I am 25 years old. Am I too old to start a career in programming?

I am 25 and I am about to get my degree in Biotechnology. I love my career and I am pretty good at it, but everday I wish I would had started a career in CS. In fact, when I was 19 and start to think which career I wanted to study, I almost chose CS, but I came acrosse with the wrong people who told me that this career doesn’t have good job opportunities.

If I start my career this year, luckly I will be 30 when I get my degree. I will have to work while I study so it won’t be easy.

So, what are the possibilties of getting your first job in CS at the age of 30? Should I start studying for a degree? Or should I study on my own and try to make my way without a degree?

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It’s never too late to start a career in programming. In fact is one of the areas where you can see people from all ages and all career that wanted a change.
Do what you think is better for you, do you need a degree for programming? Because nowadays that it’s not even a must. Most people are self-taught or only have some bootcamp-training, that are not longer than 1 year.
First, try to study on your own and check some bootcamps or online courses. Try to see if that suits you.

In my personal experience, I started in programming at 27, now I’m 28 but happily I already have 2 jobs in programming :slight_smile: and its really cool and I like it a lot.

Keep going!
Cheers

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I just turned 25 and started coding 3 months ago. :smile:

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PS: Forgot to mention it. Of course you’ll need years to fully understand or be really good in coding. But the good thing is that you’re learning all the time even at starting a job!

It’s about having challenges all the time and you’ll meet people who can be your mentor in your first steps. So there’s a lot of advantages if you really like it.
Read some post about this topic in Freecodecamp or Medium, there’s many people who talk about their experience that can help you get motivated

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I started when I was 26 and I’ve been coding successfully for 3 years now! I have a job at a reputable company where I program daily! Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything about when I started. I can imagine that 26 was the perfect time for me because I had tried a variety of other professions earlier in my life/career and this one is the one that has stuck. It is the most interesting and I think now I have the maturity to not take it for granted!

My experience has been that people are definitely still willing to give feedback and help others out regardless of their age! I have never faced any negative critique about my age but even if I did, there are so many coding communities and people out there in the world that you should never accept anyone’s negative feedback as the only opinion.

There are people in my company who are 50+ and still in programming roles, so it is clearly something you can continue throughout your life! I think if you believe you can do it, you absolutely definitely can do it.

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youre only 25 dude. youre still young enough to be on your parents health insurance plan

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I’m a 34 year old graphic designer and have just started learning to code. Its never too late!

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Luckily, we don’t all become invalids after undergrad :slight_smile: it’s never too late to try something new!

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I think it’s pretty obvious that the resounding answer is “No”. It would be “no” if you were 50 and at 25 it’s “Oh hell no”.
Is there something in particular that you are uncomfortable with that makes you think it’s not a good time for you to learn to code?

I’m about to scoff at the idea of a 25-year-old asking if it’s too late for a career change, but I think the real question here is around this:

Should I start studying for a degree? Or should I study on my own and try to make my way without a degree?

Well for one, you already have (or soon will have) a degree in an advanced tech field, and that’s not for nothing. Another will certainly burnish your credentials, but you’d want to weigh that against the cost and the time it’d take, and from my perspective, there’s some real diminishing returns there. In the USA at least, the tech industry is a lot more concerned with experience than they are with degrees; as long as you have the ability, you can have a lucrative career in the field without ever having stepped foot in college.

To step back and see the degree question from a more generic perspective: do you want to study programming or computer science? The first is something you can easily study on your own, and there are oodles of resources (including a great one right here) to teach you. The way the majority of schools teach programming, I’d consider a degree a waste of money that’s obsolete the moment you have it in your hand. The second, CS, is a set of highly abstract maths that underlie all the logic in programming, but involves little actual software being written. Obviously there’s overlap, but the focuses are vastly different. Programming has more career opportunities than ever before, whereas pure CS remains an academic discipline as any pure science field tends to be. CS unlocks the top tiers of programming jobs for sure, but it’s a tougher row to hoe, especially if you’re learning it on your own.

