This question was posted by a reader who wants to become a computer programmer!
If you need help with a Question or Challenge, be sure to ask it as a comment on this page and I will answer it fully just as I am answering this reader’s question below!
Here is the Question:
i am 55 yrs old now, and I am more or less retired since the financial crisis hit us last year.
I used to work in a shipping company, in the operations dept.
I am keen to switch to an IT carer, specializing in programming. What are my chances, to build a career in programming so late.
In my younger days in 1985-1986 I took a course in computer science and programking skills langauge used basic and cobol, but i joined my brother in a shipping and forwarding company and have not done any programming.
Here is my Answer:
Let me answer your question by making a bold statement: “it is never too late to pursue happiness!“
Here in the United States we believe that “All Men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights … Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“.
So, if pursuing a career in computer programming represents happiness for you … then do so regardless of your age!
I have worked with skilled computer programmers older than 55 years … one of them being a contract programmer employed by Robert Half International Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the other, a contract programmer at a Loyalty Marketing Firm in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The last time I spoke with either of them, they were in-demand, happy and at the top of their game … their age not withstanding!
But I will give you some additional reasons why “it is never too late to become a computer programmer!”
High Demand For Contract Computer Programmers
I will suggest that you become a computer programmer by first going into contract programming because the demand for skilled contract computer programmers far outweighs their supply!
You can independently verify this fact by looking at the number of contract programming gigs posted in Dice.Com.
Skilled Contract Programmers are so much in supply that you can earn six figures with full-medical, 401K and dental benefits within the first year or two … if you are good!
Age Is Not A Barrier To Freelance Computer Programming Career
The demand for skilled programmers also makes it easy and feasible for you to become a freelance computer programmer
As a freelance computer programmer, you are responsible for finding your own clients, paying your own taxes and benefits while keeping the option of working from your home office or personal business site.
Freelance computer programming is all about talent, skill and performance and not about your age, sex, nationality or education. If you know your stuff and you can promote yourself then you are in business.
So, I suggest that you learn computer programming first and using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ) Analysis determine if freelance computer programming is for you.
Age is Not A Barrier To Managing Computer Programmers
If you have learnt computer programming, you may specialize in managing computer programmers or software development projects.
Your age may actually work in your favor if you’ve learnt how to position it as a strength and not a weakness!
You may be hired over younger computer programmers who are sometimes seen as being more arrogant, less likely to stay on a job and less experienced at dealing with people.
One thing you may need to learn is “how to position yourself to employers by emphasizing your strengths!“. So, I would encourage you to spend more time thinking of how your age can be an asset versus how it is a liability!
Sharp Computer Programming Skills In-Demand
The IT Industry values skill-based competency over any other attribute and that goes for computer programming careers too!
If you really want to become a computer programmer, I would advise you to focus all your strength on becoming the best programmer you can be!
While pursuing your programming career, focus on developing a high-level of mastery or competence and get ready to prove it to hiring managers.
If you can prove that you are as good or better than the skill demands for the job, then you will be employed and you will stay employed … it is that simple!
Previous Industry Experience Helps
Here is another reason why your age can be an asset if you learn how to position it correctly using a tool like SWOT Analysis!
You may have an advantage over younger programmers because you have worked in more industries and you are more exposed to how business is done compared to a younger computer programmer who may even be fresh out of college
You should highlight your previous industry experience (you should have a lot by now) and prepare a position statement that points out how your first-hand knowledge of business operations will help a prospective employer!
Given this last example, I hope that I have demonstrated again the value of learning how to position your age as an asset or strength and not as a weakness!
Use Industry Contacts To Your Advantage
Here is another reason why your age can be an asset and not a liability.
Using a SWOT Analysis, you may be able to determine that you have contacts in the industry who can help you get a computer programming job!
This is a reasonable expectation because you probably know more people than a younger computer programmer based on the fact that you’ve worked in more places, been in contact with more people or been around longer 🙂
What you need to do, is to learn how to leverage your contacts and existing relationships towards getting a full-time computer programming job, a contract computer programming job or a freelance computer programming job!
How Do You Become A Computer Programmer?
You become a computer programmer by enrolling at the SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS BOOT CAMP!
The software developers boot camp is an Online, Video Based, Web Based, Instructor Led, Beginner to Advanced Software Developer Training
After you complete your computer programmers training you will get assistance towards pursuing a full-time contract programmer career or a freelance computer programmer career depending on what your SWOT Analysis tells us.
Don’t Worry about this because we will assist you at every stage of your new computer programmer career.
Finally, I will also advise you to register for the SQL Boot Camp because SQL skills are usually required in software developer positions. You should register for both the SQL Boot Camp and the Software Developers Boot Camp at the same time to get the best results.
This post answers a question posted by a reader on “how to become a computer programmer! If you have any Question about your career, Post IT as a comment on this page and I will be sure to answer it for you!