From Non-Technical to CTO, Part 2

Nick Jensen
2 min readMay 20, 2021


How a guy that always wanted to build SaaS products found a way to make it happen.

CTO — Learning to Code

I faced a real challenge finding dependable developers that will work within a startup founder’s minimal budget. There is a good reason for this.

Most developers worth their salt will have a well paying job and not want to stare at code in their off time. The solid freelancers have higher than you might be able to afford in the early stages of your product.

The biggest challenge is that developers don’t want to take the risk of building something and not getting paid.

Most of the time this leaves a want-to-be founder drifting in the wind and not knowing how to get their product to market. They turn to offshore development through sites like UpWork, but only to waste money on a half built product that doesn’t function as desired.

Having experiencing these challenges, I set out to learn to build my own products.

There were a few major frameworks that I could follow to reach my goals: Laravel or Ruby on Rails. Both have large communities and many ways to get started learning and building quickly.

After exploring both frameworks, I began my developing journey with Laravel. The documentation and learning paths available were clear and PHP made sense to my brain.

After a month, I launched my first web application that connected a few APIs similar to the way Zapier works. It had basic authentication and billing automation available so that a user could sign up and leverage the code I compiled in their business.

Start from the beginning? You can find Part 1 of my journey here:



Nick Jensen

Founder of Maker Ops and CTO of a Fortune 5000 company that enjoys talking about the outdoors, running, coding, and building products.