skill set that helps you translate your idea into a plan of action that can actually develop something new and useful.

If any of this sounds strange or foreign, then spending some time learning more about wireframing will likely do you a lot of good.

In tech spaces, wireframing can also describe a tool or strategy that acts as a blueprint for a website. 

This is also a useful skill as it can help you organize online resources for your startup.

#7 Analysis

Lastly, every tech startup needs good analysis to steer the ship.

Once again, you can outsource a lot of the detailed analysis that will be necessary to remove your products or services and help you make corrections.

But, you need to know enough about analysis to make use of that information.

An analysis is not always intuitive, and knowing some of the techniques and systems used for it can be very illuminating.

Beyond that, analysis is like any other essential role for a tech startup.

If you can’t afford to hire a specialist, then you have to do the job.

That means you need analytical knowledge in order to fill that void.

Without that knowledge, you largely have to guess as to how well your products work or how successful your company is at any moment.

What Non-Technical Knowledge Do You Need? (2 Things)

The original question is about the technical knowledge that is usually attached to tech entrepreneurship, but the truth is that there are other concepts that are still important.

These ideas aren’t specific to tech startups, but you need to know how they work in order to succeed.

Also, they’re not necessarily technical concepts, but they can feel pretty technical if you are learning about them for the first time.

Ultimately, I could put a lot of things on a list like this, but I’m going to keep it simple and narrow it all down to two things: personnel management, and business regulations.

#1 Personnel Management

Are you going to start your business all by yourself?

You’re going to do 100% of the work and never hire a contracting business or employee at any point?

That’s going to be rough, and despite your solitude, you still need to know personnel management.

This involves the skills and knowledge tied to getting people to do what you need them to do.

It’s about more than just issuing orders and expecting results.

Personnel management helps you communicate clearly and identify how to organize a business in a way that helps people carry out their day jobs.

So, even if you’re the only person in the business, you still have to manage yourself.

Personnel management knowledge (and skills) really can help with self-management.

And, naturally, if you ever plan to hire someone, then knowing better ways to lead them and help them succeed can’t possibly hurt.

#2 Business Laws and Regulations

Here’s the thing about startups.

They’re businesses, and that means they are subject to all of the rules and regulations that apply to any business.

This knowledge is not specific to technology, but it’s essential for a tech entrepreneur.

As a starting point, you need to know how to register your business.

It’s not the most difficult thing in the world to learn, but you’re going to be forced to think about tax structures, a business plan, business hierarchy, and all of the things you have to write out when you register your business.

For your startup to be treated as a business entity, you have to go through those hoops, and you need knowledge to navigate it.

As you develop the business, you’ll find that you come across more and more regulations.

If you fail to stay ahead of them, you could face debilitating fines or worse, so this knowledge is a priority.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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