There is a level of complexity that cannot be built without learning about the technology, not at any price. Technology is a funny thing, there is a point where throwing money at the problem cannot substitute for actually knowing the technology. I would say in the last 10 years, this effect has become even more powerful than it was before.
It's pretty common for people to try to start technology-based businesses by hiring programmers, but that fails because if you don't understand the technology, you can't control the programmer's work. Programming is a peculiar craft. There are no discipline where the information asymmetry is larger. When a programmer tells you "I promise I'll be ready next week", you have no way to verify whatsoever, unless you have significant technology training yourself.
If you have trusted technology friends on board, then you are good to go. So long as you don't need to hire programmers, you're golden.
There are three paths forward for non-techies:
- Associate yourself with trusted techie friends who believe in you and will work alongside of you (you can't be their boss.)
- Start brainstorming ideas for businesses that aren't so tech-heavy.
- Learn a lot of tech.
The good news is, as a 2nd reason for why programming is a peculiar craft, it is actually possible to learn how to program at a professional-level without taking classes. But not everyone can pull it off. So, if you are going to take a course, get the most out of your money. Which means, try to learn as much programming as possible on your own before starting the course.
- Try Ruby
- Code Academy
- How can I learn to program in Python (at Quora)
- Khan Academy's programming course
If you are in for the long term, and you want a principled, in-depth, Computer-Science-y approach, then learn with Racket as a starter language, then transfer to a popular pro language.