Which programming languages should business students learn?

Computer science really isn’t that scary.

Computer science is easy to learn for business students. When you think of computer science, you probably think of the hundred different program languages, front-end and back-end development, and machine learning. In reality, computer science is nothing more than communicating with computers using English.

The best part? Business students only need to learn the basics on a language because you will never need to use advanced programming skills in a business career. If you master the basics, it will boost your business skills greatly.


If a business student were to learn one programming language — it should be Python. Python is the best choice for business students because it can be used in many different scenarios:

  1. Data analysis: analyze millions of rows of data in ways that Excel can’t
  2. Automation: automate your work to save time
  3. Web scraping: take info from websites and convert into data
  4. Make a website: if you ever wanted to
  5. Machine learning: if you ever wanted to get crazy, Python is the top language in machine learning.

As you can see, Python is very versatile. It can be used to do just about everything in programming making it worth the investment to learn it.

How long does it take to learn?
No one knows everything in Python. Business students only need to know the basics of using Python for data analysis, automation, and maybe web scraping. Learning these should only take a business student 1–3 months depending on how much time they dedicate to it.


SQL is all about data. The business world has made a strong pivot to data. Many business jobs now require analysts to find, digest, and derive insights from data.

SQL is used to access data from a company’s database. A database is a very complex thing that business professionals will not need to know about but, business professionals will need to know how to pull data from a database using SQL.

How long does it take to learn?
It should not take more than one month of dedicated practice to learn SQL. Business professionals only need to learn the very basics of SQL since they will never be adding data or building databases.


You may have heard of VBA or ‘macros’ in Excel. VBA is simply computer programming inside of Microsoft Excel.

We would only recommend learning VBA if you are going to an investment banking or private equity role that uses Excel heavily. For most business analysts, you will not need to use VBA.

How long does it take to learn?
VBA will take longer to learn because it is not very intuitive. There really is no playbook for VBA so it does take about six months to a year of steady use to really learn it.

Because there is no playbook, the only real way to learn VBA is through using it daily — which is why only students interested in banking or high finance role should spend time learning it.

How do I start learning computer science?

We created the Computer Science for Business Program to teach students all three of these programming languages as they are the most important languages to use.

The program is an online, self-guided program that teaches the basics of Python, SQL, and VBA by allowing students to learn by doing. The program is unique from every other online class because it contains dozens of practice sets, focuses on real-world examples, and isn’t full of boring lectures.

Check out our course offerings here that also include free introductory classes.

The best way for business students to learn to code.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store