Are you too old to learn to code?


Hey, it’s Zell. Today, we a question from two students, Mark and Todd. They’re in their forties and are getting started in web development, and they are worried that they’re too old. Too old to learn or too old to get a job.

It’s funny I get this question because I felt too old to learn to code when I was 19 years old. It took me six years to before I started to code. When I started, I was 25.

Thinking logically, if I’m too old to learn when I was 19, I should be even more afraid when I was 25. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t afraid because I burned my bridges. I decided I don’t want to work in a bank and decided to learn to design and code. It was a do or die. I couldn’t worry because I had to learn enough to find a job within a year.

Back to you. You’re older than me, you have more risk, you may have more mouths to feed. It’s normal if you say you cannot make a rash decision, to stop everything and learn to code.

Here’s what I would say for your situation. I hope it helps.

I think we can break your worries into three questions.

  1. Is it too late for you to learn to code?
  2. Can you get a job because you are too old?
  3. Can you afford to fail?

Is it too late for you to learn to code?

I would say it’s never too late to learn to code. Age doesn’t matter. I know of students who are 70 years old and they’re trying to learn too.

From my perspective, most people worry about being late because they’re worried they cannot with others. They’re worried they cannot fulfill their potential in life. I suspect you may be feeling this too.

That was what I felt when I was 19. It was too late because other people got into it way in advance. I didn’t have the knowledge and means, and because I didn’t study programming.

What helped me was this message. I cannot remember where it came from, but here goes.

You don’t live once.

I say that again.

You don’t live once.

We’re afraid we cannot compete with others when we start out late. The premise for this thought is we only live once in our lives. From 0 to 80, and that’s it. If we are too late, we are too late.

But you don’t have to think of all 80 years as one big chunk. You can break in down into small chunks. You can think of ten year increments. Each ten year increment is a new life. If you have 60 years to life, you have 6 lives ahead of you.

This works because you can do a lot of things in ten years. You can get good and become an expert in any field. I’m only in the development field for about five years, and I still have a long way to go.

In 5 years, I can already do a lot of things, and I probably don’t need to be worried about finding a job.

Here’s the question. If you are starting a new life tomorrow, would it still be too late for you to code? If you have ten years ahead, would it still be too late?

Can you get a job if you are too old?

You can, but I’m going to be honest with you.

People are going to judge you. They’re going to talk about your age. They’re going to think that you’re too old.

But like it or not, they’re going to talk about you anyway. They’re going to talk about your race, your gender, your nationality, and everything under the sun.

I hope putting this statement helps you clarify that fear and makes it less scary. The judgment is going to come no matter what. You can’t run away from it. You can only accept that people will judge you.

When you accept that judgment, you don’t have much to worry anymore. Do whatever you need and whatever you want.

One good news is, when you are older, you know things younger people don’t know. THere’s so much more to a job that’s just coding. Go ahead and show them what you learned. There are things people will find valuable.

Can you afford to fail?

You would probably say no. You have mouths to feed. You need a decent income. You cannot quit your job and join a bootcamp like the younger people do. You also cannot pray that a job falls into your hand miraculously. You have to fight for it.

You need to be able to feed yourself and your family. Minimally, you need to be able to survive. If you cannot survive, you cannot think about learning.

If you don’t have a job now, the first thing you need is to get a job to feed yourself an your family. This statement is true even if you are in your twenties. You need to feel safe about money before you can learn.

Because of this reason, I ask people to get a job before enrolling in my courses. If you don’t money to support right now, you won’t be able to learn. Your focus will be on money instead. That’s when you’ll waste a lot of time and energy.

I’m here to make your lives better. I’m not here to make it worst by taking money away from you. So I suggest you find a job, any job. It doesn’t if it’s not about coding. You can get a job as a waiter and learn after work hours.

The problem though, if you work, is your are going to be demotivated and tired after your work. If coding is important to you, you need to fight these feelings. You have to go through it.

If your friends and family don’t understand you, you need to communicate with them. Talk to them, work with them. Listen to them. You have to hear them before they can hear you.

Ask for their support your journey. I asked my wife to support me in the journey to create materials for you. If she’s too worried about the money, and she doesn’t let me do what I want/need to do, I won’t be here. I’ll be working for someone else.

Wrapping up

That’s it from me. I hope it helps. I’m sorry I got a bit heated up. I want to help you overcome your barriers and live the life you want. I don’t you to be stuck like me for 6 years before I started coding.

Thanks for watching.

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With that, I’m out. Happy Friday and I hope you have a nice weekend. See you next week 😄.

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