Suggest me the path, please

Hello everyone,

I am a 35 years old guy living in Italy. I used to work as an Administrative clerk until the last year. Since that job was quite dull, I decided to take a break and think of career change.

The last November I joined a free course of Java for totally beginners, but for how it was planned it has been a mess for almost all of the students. In just 240 hours we had to learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, Java, MySql, J2EE, MVC and Servlet, Java server pages, Custom tags and custom libraries, Java enterprise, Angular JS, Advanced Angular Js, Project management and Communication. We attended 8 hours a day, the teacher was explaining at the whiteboard almost all the time, we had so much stuff to learn everyday with no time to exercise at home (it was hard after 8 hours of confusing learning activities). It has been really overwhelming and most of us stopped following him after CSS. But at least, I can say that this course made me learn HTML quite well and achieved an intermediate level of CSS.

Now that this course has ended, I started looking for free learning sources and Free Code Camp helped me a lot to put order in my mind. I am still improving HTML and CSS.

But the point of this post is that I would like to turn this hobby into a job and since I am 35, I am scared to waste time learning programming and then companies might trash my applications because of my age.

So, I have a few questions for you all.

What is the path you recommend me to follow? I mean, considering my age and the need of getting a job as soon as possible, how could I speed up my learning process? I know it takes a long time to learn coding, but you know, I can not live without a job for such long time. What country should I move in to get more job opportunities, since Italy seems to be the wrong place for a programmer?

Thank you all for paying attention.

So your free course actually sound very similar to my bootcamp, although the curriculum was more updated in my bootcamp. It would have been able to get you job ready If you were able to retain most of what was taught.

If you and your classmates did not have solid programming foundations going in, that’s a very rigorous curriculum to complete and follow in 6 weeks. I know we were finding our boot camp curriculum rigorous and half of us were CS/Engineering majors in college.

The unfortunate thing is that HTML and CSS would be considered the most basic of basic qualifications in web development theses days, something akin to Microsoft Office proficiency 10 years ago. It is something that really accentuate your qualification, but not really stand out as a employee candidate. Without a true programming language on your resume, your prospects are probably low for a developer position.

Personally, I went through the whole boot camp and job at 30, so if ageism exists at all, I must either be at the edge of what’s acceptable or I’m exceptional enough for them to overlook my age. I think neither is case because I don’t think I disclosed my age during application or interview, although it’s not hard to work out.

Since I live in the US there might be some culture differences I am not accounting, but I think companies from a utilitarian perspective will always want to hire the best candidate they can find, because it is in their best interest. If you make yourself the best candidate then a company would be foolish to overlook you.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, while there are people fortunate enough to get jobs within a few months of learning, most of the time it takes 6 to 24 month of very hard work if not more. It is achievable regardless of age. There are examples from age 20 to 60 out there (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), some right here on the fourm. If you cannot get job, it is likely that age is not the primary reason.


I would not worry about what you can’t change, I’d focus your energy worrying about what you can change. That’s where your skills come in. as @psychometry said, companies would be foolish to overlook you if you have the right skills for the job.

Now the skills part is the trickiest. To put it simply there is a lot to learn, and more to learn every day. Unless you a photographic memory, learning all those technologies well in the span of 240 hours is more or less impossible, but that is more or less the bar being provided to you. The fact you actually were able to spit out most of these technologies is impressive. You could spend 240 hours on HTML alone, and have limited job prospects. The fact you went through the course, was exposed to these technologies is part of the learning process, but just being exposed doesn’t mean you have learned it

One of the key parts of learning is knowing what you don’t know. Taking this course and only really feeling comfortable with a few parts of it shows you should learn the rest of the course. You could work on another course, but I’d ask what would that give you? Your missing experience, and the only way you gain experience is by doing. You should start going over the coursework, and figuring it all out on your own time, as the course may be over, but your “learning experience” has only begun.

I usually bring up the analogy of a foot race, where you are running a race, and starting to feel tired and overwhelmed. Someone comes up to you and tells you your not only running a race, but a triathlon, where you need to also swim a few miles, bike a few miles then run the real race, your just warming up! You’d probably be shocked, and might consider giving up and running another “easier” race later. Or you can keep going, grinding your way through the rest of the triathlon and see how far you can get.

Think of taking that course like the guy telling you how much of the race/marathon is left. It might scare you, but without that experience you wouldn’t even know what your getting into, and now you can pace yourself, and have a reference of how far you actually need to go.

Just like a marathon runner, age can be a factor, but I wouldn’t believe it to be a barrier. The biggest barrier is time, and yourself. You need to spend time working with the technologies, and working on your skills to get a chance You also need to push yourself to keep going, because only person can really “disqualify” you from this race/marathon/career change and its you.

Now for your specific questions:

  1. What is the path you recommend me to follow?
  • Build something from the ground up, learn the technologies (or similar technologies, like React instead of angularjs, or nodejs instead of java) the best way to learn is to fail. That’s how you gain experience, not by taking HTML/CSS courses when you want to be a full stack developer (which requires more skills)
  1. How could I speed up my learning process?
  • Again, build off what you know integrating stuff you don’t know but should. Build the app from the course from the ground up, or a new app with newer technologies. Anything, anywhere, just build it and push yourself.
  1. What country should I move in to get more job opportunities?
    The US usually has a lot of opportunity, but remote jobs are popular throughout the world, at cheaper rates.I recommend doing the reverse, where you find a job and relocating to be closer to the job if you get hired. (Be sure to mention you are willing to relocate when applying!)

Depending on where you want to get a job you would obviously want to get the paperwork handled beforehand, so say you work in the US, you can move there ASAP without dealing with extra paperwork, as it could result is not actually getting the job, or a long delay before you can start working.

Goodluck, and remember there is no fast and easy way to success, the best way usually is the steady and consistent approach where you push yourself to learn the topics and learn through failure.

Worry about your portfolio not your age. The age stigma has got to go from your mindset.

Several people on here, including myself are beyond 30 and are in our 40s, 50s, 60s, etc.

The “can I do this and do this well” needs to stay.

As for speed, it’s a marathon not a race. I know it’s tough. I say this while I want to accelerate my own progress as I want a job as well. But remember it’s about quality. Udemy, free code camp, these resources all help along with your tenacity to stay focused.

Thank you all for replying me.

Of course, I know HTML and CSS are poor skills nowadays. I didn’t mean that I wanted to get a job with just these skills. :grinning:

Thank you, again.