Does CEO of a tech company need to know programming?
For tech startups, there are usually only a few people at their early stage. To complete all the coding work in a short period time, it often requires that every one of the team including the CEO knows something about programming so that they can help complete the tense work as soon as possible. But does the CEO of other tech companies also need to know programming?
As the CEO of a company, it's not necessary that they have to know about programming. The main job of CEO is to coordinate all the business of the company and deal with external business such as shareholders and potential investors. They only need to have an understanding about their products. But it's definitely an add-on if they know about programming. They can benefit from knowing programming.
They would get a better interval view about their products. They can intuitively understand what is going on around them. Also they can develop the strategy with a more clear thought. Although they might have specialists to help, it is their final call as the "commander-in-chief". Moreover, they will appear more confident in their judgment since they understand the stuff in a broader sense, and this confidence can be noted by other stakeholders.
Inside the company they may get immense respect from the employees if they do know how to program. At Microsoft, Bill Gates has 10X more prestige than Ballmer who has never coded. Instagram's Kevin Systrom learned coding although he was a marketer before. Think of a ship captain who can neither swim nor steer the wheel. Will his crew respect him? People at the lowest levels always like their leaders to be connected to their reality instead of just talking the talk.
Software is becoming more and more important to the operation of many companies especially those tech companies. They can largely improve the efficiency and reduce the need of manual intervention of production. Just a few months ago, many famous people such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg encouraged young people to learn programming in an video. So hurry up, let's programming.
According to Chris Dixon, Every Unix command eventually become an internet service. Grep->Google, rsync->Dropbox, man->stack overflow, cron->ifttt ... sudo is NSA, LOL