BTW, I love my programming career, but a good chunk of me wishes I’d followed my younger brother’s path and studied art instead. Then again, I’m comfortably paying the mortgage on the house I share with my artist brother, so…

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I hold a different perspective that I’ll chirp in with.
Depending on what type of programming you want to do, the broader curriculum of a good Computer Science degree is beneficial (or even necessary). I’ve gotten opportunities to do some really cool stuff that absolutely does require a high level understanding of the advanced math topics. In my career I’ve also gotten use out of my courses in database design, software project management, design and analysis of algorithms, and computational languages and automata. @JeremyLT works on a library for supercomputers and has to know a terrifying amount about math, chip architecture, and compiler design. Even though I currently do web development, I am very glad for the opportunities opened up by the breadth as well as the depth of my degree (and I actually couldn’t be working in the specific field that I am without it).

But a bachleor’s degree is not career training. If your main goal is to get career-ready in a programming career that doesn’t require that coursework, then for a non-traditional student a CS degree may not be worth the time and cost.

When I was about your age I decided to get a second degree in Computer Science. Because I already had a degree, I only had to do the coursework that was specific to my major, so I was able to do it in less time and more cheaply. I was able to attend a good program relatively inexpensively. I was also able to work in the field while I was in school, so I didn’t accrue debt and I don’t feel like I really “lost time” in my career progression. I don’t regret my choice but it was difficult, stressful, and would not be the right path for everyone looking to change careers.

Whether you want to learn for free, at a bootcamp, or in a traditional program, I suggest really taking the time to figure out where you want to go with this and making your decision based on a plan to get there.

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I believe there is excellent advice already posted but I wanted to touch upon a specific angle here you should consider:

  1. You will already have a biotechnology degree, which is impressive upon itself.
  2. Your thinking about starting a career in programming

Have you thought about combining both of these two points to increase your odds of starting your career? Simple put having a degree automatically puts you above those that don’t have any degree, even if its in a “irrelevant” field. The next question is more about experience and knowledge, which going back for a CS degree gives you some, but not that much.

For example you could go spend 2 years building applications, and gaining tons of experience and come out better than if you spend 2 years going back to school to get a CS degree. (not even considering how much money that costs) Yes you’d need to figure out how to build all that stuff on your own, and where and what to build, but its worth thinking about.

I don’t consider a “programming career” to be one of those professions that has a well defined path to career success. The awesome part of tech is its everywhere, affects almost every industry and thus employees a wide variety of people. Regardless of where you start, there is always a path to get into tech. With what you currently have (a degree in biotech) you could easily leverage that to get further and thus its better than “starting from scratch” at 25.

Maybe getting a CS degree and “starting” at 30 is what path you take, or biting the bullet and learning on your own in a shorter amount of time while spending less money. Then leveraging your existing degree to get into a specific position that leverages your existing skills. No path is the right way, or is there an age that is a cutoff. The choice is yours, goodluck :smiley:

I am almost 29 years old and decided to transitioned into CS about one year and half ago.

What does it mean it is too late? It will be only too late for you, it all depends on your attitude. I met people who studied with me and they were above 30 years old and some of them were even above 40 yo so it is not too late! I wish I knew what I wanted to do when I was 19 years old but that was not the case. But I know what I want from life, from a career and what makes me happy. Some people work their whole life in a dead-end job so I consider myself lucky that I discovered what my interest is. You are saying you like your job so just make sure you will enjoy programming as much as your current job.

It is OK mate. Don’t worry about age. I am 29 and just started to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
I am not much into the field yet but from what I’ve read and heard, can say, that you do not need a degree. Just learn the skills and find the right people to show them .

I started my programming career at 40! It was always a dream of mine to work with computers. I was fortunate that my employer took a chance on me, transferred me to the IT department, and is willing to provide on the job training. I also spend my free time learning everything I can about coding.

You’re never too old to learn and pursue your dreams. :slight_smile: Good luck!

If you want something bad enough… Only you can get in your way. I believe you can do it and age doesn’t matter as you are consistent and determined.

Only someone 25 years old is “young and stupid” enough to ask that question.

I’m a 37 year old community college dropout. I just started at Google as an engineer. No, you’re no too old. Don’t waste any time thinking like this. Keep learning, growing, creating and grinding.

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