What to do for those who, at a conscious age, wanted to devote their lives to coding? Is it possible that only geeks get to work on Google, Facebook or Amazon, who begin to write programs, barely learning how to walk? Employees of Google and other giants of the IT industry, as well as teachers, psychologists and anonymous people argue whether it is too late to become a successful programmer in 20, 30, 40 and above years.
When is it too late to learn programming
Well-known media theorist and philosopher Douglas Rushkoff wrote a book called “Program or Be Programmable,” where he says that coding is a new grammar. You can start programming in parallel with learning the ABCs. At the request of “coding for kids” there are dozens of tips and educational applications that will teach children the basics of programming through games, interesting tasks, and songs – some of the programs are designed for children from 3 to 5 years. The IT industry is getting younger every year, and it seems that starting a career in this area after 10 years is somehow pointless. However, professionals say that learning to program at either 14, 25, or even 40 is not too late.
The good news: the fact that more and more children are studying programming in elementary school does not reduce your chances of a career in IT. After all, not all people who have learned to write and read become writers. Similarly, coding lessons at school or popular online courses do not make teenagers computer geniuses: they provide basic ideas that allow you to better navigate the world of technology and at least roughly understand how gadgets work.
One more good news: Programming abilities have nothing to do with age. That’s all. The main thing is that you have to be interested in it. There are a lot of students starting to learn the language at the age of 35-40. Or newbie who got a job at 50 years old. If you are in doubt because of age, is it worth it to go and learn something new, I would absolutely advise you to go! Tolstoy learned to ride a bicycle at age 67, Bernard Shaw started surfing at age 75, and how many successful startup stories people have over 60…
How long does it take to learn programming
Well, this is too complicated a question. Depends on what programming language and on the available background. Some are easier to learn, others harder. For example, according to observations, techies and people with well-developed logical thinking are easier. It also depends on your personal characteristics, how you perceive the information. There’s no simple answer for how long it will take to learn programming, so I advise to read another article on how to become a successful programmer.
Learning harder with age
In society, there is an opinion that the older, the harder it is to study. Let’s debunk the myth. Scientists have found that with age, the speed of learning is lost, but not the ability. In addition, if you train the brain and memory, then even the speed is not lost. Moreover, Dr. Shia conducted significant studies (over several decades), during which they established that the peak of mental abilities falls on 40-60 years. And if the speed of memorization can even drop, then the logic works better, and the wrong decisions are made less often.
It becomes clear that the rate of assimilation of the material in the learning process changes, and this indicator is individual for each person. Some Google employees who now hold high positions in the company first saw the code at 19 or 25 years old – if you are really interested in doing this, you can catch up in a relatively short time. In addition, many developers of leading companies admit that they are not fluent in all programming languages. “Seriously, I learned to use Java at 18, learned C when I was 20, and now I’m still learning C ++. I started working at Google when I was 32. By the way, this is a great age” wrote Edgar A. Duanez-Guzman, lead developer and researcher.
Why am I doing this? Learning programming is not too late even at 60! So if you decide – go for it!
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Company age requirement
Another stereotype is that the company does not want to hire employees after 35-40 years. Perhaps in some state-owned companies it is, but not in the IT sector. Age requirements/restrictions may be in a specific team. For example, a team consists of yesterday’s students. The better the relationship in the team, the more coherently it works. If there is a big age difference, neither you nor the people in such a team will be comfortable. Therefore, they try to select +/- of the same age. But! Very young teams are few, now the average age of a programmer is 32-35 years. Yesterday’s students may be in the team, but here they will be the exception rather than you.
In addition, based on scientific research: over the years we are becoming smarter. It turned out that the number of nerve cells in the brain only increases over the years, the concentration of myelin, which is responsible for the rate of transmission of impulses in the brain, also increases. Therefore, with age, we better solve problems, make fewer mistakes, and, in general, think better. Peak brain performance falls between 50 and 60 years.
In practice, this means that a programmer aged 50 years and above is most effective. He may be doing everything a little slower (because less dopamine is released, which leads to impulsive actions), but the decisions made are better thought out, they have fewer mistakes. Experience is added to good brain function.
It’s too early
And from what age can you learn programming? There is no lower bar either. You can become a programmer at the age of 12-13. And at 10, a teenager can code very well!
But here there is already a problem with employment. Firstly, from the point of view of legislation, this is very difficult, and secondly, a teenager needs to finish school, and accordingly, he cannot work fully.
Naturally, a teenager at the age of 12-15 can work as a freelancer. Create an account on the exchanges, post your work and start earning. Probably, as extra income and not for a very high payment, but this is a great start and experience. After leaving school, such a programmer can be taken fully into the team.
- Work with interesting and positive people. Hundreds of thousands of people work in very poor conditions, under constant pressure, scandals, negativity from bosses, colleagues, and hold on to their places, because there is no way out, nowhere to go. So, this profession will give you a choice. You will be able to choose where to live, with whom to work, with whom not to work. Of course, conflicts with colleagues also have a place to be, but if you get tired of it, you can easily change job
- Free or semi-free schedule. With this, programmers most often are doing fine. There are no penalties for being late, the main thing is that you just do your job. Do you want to come to work at lunch and leave later, or work at home? Super. In many other industries, this is simply not possible. On the contrary, “effective managers” establish stricter rules, regulate everything and write fines for every wrong move. In this regard, programming is just a paradise. Of course, there are different teams and companies. But in general, everything is so.
- Demanded profession. You will have to work hard only with the search for the very first job. As soon as any practical experience has arisen, you will sharply become interesting to other companies, the further the more.
- The ability to work remotely. Everything is clear here. The dream of millions is to work under a palm tree, on the beach. So, coders are just those people who can work even from home, even from Thailand, even from Bali, the main thing is that the Internet is on and the computer does not melt from the heat. In addition, you do not need some complicated and resource-intensive training, as, for example, in the case of doctors. As it was mentioned above, all that is required of you is time and desire.
- And the main pros is the ability to go to work every day with pleasure and do what you like. This is noted by so many programmers and our students who are employed, constantly write about it in their reviews. Like, how cool it is to do what you like and still get paid for it.
Learning to Code at 40-50
…and see what other people are saying:
I am 80 years old, and presently I am in the middle of designing three different responsive websites, one for a company selling silver, a bookkeeping service, and a coffee shop. I am learning new programming techniques every day.Lawrence Keeney
I graduated at the top of my class in Computer Science at 44 and now I am a professional Software Engineer with a major retail company.Sadat Kent McArthur
I’m 64 and started to learn coding last year when I retired. I was alway afraid of it because I’m such a right-brained guy who made my living at design and illustration. Even though I was an art director, I thought with my gut and feelings and instinct. When I reitred I wanted to make some websites and it turns out there’s no host or theme that promises to be “drag and drop” or “easy” if you want things your way. So I had to start learning the inner workings to get want I wanted. Guess what? Coding is the same as creating any owrk of art. You just use different medium to put that picture on the canvas. Once I started to look at how code works, it’s not much different than learning any craft. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be able to look at some code (in my case, basic html and css, and actually understand it. And, see how you can change the “painting” by changing the code. I’m far from an expert but there is truth in what you say. Learning something new, especially something that at one time you thought you’d never learn, is a trip worth taking.Terry Lyle
A little important philosophy
In general, we have one life, and if you want to change your profession, change it. Want to try yourself in something new – try it. Otherwise, you will suffer, regret later that you did not try.
In fact, age does not matter. Only your desire to go from scratch is important. Anyone and any age can program. There is nothing beyond the difficulties in this specialty.