It’s Not Too Late to Become a Software Developer After the Age of 35, 40, or 50: the TOP 10 True Great Success Stories

Is it too late to become a software developer after 35? Are 35, 40, or 50 too old to learn programming? Famous and ordinary programmers who started late Aimee Morgan, Clayton Boyle, Wendy Zenone, Bill Barnett, Tyson Daugherty, Sara Powell, Derek Langton, Pavol Almasi, Laurie Alaoui and others are ultimately showing by example that «it’s never too late to change career to do what you love or what you are passionate about».

It’s Not Too Late to Become a Software Developer After the Age of 35, 40, or 50: the TOP 10 True Great Success Stories


what is the commonality within all these “success” stories?

Aimee Morgan - prior college degree
Clayton Boyle - prior college degree
Wendy Zenone - prior college degree
Bill Barnett - prior college degree
Pavol Almasi - prior college degree
Derek Langton - prior college degree
Patricia Ehrhardt - prior college degree
Sara Powell - prior college degree
Tyson Daugherty - prior college degree
Laurie Alaoui - prior college degree


Almost all of those degrees are in fields completely divorced from programming or computer science, though. There are many possible reasons for the correlation.

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yeah, I’m sure. But where are the non-degree holders in this list?

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I relate to your point and understand your bitterness (it also often seems individuals who’ve successfully transitioned to Tech’ were successful in some other field).

But I have to point out that half of the individuals on this list do not necessarily have degrees: state trooper, restaurant manager/real estate agent, aesthetician (that’s skin care and products, from my understanding), aircraft mechanic (often a certificate program), acupuncturist…

EDIT: I didn’t open the links to their LinkedIn profiles before. D’oh.

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That’s a good question. You could ask the author about their selection criteria. I’d be interested in their answer. I noticed that all of the subjects have a LinkedIn account, so maybe the author used LinkedIn’s API to search for programmers over 30. If so, it may be possible to filter out other criteria, like college degrees.

It’s worth noting that not all of them say they have degrees, just some college experience. Some may have dropped out, but since that’s not the most self-affirming thing to put on a resume, they omit that part from their profile.

Stack Overflow likes data. According to their online survey, about 35% of respondents do not have university degrees in computer science or a related field. What percentage of that cut has no degree whatsoever? I’m as interested in the answer as you are. I have a degree in linguistics myself, and while I love the subject, it hasn’t done much to get me a job (if anything, it has held me back because paying student loans restricts many of my options). It could be argued that my lifestyle of continued learning in college and beyond has developed my studying skills and self-confidence, which would privilege me in learning new job skills, but the degree itself is just a piece of paper sitting in my dresser drawer.

I’m just rambling at this point. You’ve made an interesting observation.


lol … I was just about to point that out … :wink:

I guess some might miss the point of the article. Point is, like most things in life, you receive what you put into it. It doesn’t matter at what age you start any career or anything. If you don’t put your full attention and energy into it. You won’t be successful.

My example, I have about 3 plus years of college in Information Systems Management. I landed my first real Junior developer job when I was about 40 years old. When I was about 42 years old, I landed a job between Junior and Mid Developer Level. On my Team, I have least amount of programming experience, but I have the most versatile experience in a lot of IT related things. I have always been the Jack-Of-All-Trades kind of person.

On my Team, my co-workers are between 32 years old and 75 years old. So, it doesn’t matter your age. If you want to get into Development, you have be motivated, work hard and never stop learning.

I started learning code in 2014 at the age of 46 after returning from working abroad (Africa).

So now in the <50> and still learning, between having to do a full time job. Where will it lead me…? Perhaps it’ll stay as a hobby or I’ll take the plunge and study full time. I could, if wanted, take 6 months off to study further.

I believe any company needs a diversity in employees. I’ve a rich background: military, sales manager, desert nature guide (Africa) and commercial pilot.

Does the age thing bother me… NO!


I’m 44 and consider that I am only halfway through my working life. Therefore plenty of time to learn and use my new development skills.



In case anyone is curious-
google translate of lilinjie’s post

I am a 27-year-old python programming beginner and always feel that I am too old. After listening to the stories of all of you, I feel that I can still do it. Keep learning.

27 is not old! I am over 50 and just finished a bootcamp earlier this year. I don’t know if my age is hampering finding any job but I’m still trying!

(I’m American and used google… don’t know Chinese :slight_smile: )