You think it’s too late to learn to code at 40 ?

You’re 30, 40 or 50 years old and think you’re too old to learn to code? It’s not true, as these two men’s stories show.

Clich├ęs range from “It’s impossible to keep up with the history and evolution of technology” to “Everything is moving too fast for you.” Many believe that certain industries or professions are reserved for young people – including programming.

The reason for this is understandable: even we, the tech generation, know how fast the web is evolving and we too struggle to keep up with new trends and technologies. If even young people are struggling, is there any hope for the 40+ generation?

The answer is yes! With the will, discipline and a clear goal in mind, anyone can get started, regardless of previous experience. Ken Hart and Bill Barnett discovered coding on their own at the age of 40 and share their story with us in this interview.

40-somethings” learn to code

Ken has pursued his aquarium hobby and, for now, has created a blog based on the Wix homepage building kit. “I was so embarrassed to use a kit that I decided to build a real website myself,” Ken said. Bill, an airplane mechanic, was reassigned behind a desk after an injury – which didn’t fulfill him. So he decided to learn about relational databases and started programming inventory lists.

In their interview with our magazine, Ken and Bill explain how they learned to love developing things on the web – they are fascinated by the technology. After a while, they even re-enrolled in college and started working part-time as web designers.

You may be old, but you’re not dead.

Just because you’re older than Generation Y or Z doesn’t mean you have half your life ahead of you. You can either continue to run your business the way you always have, or you can upgrade your skills for an uncertain future.

Your business will need certain skills 20 or 30 years from now, and you need to make sure you master them before then. So being 30, 40, 50 or older is not a good excuse to stop learning something.

But remember: There are also failures in web coding. And even if you don’t want to become a professional programmer, it’s worth trying. In the end, trying counts more than succeeding.

Are you also a “forty-something” and want to start immediately? Then check out our list of the best sources to get you started in advance. Also, there are several online platforms, such as H2Prog, Codecademy, and Udemy, that teach you how to code step by step.

The most important questions and answers.

  1. Where can you learn programming after 40?
  2. Which language is most important?
  3. And do programmers need math?

The digital industry is looking for career changers. But aversions are high. Don’t you have to be socialized to be a computer expert? Questions and answers at a glance:

Who should opt for lateral entry or further training in an IT profession?

For anyone who is interested and still has a few professional years ahead of them. To learn programming, you need to be motivated first and foremost, says freelance developer Karim Geiger, who also makes instructional videos: “In the beginning, you have to bite the bullet to get through it, you have to be able to tolerate frustration.”

What qualifications are needed to find a job?

Computer scientists, engineers, electrical engineers, mathematicians and physicists are in demand. However, such degrees are not necessary to enter the industry, says Catherine Tanier, founder of the Javascript Web Developer Job Exchange: “With us, people can also find a job in IT when they have taught themselves everything they need to know or have so far only gained experience in hobbies or student projects.” On development platforms like GitHub, users can collaborate on each other’s projects.

What basic technical knowledge is needed to program?

“The computer is completely dumb, it can’t interpret, it always does exactly what you command,” says Karim Geiger. Developers need to understand this principle: “People deduce from context, the computer needs exact instructions, it sounds trivial, but it’s not so easy to internalize.”

Do programmers need math?

Fear of math is not a reason to shy away from programming, says developer Geiger: “Only basic math skills are needed for app or website development,” but in other fields, such as machine learning, deeper math skills are required.

Where can you learn programming?

Courses abound, and among the providers are reputable institutes and private universities that also provide tutors for participants. In the absence of quality controls, Martina Weiner, an expert in digital personnel, advises to turn to former participants. Karim Geiger recommends the free offerings from Codecademy and Sololearn.

Which language should I start with?

It doesn’t really matter, if you know the first language, you will quickly learn the second. Javascript and Python are widely used and sought after. But before programming, if I were you, I would start with the algorithm.

How much time do you have to invest?

“Until you can write your first program, it can take six months or two years,” Geiger says, depending on how fast you learn and how much time you spend practicing. “Boot camp” providers advertise that they can teach participants programming in twelve weeks and help them build a career. This practice has become established in the United States. However, in Kaya Taner’s experience, such a program is not enough for most companies in Germany.

Presentable projects and thus experience are required. “Graduates often start with an internship in a programming job, but sometimes also directly in a higher position” – depending on what the individual gets out of it.

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