I am 40 years old. Is it too late to start a career in software development?

I am 40 years old. Is it too late to start a career in software development?



You are right!,

I work in digital marketing and for now far from me the idea of working as a software engineer ( I started a bit less than a month ago.)

However, I know that in my next position the next thing I’m probably going to do is write scripts/apps to make my life easier, because god knows how tedious data gathering/formatting raw data can be.

Just to give you an idea, when I started my career I spent half a day filling up a bloody report following a very unpractical design my manager wanted me to fill.
Now, with the little bit of Python/ JavaScript I know, I am sure that I could put together a script that would handle all the raw data and put the right data at the right place, with the right formulas…It could have saved me literally days before.

Bottom line: even if it is as a support, coding can be a huge help to become a top performer/better performer at your job


I’m 44 and learning to code!! No, not too late at all!! You can do it!!


Hi jaytsecan,

Keep trying. I recently turned 59, kept looking at job ads for developers thinking “I could do that, but…I’m too old, they won’t want me, who am I kidding”, etc.

Two days ago I was wasting time at the computer (funny cat vids) and drinking some wine. I checked my gmail and decided (who knows why) to check the spam folder. Right at the top of the list was a email from Airtasker (the odd job site), which I joined about a year ago and promptly forgot. It had come in that day and was from a guy who ran a small digital marketing agency. They make small business sites with Wordpress and Bootstrap.

Business was growing, so he was looking for someone with Wordpress, Bootstrap and PHP knowledge to help him with the coding work. His daughter handles social marketing, etc. The task was to meet him and have a chat; see how we got on.

“I could do that”, I thought, and normally that’s where it would have ended. But that last wine, and the fact that his profile pick showed some grey hair, did the trick. “#$&! it”, I thought, and sent him an offer. I told my wife what I’d done, and went to bed.

Next morning I checked my emails, then turned to my wife and said, “Something terrible has happened. He’s accepted my offer and wants to meet tonight!” I was seriously worried. All the old doubts were banging away at me: “He’ll take one look at you and laugh you out the door…”

To cut a long story short: we met for coffee, got on like a house on fire, stayed chatting for an hour - and I’m in!

Ten hours a week for now, so I ain’t giving up my day job (I’m paying the bills working as a courier at the moment), but in the meantime I’ll be getting real world experience and building a portfolio. We’ll see what the future brings.

It’s not a cool working-with-the-latest-frameworks job. But it’s a job. A web dev job. And it’s mine.

So keep going, and keep applying. Beat that inner critic down!!


I’ll throw in my two cents, I am 57 (going on 103, I think, judging by how I feel). Been teaching psychology for the last ten years. I feel like I would rather (or try to include) teach coding.

We’ll see what happens!


Ha ha. Know what you mean. Have you had your blood pressure checked? :grin:


It’s more my mental health than physical that I am really worried about.


I’m feeling you, man…


I’m of a similar age, and recently started here, too. I also have a background in music. Good luck!!


Hiya! Another 40 year old here. I’m a doctor who runs only free-clinics, and I need a job that will make money to support my “treatment habit.”
Just getting started, and I notice that I have advantages over many of my younger comrades here. I know where I want my life to go, I have developed self-discipline and an easy work-ethic, I have an established life that meets my needs and now I can simply enhance that, etc.
It’s the perfect time to enlarge our sphere of knowledge!


Hello older coders!

Because of this discussion, I decided to write a post on Medium about "Learning to Code after 60." Please take a look: https://medium.com/startup-grind/i-am-enter-your-age-here-is-that-too-late-to-become-a-developer-58e926799af4

It has gotten over 6,000 views and nearly a hundred tweets, and a lot of very positive comments. I’m so gratified, because lots of people have said that they were inspired to get started or keep going. You are never too old to learn to code!

Many of the comments here are in agreement with what I wrote, so I think you’ll like it. And a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has contributed to this conversation.


I sure hope not since I’m a 51yo single mom!


Hi Jay,

I have started with FreeCodeCamp and I am turning 40. Not too late. I am a graphic artist. Great Folks in here for sure. Really enjoying it and very very thankful for FreeCodeCamp.


Of course not! It’s never too late for it… You just need to stay focused and make sure you learn as quick as possible without hurting your knowledge. I would recommend you to learn by detecting vulnerabilities in your code and dispose them. Dodging errors is really important and thus can save a lot of your time. If you need help with it you can try using some programs like checkmarx or others but it’s always recommended to do it also on your own.
I wish you good luck!


Thank you for this post! I was kinda wondering this myself being the late bloomer that I am (38 yo). I feel much better now. :smiley:


I’m surprised no one has posted Old Geek Jobs. It’s a job board especially for older geeks. It doesn’t have a lot of posts, but could be worth checking out.


Wow, it is very encouraging looking at everybody’s reply.
I’m 36 and i have doubted too, but now i’m more confident.


As everyone else has already said, you’re never too old. I started in my late 30s, myself, and I had no experience with computers.

Now I’d to add, though, that even though you’re starting late, you can also have an advantage over younger developers; because of your age, you (hopefully) have more maturity. That counts for a lot. Your greater life experience and maturity can help you focus on other aspects of being a dev that may be neglected by others; making you a much more attractive addition to a team.

Lots of people can code / learn syntax, but where you’ll really be able to set yourself apart from your peers is in how you make decisions, handle problems and work with others.

While learning the ins and outs of the languages, pay particular attention to bigger-picture principles:

  • Code architecture to make your program easy to understand and follow. Pragmatic Programmer (book)
  • Don’t be clever; make your code simple; don’t over-engineer things.
  • Learn to write fantastic comments.
  • Learn to write great git commit messages. - chris.beams.io/posts/git-commit/
  • Learn to manage your time / a project well. Understand the minimum viable product required, break those requirements out into smaller, testable builds, and keep a close eye on your progress approaching the deadlines, asking for help if you’re behind.
  • Understand Agile dev principles deeply. Great explanation of Agile (YouTube)
  • Learn to communicate really well in writing, and especially in your technical documentation.
  • Understand impostor syndrome and know that it will hit you regularly. Embrace the inevitable confusion and remember that it always comes before an enriching experience.

So don’t underestimate the importance of a mature, clear-headed team member that may not have the breadth of tech experience others have. A mentor once told me that expertise is built in increments, so you just have to start and keep going. If you nurture those other skills that may not be as cool to others, you’ll be the type of team member others love to work with.

Good luck!


Thanks for that link! I loved it! Finally I can learn how to write proper commit messages! :slight_smile:


Quit making 40 years old sound so old. :3
This is the age where you go about nailing every problems you got and fixing them. :3


40 years old? You’re still a youngster! :wink: You have a lot of working years ahead of you, and you will have success if you try hard and believe in yourself.

I’m 55 and trying to get back into application development after a 10 year hiatus. I have to say it is discouraging when most of the people who are competing for the jobs that I want are far younger than I am. But, as people have mentioned, I feel that I have maturity and experience on my side, and I feel that I will be a far more stable employee than younger people who start looking for their next job six months after they take a job.

So, don’t be discouraged–you can do it! I wish you the best!