“I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but you’re far too old to learn to code. It’s actually a bit embarrassing. That’s a young person’s game. I’m pretty sure you’re not capable of learning something new. Actually, you should probably give up doing anything exciting or fulfilling.”
Would you ever, ever say that to someone? Obviously not. But loads of people say it to themselves.
Some worry that employers don’t want to hire older workers, especially for coding jobs. But there are advantages to being more experienced, such as an understanding of the business world, just as there are disadvantages to being younger - for instance there’s a theory that Gen Z is full of job hoppers.
In reality, employers are looking for a person with the right attitude, skill set and who will stick around for the long term. For any employer you’d want to work for, it’s not about age.
What’s old anyway?
From the age of about 24, we all start worrying we’ve learnt everything we’re going to learn. We feel like our whole life is mapped out in front of us – that we’ve chosen our path and there are no junctions ahead to choose from. It’s absolutely, definitely not true.
Jack Dorsey had a number of jobs before creating Twitter.
Alan Rickman was a graphic designer before being cast as Hans Gruber in Die Hard.
Henry Ford was 45 when he launched the Model T.
The Lord of the Rings was published when J.R.R. Tolkien was in his sixties.
Famously, Colonel Sanders didn’t sell his first fast food franchise until he was 65.
American business woman, Iris Apfel - you know, with the glasses? - just launched an emoji library. She’s 95 years old.
Few people know it, but Kim Kardashian was 71 when she posted her first belfie.
OK, that last one is made up but the others are all real examples of people who’ve chosen to head in a new direction and done everything they can to make it work. They’ve successfully taken a different path later in their careers, showing you’re never too old to learn something new.
We’ve found a real mix in the ages of people learning how to code on our online courses. Chances are, you won’t be the oldest or the youngest. So don’t let your age put you off because coding could change your life.
Take the road to code
Older people who decide on learning to code do it for loads of reasons but most fall into two camps. There are (a) those that want a career change and (b) those that want to turbocharge their current one. Let’s go wild and look at what coding can do for the first camp first…
(a) Web developer career change
If you’ve had enough of what you’re doing or want to make more money and are ready to make a change, learning to code is a really sensible option. It’s an area where taking an online course really helps you get on the career ladder because it demonstrates you’ve learnt exactly the skills employers need. Add your past business experience, and your CV suddenly stands out.
Web development is often said to be the fastest growing industry in the UK. App development also shows no signs of slowing down. Both jobs are well paid and there’s a real shortage of people across the world doing them well.
Using both design and analytical skills, these are fulfilling roles for those that love to think and create. Imagine being the creator of the next Candy Crush Saga or working with a household brand name to build an industry leading website. That’s the path you’re on.
(b) Turbocharge your current career
Picking up a qualification in coding can help you make more money in your current job, improve your promotion prospects and help you stay relevant in today’s fast moving business world.
If you’re in your thirties, forties, fifties or beyond, learning to code shows you’re not stuck in your ways. It demonstrates you’re forward-thinking, open minded, innovative and clever. And that you can reinvent yourself as often as Madonna - but in different ways...probably.
Overturn your learning concerns
So if coding can do so much, what’s holding people back? Well, most of us are pretty busy and don’t just casually take on something new. You do need to set time aside but coding is a great skill to learn around a hectic schedule because the nature of it means you get immersed quickly, tackling a lot of work without realising it.
When you hit a tricky bit, you can think about solutions while you’re not actually at your computer – clean your bike, take out the bins, watch an episode of Better Call Saul – then go back and try again.
The biggest worry people have about learning to code is that they’ll look like a Senior Citizen wearing a cap backwards and hanging out with people calling each other ‘bae’ and Bitmoji-ing. Or that they’ll feel intimidated by Sheldon like genius computer programmers. Neither of these situations is even close to the reality. Most people that learn to code are normal business people.
There’s a real opportunity for those who try it, so why not give it a go?