I am 40 years old. Is it too late to start a career in software development?


#1

Hi,
)
I come from a different background (music) and would like to switch to software development (for many reasons - the main ones being money and love of ocmputers.

I have been using computers (windows, linux) for most of my life in one way or another.

I am currently 40 years old. Is it too late for me to start a career in software development?
(I'm looking at all the 20 somethings and feel a bit out of place and not competitive enough).

Any feedback would be appreciated.
Thanks,

  • Jay

Employment Prospects For 50+ Year-Old Newbie?
Starting a Web Development Career at 30?
Older Campers at FCC
Am i too old to become good at coding/programming?
#2

If not now, then when? You are only going to get older :).

Seriously, if you don't go for it now, not only will you always be thinking "what if I did...", but two years down the line, when you feel like you want to give it a go again, you will be two years older than you are now. And believe me, you will keep wanting to give it a go, some things just don't go away.

Programming is one of these things that no matter how old you are, if you get good at it, nothing can stop you. A lot of it is done remotely, so people won't even know how old you are unless you tell them. And even if you do tell them, your age and past experiences will work in your favour - you can always turn them into advantages. At least that's how I see it.

I'm not that much younger than you (35), I have 3 kids and the career of a housewife. I've got a psychology degree and I used to have a really good job before, but that all changed when the kids came. And now I'm fed up with being dependent on others, and while I love my family, it's time to do my own thing. A number will not stop me. And neither should it stop you.


#3

Hi Jay,

I'm 40 years old too and working my way through the FreeCodeCamp course. I don't know but, think that there is a requirement for lots of developers and not enough people to fill the positions.

I wouldn't let the age thing get in the way. To become a coder requires dedication and a practical mind. If you have both I would give it your best shot.

I'm really enjoying the course especially the first module on front end development. I've done a little development work before so I could get through that pretty quickly but, the next module, where the lessons are not complete yet are far more challenging.

I believe if you have the skills age is irrelevant. I'm hoping to finish the course, have a nice portfolio and become a full time developer. I hope you decide to do the same. :slight_smile:

Nick


#4

Another 40-year old here!

I started FCC the day after my 40th birthday last August because I also want to change careers. As zk433 said we're not getting any younger and there's no time like the present.

Plenty of time left to start a new career, we're all probably going to be working into our 70's anyway so we're not even half way through our working lives now, if like me you went into higher education and started working in your 20's. And as already mentioned we have some work and life experience that all these young'uns don't.

Go for it, otherwise you'll be thinking 'if only...' in 5 years time


#5

I'm 42 not too late to learn code. :slight_smile:


#6

Jay,

I've got 5 years and some change on you! I actually started learning at age 40, joined a small web development team shortly after that, and even had some other job offers from other places, but alas I got sucked back into my old career (print production for magazines) until the dismal state of the magazine publishing industry brought me back here 5 years later. I was still building the odd website here and there while working in print, and even learning some javascript and jquery along the way but I never seriously got back on the learning track until now. It does seem like there are quite a few people over the age of 40 here learning to code with excellent results (see the happy camper stories, there should be at least a couple of people there), so I'm encouraged by that, and I hope you are too!


#7

41 here! I sure hope it's not too late for us.


#8

I agree with the contributors above. It was very motivating and enlightening to read the stories above.

In my opinion it is never too late to begin doing something you are interested in. Despite the fact I am 24 now, I aim to learn something new every day and I will keep that up even as I get older. As @barooahn pointed out, your success depends NOT on your age or skills, but on your motivation and determination. On top of that, probably you have already skills in other fields (in your case music), which might seem very different, but surely you can find a way to combine that with coding :slight_smile:

Personally, I learned a lot about these things from this book, The Clean Coder by Robert C. Martin. You could start by reading the first three chapters, they changed my mindset a lot.

"Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today."
Benjamin Franklin


#9

Hey @jaytsecan no it is not too late at all. Myself I am 56 and learning development as a new career path, and I have no doubts that I will find employment. Come join the chat group at 40PlusDevs , its a quite room, not a lot of chatter... Have a look at some of these stories.

Here is an answer from Quincy himself: Quincy Larson - Is it too late for an X-year-old to learn how to program?


#10

Hello jaytsecan,
I sure hope not as I'm 53 but glad you asked. :grinning:

Reading through the replies, I found one from user as seen below:

I plan on joining this myself. Hope to see you there !!


