Loosing faith in web development as 'serious' long term employment (located in central EU)

Currently struggling with an important life decision I have to make. I finally got an job opportunity as a webdev at a nice company here in my town. I am in my 40s.

Thanks to freecodecamp and many other resources, I have been learning and applying webdev on an self employed/freelancer basis and love doing it.

A close family member died 4 months ago and I got a shock about getting old and I applied for a full-time sysadmin job, which I am doing right now. Its for a government institution and it seems, if I wont fuck up, I can have this job till my retirement. So doing all kind of Microsoft, Active Directory and phone support for 1.6k coworkers here.

Some weeks ago I got an email from a company I applied for 1y ago. They had a open position now, and after 2 interviews, they offered me a job, as a webdev, where salary is >30% higher compared to my current job and has many other benefits. The job, I always dreamed of…

Also from the social standpoint the new company would be a better fit, because I am more of the sensible coder guy, who likes academic background - and frankly - sysadmin teams really have very rude ways of interacting. I feel like I work on a submarine, a prison or at military service (only males on the team). Coding/Development world is much more self reflective and has made tremendous improvements in work environment and how you deal with your colleagues.

The only thing, that is holding me back is the feeling, that I am not sure if web development will be a job opportunity for the next years. Everything can be outsources into East Europe eg., where young coders are doing a very good job. Or the company could be sold/go bankrupt.
I also got very strong imposter syndrome. I had to substitute a person on the new job, whose name is on that wall: https://reactjs.org/acknowledgements.html

Is webdev only something for young people, aged 20-30, and after that one should do something ‘serious’?

To sum it up:

  • Decision between secure/boring/ugly office/rude, rotting from inside, perspectiveless coworkers and risk/adventerous/nice office/interesting, motivated, empathic team life
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Fear of beeing too old for webdev

2 videos that show the problem:


Seems like you’re in some sort of reflection time about your life, some midlife crisis, fork in the road moment, an important decision to make.

If you’re asking if there are guarantees in life, no.
Who knows how long that web dev company will stay? No one knows.

It’s not a government job where it will always be there forever, no matter how badly it’s run.

The question you need to ask yourself is do you want security? Or do you want a new adventure?

Do you want less money but secure? Or do you want more money but no guarantees how long it may last?

Do you want doing the same old shit everyday? Or learning something new everyday?, no matter how scary that might be, no guarantees if you can get learn and do well with this new skill.

Do you just want to coast easily all the way to the finish line, like a downhill ride?

Or do you want to make a detour, get off the track, and take a new route that may be more difficult, or easier? Who knows.

No right or wrong answer here. But Only you (and your wife?) can make this decision. Good luck!


Btw I was a network admin for several years, quit that day Job when I was 31 and started my own web design business full time. That was almost 20 yrs ago.

Just to give you some context of where I’m coming from.


Thanks a lot for the reply. During the interview, the interviewer said ‘Yeah, doing reactJS might be suitable for midlife crises and makes you feel younger’. Speaking from my heart, it would be the job, I ever wanted. But also telling my current employers, who invested in me and try every day to make out of me a better sysadmin, that I want to quit also pushes me to the limits of my comfort zone…

Since I dont have any children or wife or debts (but perhaps something inside myself tries to gravitate these things…), this thing with security is just an illusion, a projection of my parent’s and society’s fears?

Nahhh, I don’t agree with that. Wearing skinny jeans though will make you feel younger and hip. It just kills you in the crotch, don’t know how people can wear those things for long periods of time :slight_smile:

Dev work will be more challenging and an exciting job though vs. sysadmin. The stress levels will also be different. It will also be a different kind of stress.

You know how it is… Syadmin is like days/months of boredom and then few moments of total panic. In fact, I learned web design while doing work as a Sysadmin… to fill up my time during the day to combat boredom.

When I quit my job, the company president and VP met with me… they’re willing to do anything/give a raise, etc. to stop me from quitting. But at that point, my reasons for quitting was more than just about money. (Plus I don’t think they could match what I was making on the side doing web design… ) Now, if they had given me a raise years earlier, then probably I wouldn’t have thought of started doing side gigs designing websites. At that point, it was already too late for them. I’ve made up my mind.

I had 2 older kids and a 3-yr old, plus my wife, when I quit my day job to go do web design. It was a big risk for me/us. Either I can stay with my current job (for ‘security’ and a guaranteed small paycheck twice a month)… or go do my own thing (with no guaranteed paycheck, but also… no limits on earning potential.)

If you don’t have people reliant on you, if you don’t have family and kids you need to feed and take care of, and you’re just basically responsible for your own self — me? I would take the new job and do a new adventure… meet new people, do new things, etc. who knows, maybe even meet someone. Chances are better out there than in the server room.

If things don’t turn out well and lose the new job, I can survive on instant noodles and cheap burgers and live in my car.

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I wouldn’t worry so much, crappy companies will always be looking for cheapest possible developers, there will always be companies that that won’t ask for prices for good developers since they think long term. Also the fact that you are in your 40’s and have a broad IT background behind you actually puts you in advantage over many younger developers, in my opinion at least.

You already got your first developer role so now it’s just a matter a preparing to hop jobs as soon as the next better opportunity arrives and you feel ready. Best of luck!

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If you’re worried that a field that is in rapid expansion right now and heavily recruiting is not future-proof… You’re thinking too much. Working in current booming fields will always allow you to branch out and stay connected to the job market. As long as you keep educating yourself. It’s not a forget and enjoy field; it’s a constant educate yourself or become obsolete field. And in those… you can always bounce back. Unless Singularity is achieved in the next 10 years. You’re fine. Take the job. I know I m not lookinig back.

Haha, made my day… :smile:

Thanks a lot for all the great replies. freeCodeCamp is really one of the most valuable/inspiring/motivating/generating hope in mankind resources I had in my life.
Today I plan to sing the new contract and tomorrow I will quit the old job. I have to do it. The new job is about web based medical imaginary and imho thats the way of the future.


Don’t go with this type of judgment in your mind. You have work and life experience and that is something that recruiters and companies need to learn. You can act and take a different approach from most new developers.

Keep learning, keep building, keep developing. You will improve! Don’t miss out the opportunity that many desire to enter the world of web development. I speak for myself, it was the best decision that i could make and i have 33 years old.

If you have the time after you work day, build side projects, build many of them.

Quit job last week and signed contract to webdev job.
Was stressfull moment, but it is the only path that makes sense.

Thanks for all the great replys!! Will stay active here on fCC and continue to make fCC certs.

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Any company that discriminates against you on age grounds is a) possibly breaking the law (depending on where you live and b) really stupid. Companies are interested in finding the best developer at the best price. They can’t afford to be prejudiced because good developers are in short supply. So don’t worry about age, just worry about being good.

If you’re good enough, you’re young enough.