Programming has a few practical benefits that you can reap even if you dont intend on a career path change. The simplest example is that it can help you connect with the ever-changing world of technology.
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If you have some suggestions as to what direction I should take I would surely appreciate it.
[But] ageism is by no means an industry standard, and plenty of employers want the experience. Huckabone had multiple offers before accepting his current position.
I realize that this sort of plays off of the stereotype that older folks are out of touch with technology, and I certainly dont mean to perpetuate that myth. Plenty of younger folks are just as oblivious, if not more so, than those who are approaching retirement. However, the truth stands: learning how to codecanhelp you understand and appreciate technology.
And then there are those who believe that older may even be better:
Over the past two decades, Ive gone through periods of heavy coding (at my worst, I spent fourteen hours a day on my projects) and periods of no coding at all (a wonderful respite from myworkaholic tendencies5 Signs That Youre Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them)5 Signs That Youre Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them)Do you suffer from an insatiable desire to work? Here are some of the signs to recognize this ailment and how you can overcome it.Read More). In that time, Ive noticed something peculiar.
After comparing a small sample of [senior computer training] students with a control group, researchers at the University of Miami found that after completing introductory courses, older adults were significantly more comfortable with and knowledgeable about computers and the Internet, and more likely to use them.
Agreed! No matter how hard it is, anyone can learn programming given enough effort. Some just have more aptitude.
Do you think one can be too old to start learning how to code? At what age did you start? If youve never programmed before, whats keeping you from giving it a try? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Thanks Rob, your points are great. As with a lot of things, programming is a learned skill that takes a lot of experience to master. Maybe theres a conflation of terms going on? Learning the basics and learning to be fluent are different, but people have shortened both to just learning and thats whats confusing.
In other words, programming is good for the aging mind. As we get older, it becomes easier and easier to fall into the humdrum routine of everyday life. Outside of returning to school, there arent many day-to-day activities that challenge us to think like programming does.
There are supermodels saying they learnt to code in a day. No they didnt and nor can you. Like them you can learn a few basics and write some simple code in a matter of minutes but creating serious applications calls for continuous learning, teamwork and experience.
I say all of this as the son of immigrant parents who never had the same privilege of education that I have. To them, everything from VCRs to computers to digital cameras are nothing more than magic boxes. They have no idea how devices and gadgets work, so they have no idea how to use them.
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Your comment really nailed the most important points. +1 to you
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I think you should, and heres why.
Not only does Jens Skou prove that its never too late to start anything, its never too late to change the world.
My mind is at its sharpest when Im working on code. Conversely, the longer I go without programming, the softer my mind gets. None of this is a real surprise.
Learning to code is like learning a new foreign language. If you can start learning Swahili after you retire, you can learn Java, Ruby, Ajax or whatever.
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Programming is a beautiful combination of logic and creativity. Logical in the sense that there are a strict set of rules and instructions that define the behavior of a computer program. Creative in the sense that these rules and instructions can be configured to produce an infinite number of behaviors.
But Im too old for that. Nobody in IT wants to hire an oldie like me.
good luck Kathy. I am a 68-year-old female flirting with the idea of coding.
Legal work is a good example of an area with, at first glance, little in common with coding but in which coding knowledge could be surprisingly helpful, argues Eben Upton, CEO and co-founder of Raspberry Pi, an organisation that developed a revolutionary compact computer to help children learn about coding and computers in general.
While ageism is certainly an issue in our modern day workforce, its not as bad as some people make it out to be. While cutting-edge companies may lean towards the younger end of the spectrum, there are many other companies who emphasize experience and knowledge over sheer age. Consider Gary Huckabone:
Yes! If you or someone you know have ever wondered if youre too old tostart learning how to programHow to Learn Programming Without All the StressHow to Learn Programming Without All the StressMaybe youve decided to pursue programming, whether for a career or just as a hobby. Great! But maybe youre starting to feel overwhelmed. Not so great. Heres help to ease your journey.Read More, the simple answer is that anyone can pick it up as long as they have determination, persistence, and an open mind. Therealquestion is, should you give it a shot?
Im 70 and coding again. I used to code assembler in my head while jogging because there were no personal computers. So today coding is easier it seems to me. Its fun! Ive also taken up mountain biking again. Too old is a myth. I suggest coming up to speed on the latest technologies. Just remember to get exercise, dont turn into a sitting lump. Get a standup desk.
Older, experienced workers usually have many of these skills. Yes, they may lack an understanding of mobile technologies and app development, but these can be learnt in the same way that the kids learned them.
