by John Selawsky

Why you are never too old to learn Java (or any programming language)

By Ryan McGuire
“Love has no age.”

Many would agree with this saying, yet we frame and persuade ourselves that it’s too late to study or change occupation. Why don’t we use this approach to everything that we would like to achieve, especially when it comes to learning something new, like a programming language?

I’m a tutor of a Java course and I have many examples of people who started their studying Java at age 30 or even older. In fact, in getting older, people become more experienced and wise, they see things differently, which helps them to be like a duck to water at any new beginnings. Besides, there’s less ageism in IT than in other industries. It values the skills rather than the age of a coder.

Here, you’ll find 5 solid arguments of why you shouldn’t neglect your wishes and should start learning Java. However, these reasons are also applicable to other programming languages too. So stay with us if you are looking for the spark of inspiration — you’ll definitely find it here.

Reason 1. Learning new things as you age helps keep the old processor ticking

Believe it or not, recent medical studies by Cesar Quililan proved the significant influence of brain activity on aging and brain health. It means the more you train your brain, the longer you will keep your sanity. They also showed that people at the age of 60–90 years improved their brain health only by doing handicrafts and some hobbies for just a few hours a day. So now, imagine, what the brain of a 30-year-old person can do.

Learning a programming language is equal to training your thought processes — a mental workout, thereby your attention and concentration will become a lot better.

There is a success story of a 32-year-old on Reddit. He knew nothing about programming or any technical stuff, but now he studies programming at the university, and he says when he started — it was quite tough, but now his “mind is sharp as a tac”. Besides, believe it or not, nobody cares about his age.

Reason 2. There are a lot of online courses and materials — no one sees your age

Nowadays, there are a lot of online courses and numerous people admit that they are more efficient than the offline ones, and bring a more positive outcome. The reasons are simple: the IT industry values your knowledge, not physical abilities, and you choose yourself the right time and tempo to study. There are numerous stories of people who accomplished them successfully and got their dream job in a very short period of time.

Here are three bright examples of online resources where you can learn Java:

  • CodeGym — an online Java programming course that’s based 80% on practice, designed for learning from the very beginning.
  • CodeAcademy — this program is based on acquiring technical skills that will be very useful in your future job.
  • Besides there are online video courses on Coursera or Udemy — platforms which comprise courses from online universities from all over the world, for various subjects.

Once you start learning or work as a programmer, for sure, everybody will need mentoring support from those who are a dab hand at Java. Besides, Java developers have a very strong community, and here are some platforms which will help you to find necessary information or ask a piece of advice.

  • Java Forum is a classical forum which comprises many topics and it is divided into sections for faster search.
  • Java world is a platform where the news, blogs, specialists and lots of things related to Java are based at one place.
  • CodeGym Help is a community for new-comers where they can find prompt and proper support.

The places where you can ask any question and find one or even more solutions from users:

  • Java subreddit: sharing solutions and experience on issues and topics related to Java;
  • Programming subreddit: asking for and finding solutions to any issue related to programming.

Blogs are also important — they observe updates, new features and generally, what’s newly invented or created for a better coding experience in Java.

  • Java Geek is a source where you can find a clear explanation of a case or an issue, besides it is divided into categories-interactions with various technologies.
  • Bench Resources is another source where the issues and cases related to Java are described. Its structure is also divided into sections for quick search.

And of course, never forget about another important source of knowledge — books. In addition, once you become a programmer, after a long working day at the computer you’ll want to swap a computer screen with something different.

As you might have noticed there are numerous online resources and it’s just the beginning. So what’s stopping you from feeling free to starting learning Java with such huge support? They don’t care about your age, only your knowledge.

Reason 3. Age is irrelevant

Age is just a number… of your experience. Unfortunately, there is a global stereotype and fallacy that you have to have a permanent job till the end of your life. But who said this is the way things should be? You are a mature person who knows what you are looking for and what outcome you want to get. That is why, once you have decided that you want to code — develop this spark, and, sooner or later, it will pay you off.

Another motivation is to think about yourself and never compare to somebody else since people have different experiences and different levels of knowledge. The starting point should be what you knew before you started learning. You’ll be surprised comparing your progress with the previous stage.

There is a wonderful example of a coder from my course who had never had a job related to a technical occupation. But he decided to pass step-by-step tutorials on CodeGym, and you know what? He succeeded and got the job he wanted.

And never be afraid of “bad code” or lack of experience since whatever age you are everyone makes mistakes at the beginning and they disappear gradually while you hone your skills. You know that younger students worry as much as the older ones? Will I get a job with no experience? But, the truth is, some companies are looking for people with minimal experience to grow a specialist for their projects. Besides, technologies are developing every day and they will require lots of code and those who can create it. You can’t learn everything in one go :)

Reason 4. Learning Java is like learning any other skill

Learning Java is no different than, let’s say, learning to ride a bike. There is no big difference. However, if you start learning to ride a bike at a mature age, you’ll worry more, and yet it’s more likely that you will spend less time on it. Age plays a significant role in your wisdom and experience since you make mistakes and know how to fix them.

Programming is not only coding itself, but searching for the best solution to an issue people have faced. And here, your experience will help greatly. Thus, having the background in another field is a huge advantage. And many who did the same steps admit that their maturity increased their success.

Reason 5. Now is as good of a time as any

Never postpone what you plan, start learning as soon as possible, since the right time never comes. All you’ll do is waste your valuable time if you wait. Besides, later in life, you’ll have even more doubts than you have now, and it will be more difficult to start.

In addition, you’ll have new opportunities to change your job or even to get a promotion or improve your current work. Isn’t it appealing? It’s easy to find on Reddit a story of a person in his mid 30s with a thorny path through working with young coders and the corporate structure inside the companies he faced. But it made him stronger and he got the job even easier than he thought.

Wrap up

If you are one of those who are at a crossroads, thinking “I’m too old for x,” you should know that age is just time exposure, that helps you to see what youngsters usually don’t. Learning something new will keep your mental health in order, and your mental acuity will be equal to those younger than you.

Therefore, choosing the way to learn Java at home/online is just another perfect opportunity to show everyone that you can do more. Take this as obtaining another vital skill. Besides, nobody will care what age you are, since the IT industry values knowledge so highly.

Thus, never give up on your idea and just start moving forward. Be sure that you will always get huge support whatever way you choose.

It’s never too late to start learning Java or whatever you want since the sooner you start learning, the more perks you’ll get from life — just start! In addition, your practice and knowledge allow you to widen the scope of your abilities, and then, you’ll definitely be a successful person.

So, if you think that you’re too old for this…

… you are not.