KillerSites Blog

Young at Heart but Long in the Tooth.

July 31, 2019

Is it possible to become a coder at 50?

Life is a wonderful and complicated mess…at the best of times. Sometimes we think we know what we want right out of the gate and we follow it only to realize it’s not what we wanted after all. Then we find something else and maybe we do that for awhile, then something else strikes our fancy (or need to pay bills) and we gravitate towards that. The point is all these things cost us really is time. How much of it we’ve spent, how much we have left and what we want to spend it doing…man, this got serious and sobering real fast… So, is it possible to become a coder a little later in life? Say 50? It’s a nice round number, and the answer is ‘Yes, but…’

Alright, sirs and madames…I was trying to sound respectful but it sounds like I called you a bunch stuck-ups and brothel owners, apologies; let’s try again…
Alright, I’m just going to jump into it. The answer is YES, you can become a coder at 50, BUT there are going to be some things that will be an advantage to you and others that will be a disadvantage:

Advantage: “When you’re getting into this game at an older age, you’ve probably got a lot more discipline, you definitely have a lot more life experience, and you may have a lot of domain [industry] knowledge.”
By domain/industry knowledge we mean the business you were part of in the past. Maybe you worked in the coffee industry, maybe you were an accountant, etc. That insight into your previous business is worth a lifetime of experience and could help you to create a more streamlined/intuitive program for that industry. Companies would value that experience in a coder much more than a young nerdling with maybe a couple years programming experience and no industry knowledge…which brings us to the disadvantages…

Disadvantage: “A lot of companies will be reluctant to hire somebody in their 50’s or older because they know that this person is close to or closing in on retirement more often than not.” People are healthier these days which means they’re living longer (Although why you would want to live longer to work more is beyond me…).

An example is start-ups; they usually hire young coders that they can abuse or burnout but there are start-ups that have hired older and in their 50’s too for their specialized industry knowledge, it’s just a little more rare…

Honestly, there’s a lot more positives working in your favor than negatives, including going into freelance work which means you collect and retain clients at your own pace. The VLOG covers this in way more detail including some paths/specialties that we think would compliment your experience, so please check it out.
Bonus: Some nice footage at the end of winter in Montreal at a devastating height…

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