Just be aware that programming is hard and will require some effort. Even ifyou arent meant to be a programmer6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A Programmer6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A ProgrammerNot everyone is cut out to be a programmer. If you arent completely sure that youre meant to be a programmer, here are some signs that may point you in the right direction.Read More, I still recommend giving it a shot. In the end,trying is more important than success6 Lessons From Pixar That Will Set You Up For Success6 Lessons From Pixar That Will Set You Up For SuccessThe secrets of storytelling tend to reflect the secrets of success in real life. You owe it to yourself to take one minute and consider how Pixar might make you more successful.Read More.
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I see a danger here – coding is being portrayed as something even a supermodel can learn being twisted to its easy, lets teach everyone to code and look forward to them getting highly paid jobs, writing the next Facebook or making millions off their mobile phone app.
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Before coding, learn basic computer operations, derectories, cmd commands or unix terminal, learn how to store files, where, be organized, push youself to the limits, love what you do. I love programming, because this is the way I can express my fillings, my wishes, ideas, and I can also test them, fix them, and improve them. All you need, you already have, just add a wish and spend some time at the monitor. Advise, dont start with C++ or Ruby, Ruby on Rails, JS, or Java. Start with a python scripting.
Image Credits:Old Hands on Laptop Via ShutterstockLeft Brain Right Brain Via ShutterstockCouple On Tablet Via ShutterstockElder Man On Macbook Via Shutterstock
I am 75 years old and in full time employment as an Accountant. I am considering starting learning how to code – purely to ensure that my brain (and soul) is still ticking – apart from the heart that is! Appreciate advice on an sensible entry coding-course. Thanks. Chandra
Are youstuck in a career rutStranded In A Career Rut? 10 Ways To Reboot Your Work Focus TodayStranded In A Career Rut? 10 Ways To Reboot Your Work Focus TodayThe longer you feel like youre stuck in a career rut, the harder it can be to escape. Here are a few methods to bring focus, excitement and purpose back to your work-life.Read More? If so, learning how to program can open thousands of new doors for you, especially if you have what it takes tosucceed in a tech-based careerDo You Have What It Takes for a Career in Technology?Do You Have What It Takes for a Career in Technology?The digital world may tempt you to jump on the information technology wagon. But is it the right choice for you? You have to make a decision. Ask yourself these seven questions.Read More. After all, most people who learn programming are doing it so they can pursue a career in programming.
To solve the big and complex problems of humanity, entrepreneurs need to have a world view and to be able to see the big picture. They need industry experience, knowledge of diverse social and scientific disciplines, and people-management skills. They need the abilities to go beyond wishful thinking, to step into others shoes, and to weigh likely outcomes of the options before them.
And being more adept with tablets, smartphones, and laptops means being one step closer towards improved quality of life. After all, there are so manyhelpful mobile appsThe Best Android AppsThe Best Android AppsLooking for the best apps for your Android phone or tablet? This is our comprehensive, hand-picked list of the best apps for Android.Read Moreout there begging to be installed, arent there?
Its easy to see why this mentality is so pervasive. As a relative youngster myself, the programming world evolves so quickly that even I find it difficult to keep up. Most of what I learned in school was obsolete by graduation. So if youngsters like me have trouble, is there any hope for the older generation?
Second, dont do it for the money. The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community is not only a resource for helping you code but a vast resource of existing code you can learn from, use, and modify (as long as you credit authors and keep your product FOSS). Write something small that you would find useful and give it away.
Coding is like maths or english, a core life-skill everyone can benefit from. People are easily put off in the early stages when they get errors for simple slip-ups like omitting a semi colon at the end of a statement or trying to run before you can walk. I often write a small PHP program as the fastest way to perform a simple task. Often I code something just for fun to see if I can or to experiment with some new idea.
I have computer networking degree I never used but have a pretty good understanding of the basics but never really built anything. So, alas Ive decided to figure this out and finish my website my self
Old people are out of touch with technology. Thats the stereotype, anyway. With adages like You cant teach an old dog new tricks and He cant change, hes already set in his ways, many of usthat certain pursuits are for young people only and programming is no exception.
Still think youre too old to start programming? Then I urge you to look at the story of Jens Skou, the Nobel Prize winner who picked up programming at the age of 70:
Im 59 years old and about to start a coding class tomorrow! Im scared to death and a nervous wreck, but reading this article has definitely helped calm my nerves. I hope youre right!
Nicely said, Denis. Thank you for sharing your perspective and optimism.
In fact, the logical nature of programming shares a lot in common with another profession, one thathappens to be dominated by older folks:
First, its not like learning a foreign language, its much easier. Theres no conversational requirement or other time-critical aspect. You only have to read and type, not listen and speak. Essentially, you are writing an instruction manual but you have to get it past very strict (but infinitely patient) grammar and spell checkers.
