Coding after 40?

Recently, I attended a local JavaScript meetup, and discovered that everyone there was half my age. This is hardly surprising. Many luminaries in our field seem to be in their twenties, and in many cases are a little younger. The grand old men(and women) of the web have for the most part have stepped away from coding and gracefully passed the torch to the next generation of web professionals.

But what about those of us who have chosen to start their careers in their 40’s, 50’s or later in life? What struggles do you face as someone in what appears to be a youth dominated job market? Tell me your story.

I recently found some references on this topic: Old Nerds, which includes the hopeful prognosis below.

I’ve been coding for a long time. Moved in and out of management but have always gravitated back to being an IC. Agreed, I think the youthful skew is because old farts like me tend to settle into those generally higher paying positions and don’t look back.

I can’t imagine just starting out though, at any age! The sheer volume of technologies along with the pace of change seems overwhelming. I interview a lot of programmers.There’s no way one person can be truely proficient at everything: Web, iOS, Android, middleware, TDD, BDD, database… And now you have to include DevOps and Cloud operations into the mix to prove youself.

IMO, your best bet is to become an expert in one focused area and have a good understanding of the peripheral technologies. If you are passionate about your craft your age shouldn’t make a difference. The right project and team will find you. Just don’t show them your playlist! :slight_smile:

Good luck!


Maybe it depends on the Meetup:
Pure coding is someting for students. Senior people you will find more on specific Meetups like for NodeJS, Angular, Meteor etc. Seniors most often relay on money. So you will find them in areas where the money is. Barebone FrontEndDevelopment most probably is not.

I started in my teens with BASIC, Perl, C, C++, COBOL & SQL and just dove in from there and tried to soak up everything I could and still do. I’m 45 now and enjoy a career I can put all my skills and what I have learned to the test.

I am in the process of rebuilding an entire software system for the company I work for, it’s in the early stages of development and not sure which way I am going to go just yet, but it is a challenge I cannot wait for.

One of my favorite quotes;

“Age and treachery beat youth and inexperience”

I started out designing websites using basic HTML and CSS, mostly for friends and family… then landed a couple of good jobs that helped get me by, this was back when MySpace was all the rage. Then I got a full time job in sales. I loved working with people and helping solve customer issues, only problem was it’s not the most financially rewarding career, which led to me working small freelance jobs designing Craigslist ads. When that fizzed down and I couldn’t land a good job that pays well I decided to go back to school, which I’m currently in my 3rd year, majoring in computer science.

I found out about freeCodeCamp online and felt very much in my comfort zone, wondering why I ever stopped coding. I know that I’m far from my 20’s, and yes sometimes I find it overwhelming as a lot has changed in the tech world, and continues to evolve, but I’m not fearful when it comes to being over powered by the more youthful crowd, if anything it’s the opposite, for I’m truly inspired by today’s youth and think there’s a lot that we can learn from each other. I’ve yet to attend a meet-up but always looking out for the next one close to where I live.

Shout Out!! To anyone who lives in or near the San Fernando Valley

I really appreciate your words of encouragement. Although I am only 39 and don’t really belong here :wink: Thank you for taking the time.