#11

I'm 46 and getting back in. It's been 25-30+ years since I started with my VIC-20 in middle school and DEC VAX timeshare in high school.

Life took me in a different direction than coding for quite a while, but I always enjoyed it. So, I'm diving back in. Who knows if it'll end up as a career or not?

Maybe this saying attributed as a Chinese Proverb would work for the instant random (you know what I mean) quote machine, but it works well here, too:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb


#12

Thank you guys for your replies - gives me some hope.

I will be dropping in to the 40PlusDevs chat group and hope to see you'll there.


#13

I'm 44 and although I had a short incursion into coding 15 years ago when I started a computer science degree, I struggled, eventually dropped out and have since steered clear of coding.

I decided to learn front end development about 6 months ago and since then have wondered the same thing. Am I too old to realistically start a career in web development now?

It's good to see some positive answers here and good to be part of a community where there's older coders.

I will also be calling into the 40PlusDevs chat group.


#14

Round up a bunch of people and make the next Instagram. The sky is the limit with these skills. I would suggest looking into UX Design along with coding, an exploding job market there too. Just learn all you can regardless of age.


#15

Sorry but that is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in ages!! You are never too old for anything (almost).


#16

I'm 40 this year and just started my path to a career change (I hope) and starting with FCC. So, no never too late!


#17

It's never too late to start learning programming, and you shouldn't feel discouraged by the average age of software developers nowadays. Software development is all about knowledge and if you are qualified for a job, then age won't be an issue. Start learning from freecodecamp and everything else will come along nicely!


#18

Ok - so the real fear I have of being an older than average developer is this :

  1. If my skill level is the same as someone who is younger, why would a potential employer want to hire me? They could probably get away with paying the younger developer less. OR they might prefer the younger developer because he/she is young blood and hungrier (you know what I mean - willing to work longer hours due to more energy AND/OR fewer responsibillities at this stage of their life)

  2. How does an older developer compete with a younger developer (assuming same skill level)? i.e. what is it that I can contribute that will differentiate me from the younger developer and give me an edge? What skills/attitude, etc. should I strive for to make the gap less and make me more attractive to a potential employer?

  3. Due to the above reasons (and experiences of one of my friends who is an older developer (50+) but has been developing for over a decade), I do feel that there is some minor amount of "ageism" in the software industry. Yes, maybe outfits like "Google,facebook, internet startups, kickstarter startups, etc." may not be the environment for the average older developer, but I do feel there are more (maybe smaller) companies out there that are preferable for the avg. older developer.

Note: The above are only my biased feelings - I don't have any hard data to back up the above statements)

Maybe what I really need is "to have a more positive attitude and be more focused"::relieved::smiley:


#19

Just for fun, let's be pessimistic and assume that you're right and that there IS prevalent ageism in the industry. Even if 80% of the companies out there dismissed you out of hand because of your age and don't even want to look at you, so what? That leaves 20% out there that are open to hiring you, or even prefer it. It's not necessarily true (just like the assumptions about younger people aren't necessarily true), but there are some people out there who think us old guys are more mature and more laid-back. LOL. Also, you DO bring in with you a lot of work experience, life experience and wisdom that applies anywhere. Not everyone can appreciate that but there are some who do. And that's not to mention what you've learned about development. If you stay focused and keep learning, you'll eventually get to the point where you can say you really know your sh*t. Some of those younguns will know more than you and some will know less. In that regard, you'll be more qualified than some and less than others (duh, right? lol). Sorry, my point is that if the company values your skills and your capabilities at all, then that aspect puts you above many of the young people that just started out and still have a long way to go to catch up to you.

And if you find yourself thinking that your age is a disadvantage, don't get discouraged. It's like picking up a 25-year-old. Ignore all the ones that think you're an old perv. Your goal isn't to get THEM interested in you, it's to find the ones that already are. LOL.


#20

Hi Jay,
I always wanted to code, but started another career in Biology because counselors told us there were no future for programers back then. Now here I am at 50, went back to school for a Bac in Computer Science at 47. I started freeCodeCamp in May of 2016. Not lucky on the job hunt yet, alot more people looking than jobs here. I am starting to get second thoughts but I am not giving up yet. All your stories are giving me hope.
Thanks