Problems include that at some point many teaching materials have an annoying habit of switching from being almost insultingly detailed to jumping into something poorly explained and hard to understand. The english used within programming circles is full of abbreviations, acronyms and technical terms. As a practitioner its easy to forget that others dont understand and sometimes its quite difficult to translate into laymans terms.
Thats awesome, Kathy! I know it will seem overwhelmingly difficult at first, but it will take a bit of time to click — and once it does, youll love it. Glad you found the article helpful. Good luck!
I was wondering how your coding class went. I am researching 55+ aged student experiences with programming classes.
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Joel, I just wanted to say thanks. I am 47 years old, and reading your article gave me hope.
Theres a lot of similarity between the problem-solving techniques you need to be a good lawyer and those you need to be a good engineer, and the carefully crafted, (nominally) unambiguous form of English used in drafting contracts bears a lot of resemblance to computer code, he says.
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I started coding at the age of nine back when Gateway, Pentium, and America Online were big household brands. Again, I admit that Im a relative youngster in the grand scheme of things, but I only bring this up to illustrate how deeply entwined I am with programming and how it has impacted me.
Had started coding as hobby when I was 25, then stopped as my job was very demanding. Now I am 44 and have started coding again 2 months back . Before reading your article, was little bit shy to disclose my secret hobby. But now can tell with lot of excitement to all that coding is fun!!! With older age, your approach is more analytical which is a plus point in coding.
Theres definitely a lot of people that want the old guy, appreciate the old guy, Huckabone said. Im just saying Ive seen both sides of that coin.
We dont need no steekeen jobs. Write something useful, if only for yourself, and let others know about it. Who knows, they may find it useful as well, and suggest improvements.
Im not saying that programming is necessary if, for example, you want tooperate an Android tabletWhich Android Tablet Should I Buy? 7 Things to ConsiderWhich Android Tablet Should I Buy? 7 Things to ConsiderIf youre thinking about getting an Android tablet, these are the things that you need to take into consideration.Read More. What Iamsaying is that programming knowledge can help you to better operate that tablet.
Joel Lee has a BSc in Computer Science and over five years of professional writing experience. He is the Editor in Chief for MakeUseOf.
Dont worry above code itself will find struct writer somewhere in code and replace name with Joel Lee. Thanks!
Well hows that class going? Im 60 and Ive been working with a couple of developers to get my site up and running and its just become to frustrating dealing with the huge amounts of money they command these days and the pompous attitudes . Currently, they are holding my website hostage in leiu of another 17,000. Is this robbery or what.
What kind of site are you wanting/needing to create? $17K does seem very pricey, but it all depends on what you specified as requirements. I can offer some guidance if you can give me more details on what you want to accomplish.
Even if you never actually create a program worth using, the very act of learning how to program will strengthen your mental faculties. And really, thats as good a reason as any to pick up the skill.
Id like to tell those supermodels that I too can model clothes. I wear clothes every day, I can walk without falling over, Im tall, I can look aloof. Doesnt that cover the job specification? (OK, I might need to do something about the beer belly.)
In 1988, I retired, kept my office, gave up systematic experimental work and started to work on kinetic models for the overall reaction of the pump on computer. For this I had to learn how to programme, quite interesting, and amazing what you can do with a computer from the point of view of handling even complicated models. And even if my working hours are fewer, being free of all obligations, the time I spent on scientific problems are about the same as before my retirement.
Well, Im 25 years old and Im an immigrant from another country(Russia). I came to USA when I was 18. When I turned 21 I took a college loan and went to college. My English skills was poor, however, what Ive learned in college,- is that you can learn anything, like me learning English from 0 when I was 18. They key here, is you need only a WISH, with a wish you can learn anything, even find they way how to fly…
A common belief, at least in Silicon Valley, is that it is only the young who can innovate, and that therefore, we need to encourage more students to start companies. A better strategy may be to motivate and empower the old the parents of these students, and maybe even grandma and grandpa.
Back on the job market, Huckabone was upbeat he saw a thriving software sector and plenty of opportunities. But he found it took longer than expected to land his next gig. I probably did twice as many interviews this is a guess, of course than I would have done if I was 32 instead of 56, Huckabone said.
Of all creative pursuits, programming is unique in that it forces you into a simultaneous process of creative synthesis and analytical diagnostics. It forces you to dream up innovative solutions and then express those solutions in a logical, step-by-step fashion. It helps structure the way you think, and this way of thinking will bleed into every area of your life.
I dont want to put people off, quite the opposite, Id like everyone to do a learn to code in a day exercise (it doesnt need an expensive course) but that name is misleading. Try some Google searches like Learn PHP in 5 minutes or Learn PHP in 6 months . Both searches give some results but theres a big difference in what youll learn.