When you picture a coder, your mind will inevitably conjure up the image of someone who's lived and breathed the coding life for as long as they can remember.
Due to the complex nature of coding, it can seem, on the surface, as though learning to code might stretch beyond the capabilities of a generation who weren't raised with a mouse in one hand, and a keyboard in the other.
After working in a career for potentially 20 or more years, surely learning to code is impossible for someone over 40-years-old?
Well, no. Quite the opposite!
Coding is a skill that the over 40's can learn as much as any fresh-faced student.
If you're over 40 and you've been considering learning to code, here are five reasons you should take the plunge into the crystal clear blue waters of the coding pool.
1) It'll make you more employable.
The employment market in any industry is competitive these days. Regardless of your industry, niche, or existing position; learning a new skill will always work in your favour. Websites are a part of everyone's working life now, and having this extra knowledge will give you a leading edge in your current role. Having extra skills of such a specific nature will not only make you more employable in your existing company but it'll also create new opportunities for future employment too.
2) It'll give you more options.
If you're over 40, the chances are you've been in the workplace for a long time. Perhaps you're looking to step away from full-time work and slow things down. By learning to code, you'll give yourself opportunities to freelance as a coder and either supplement your existing income or step out of the full-time workforce altogether. Learning to code will subsidise a slower-paced lifestyle as you have the option to recruit coding clients at a time and frequency that suit you.
3) It'll give you a hobby.
If you learn to code you can create websites for yourself, your friends and family, and you can even start up your own business! If you want to develop your own website, learning code will save you thousands of dollars and, trust me, one project might keep you occupied for hours at a timeâ€¦actually, let's make that days!
4) You'll have a competitive edge.
When you learn to code as an over 40-year-old, you automatically have a competitive edge over younger students who are currently learning from the same resources as you. While the skills taught are the same, the world experience and outlook of someone who's over 40 is much broader and this worldlier view will inevitably help you to become a better coder.
5) It's a challenge.
Setting yourself a challenge will keep you focussed and give you something to aim for. There's no doubt that learning to code is a challenge, and, as an added bonus, it's also fun too!
Now that you're certain that over 40's can learn to code just as well as their younger coding counterparts, if you're over 40 and you want to learn how to code, here's a few tips to get you started!
Choose a language.
Some coding languages are easier than others to learn so, as a beginner, you'll want to start with one of the more simpler languages such as Python.
You can't learn them all, so focus on one at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. As your knowledge, experience and coding skills grow, so can your repertoire of languages if you choose. The language you decide to specialise in will largely depend on your goals and what you want to do with your newfound coding skills.
Go to college.
Your local college will have coding courses for mature students which will be filled with people just like you! As the courses are aimed at mature-age students, you'll find that they'll probably take place out of work hours so you can still go to work while you learn to code.
You might need to have learning credits to sit a coding course, but your local college can advise you further on their specific requirements.
If you have an uninterrupted WIFI connection, you have everything you need to access a worldwide library of coding education! While YouTube provides a platform for thousands of home and professionally made courses and lessons in code, you can also take more formal qualifications available through online learning platforms.
Create an online network.
Coders are, by nature, online people and so it seems logical that you'll find some new coding buddies hanging out online. Join forums, build relationships, learn from the experience of others and, most importantly, ask questions!
Once you've got the basics of coding mastered, the next step is to keep practicing. Purchase a domain name and a Wordpress template, and put your new-found skills to work. As with any language, the more you write, the better you'll become which will lead to more opportunities. Build a website for yourself, build one for your friends, and build them for your family! Just keep coding!
You're never too old to learn a new language, not even a computer programming language!
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