Hanging out at work, you get a call saying that you've been accepted for your first web developer role.
You thought you missed the boat and that your mind couldn't any longer pick up a concept like coding.
That's going to be you. (Once you've read this article)
You can learn to code after the age of 30 and there are many successful examples. Although it won’t be without its challenges as learning to code is challenging at any age. Successfully learning to code as an older learner means overcoming the additional responsibilities that a younger learner might not have.
There's good news too.
The experience/education gathered elsewhere is also a prized possession. Skills such as communication and creativity overlap with being a professional coder and your insight will be appreciated in the tech industry.
But uh, wait, don’t the studies show that learning ability declines after 30?
Instead of decline, your mental maturity may have made you a more effective learner. I know from my own experience that having worked a full-time job for a number of years, I now recognize the value of time and getting your head down. That’s a stark contrast from my earlier years where I could burn away hours playing video games. I’m less likely to make mistakes now.
Is 30 actually very old at all? No, not relative to current life expectancy and a good 35-40 years of work ahead of you. We trap ourselves into thinking it’s too late to learn to code and that everything is somehow irremovably settled at the age of 30.
If you worry about opportunities for an older newcomer to industry, then you shouldn’t. In light of the rise of mobile payment, the sharing economy, online retail, etc. demand is for developers is tremendous and you’ll still find plenty of opportunities even as a older entrant.
Try to see learning to code as a detour in your overall career development that builds extensively on and compliments your existing skills. I don’t believe that any experience can negatively impact you and there’s much to gain from having seen and experienced different industries, even if they contrast totally.
I've got a whole article on that! Transferable skills when changing your career to software development, why you already have an edge!
Dealing with machines, programming is a profession that tends to pay less attention to background and more technical ability. It’s the kind of work that privileges logical thinking and that may already be something you already possess, although don’t worry if not – it can be learnt.
Has this convinced you to start learning to code yet? If not, I’ve got a few other points that might surprise you.
It’s a win-win situation
Almost all fields in today's society use computers with ever more technical problems that require a programmer’s brain to unravel.
Coding skills are highly prized by recruiters and managers in every industry. Even if you start learning to code and your career trajectory ultimately does not lead towards becoming a developer, you will still have gained some valuable skills, reaping the associated benefits and respect in any future workplace. Stick ‘em on your CV.
If it’s something you could like, why not try it?
Then, if you succeed, you will have gained a sense of accomplishment, potentially an increased income and good cheer all round. What if you do not succeed? Simple, matter it does not, you have accumulated knowledge and your computer skills will always be useful no matter where you work.
A number of people such as business owners get into coding just to see what it’s all about.
As a new coder, you may end up making more money than if you continued in your current role, even if possess years of experience.
The base salary in IT is much higher and ranks in the top two.
Even the old timers have to relearn
The industry is constantly in flux and as a new learner, you will be at the cutting edge of technology.
Some old timers fall into bad/outdated habits and may even possess skills that are less relevant today. This doesn’t mean you won’t need to keep your skills constantly updated once you do start learning!
Code is a spectrum
Coding is no longer the bottleneck of the industry.
Project management, product design and product promotion are increasingly important parts of the software design cycle.
Getting into tech does not just have to mean becoming a developer. Any good coding course or CS degree should offer modules on all the related aspects of software development.
If you find yourself struggling with the code aspect, there are numerous other avenues to step into and specialize. Learning to code can serve as the foundation and launchpad towards other ventures.
Keep in mind the following
It’s not just about learning to code
As I mentioned under the header ‘Code is a spectrum’. There are numerous facets of software development that don’t concern coding.
Making a professional jump also means taking time to study the broad subject of software development.
You need to learn to speak tech. Particularly if you want to ace an interview. For example, if you want to use Spring for transaction management, you should explain your design choice.
If you thought about learning to code and have used your age as an excuse, what would the excuse be if age weren't a factor?
If it's money check out this article. If it's your education background, here's another.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese proverb
In code terms, that's 2-3 years of hard work. How young are you still going to be?
With the arrival of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, code will permeate behind every facet of daily life, from smart homes, autonomous driving.
This is not quite the present, but it is a future you can be a part of.