It can be difficult for older people to feel like they belong among coders.
For too long, the field has been dominated by stereotypes that say new technologies are only accessible to the young. As a result, people who don’t fit in that group don’t pursue a career that could be hugely rewarding and deeply satisfying.
We here at Code Nation believe that great coders can come from any walk of life and can learn at any age. We’ll explain why in this blog post…
Am I too old to code?
No evidence exists that suggests anyone hits an age when they become “too old to code”.
In fact, there are plenty of examples of people becoming programmers at 50, 60, 70, and even 80. Sitting in the latter category is Masako Wakamiya, a Japanese woman who learned coding in her 80s and last year developed an app that’s now in Apple’s app store.
“As you age, you lose many things: your husband, your job, your hair, your eyesight. The minuses are quite numerous,” she explained. “But when you learn something new, whether it be programming or the piano, it is a plus, it’s motivating.”
So the problem doesn’t lie in the ability to do the job, but the way a career in coding is perceived. It’s common for coding to be seen as extremely complicated, and part of this comes from the jargon that floods the sector.
You may have come across some yourself. Front-end? Back-end? Full-stack? Learning the terminology associated with coding can feel like getting to grips with an entirely different language.
This shouldn’t be looked at as a negative thing though. Coding is a language, it’s just a different kind of language than many of us are used to speaking.
When thought of like this, there’s no reason why someone should find it difficult to learn coding later in life. While young people can find it a little easier, research has shown that there’s no point at which learning a new language becomes markedly more difficult.
Don’t believe us? You just need to look at the number of people from all age groups who learn a new language. There’s no age limit whatsoever on learning French, German, Italian or any other language.
The same is true of coding. Just switch those vowels and consonants for <p>’s and <b>’s and you can start seeing coding in a completely different, much more accessible, light.
At Code Nation don’t need to look far for stories of older students achieving huge success. In 2018, Reuben finished the Code Nation Master Course having decided to change careers aged 44.
Reuben was a plasterer when he came to us and it wasn’t long before he was getting stuck into the course:
“I recently decided it was time to take on a new challenge. As a former plasterer, I’ve reunited with a childhood passion from the days when I used to play with coding on my BBC Micro. I found Code Nation and thought that it’s time to do it.
“I have the right mindset to make it as a developer and my background means I can come at problems in a slightly different way and coding has already been one of the most rewarding, and challenging things, that I’ve done.
“It turns out coding actually has a lot of crossover with construction, like building things piece by piece and thinking creatively to solve problems with expansive thinking.”
At the end of our Master Course, all students are given interviews with our Pledgers – a group of businesses who’ve committed to interviewing our students for potential jobs.
Reuben, of course, was no different and he went on to secure a role as a DevOps Engineer at the Manchester digital agency Amaze.
Age is no barrier to anyone wanting to learn to code, and the experience of age can actually give you a head-start over the young upstarts sitting beside you in the classroom!
So if you’ve ever considered giving coding a go, don’t be shy. Get involved and learn a language that’ll help you get a new lease on life.
You can find out more about the Code Nation Master Course by getting in touch with us today!
Call: 0333 050 4570