How to Become a Programmer in your 30-40s?

In this topic, we will talk about how a novice programmer who is already 30 or 40 years old can find his first job and how to work and compete with those who are now barely in their 20s.
How to Become a Programmer in your 30-40s
Alexey Korepanov, who is a programmer for 17 years and now working in Netherland. How will he be able to compete with yesterday’s students as an adult to a different programmer, even if he does not have much experience in convincing recruiters to choose him, not yesterday’s student? At the end of this topic, we will take a little look at the statistics on what is actually the average age of programmers around the world. And you can roughly imagine where you are relatively this average age and what age your future colleagues can be. Perhaps these numbers will surprise you.

It Doesn’t Matter How Old You Are

So let’s start with the most important thing,  it doesn’t matter how old you are . A simple example. Not so far Lesha opens an account on a freelance website( If you didn’t know, for registration you need to go through a full-fledged interview, to do a test task. In general, everything is like when you enter a large company. The only plus is that you do not need to quit your current job and do not have to start working at this place. During this process, they never asked about age. There were video interviews and you can probably understand how old a person is, but most of all, everyone is still only interested in your previous experience, what languages you know and the technologies you use. If you are over 30 to 40 or even older, then you have many advantages compared to 20-year-old young programmers who have just graduated from university.

Life Experience and Contacts

The first advantage is  life experience and the number of contacts you now have . Finding a job through a friend is much easier than just looking at an ad. For sure you have a friend who is connected with a software development company that can look for programmers. And even if you just learned your first language and you practically have no experience, if this friend recommends you, then the probability of being invited to an interview is much higher.

Personal Life – Family is a Plus

Unlike recent students, you probably have a family, you have children, and during the interview, this will be a big plus for you because the company usually likes when employees have children and families. In this case, it is much more difficult for an employee to change jobs. As a rule, such people sit in one place. It is statistics —  if a programmer has children, he can work longer in this company .

Try Something in the Current Place

If you are not looking for a new company right now, but just decided to do programming, then you probably already have your current job. And for sure at your current job, you can somehow  find tasks that are related to programming  and you can try to do such tasks, may even be my free time. But if you have such tasks at your current job, this is generally a great opportunity to learn some new programming languages and already get real experience that you can show when you come to an interview with some other company. Because experience and previous projects — are one of the main things to look at during the interview and one of the main things that you will miss because you are just starting to become a programmer. So it will be a recommendation to not quit right your position now, try to find some programming tasks in your current job.

If you are maybe 30-40 or even more years old, then there is no universal advice that will help you find your first job as a programmer. Such universal advice can exist if you are a former student and you have no experience but the possibility of some specialized education. But if you have behind this big life experience then you need to look for a new job already based on this experience, which is unique for all people.

Try to go on an Interview

Imagine that you are already engaged in a new project, maybe at your current job. In this case,  you can start going to interviews as early as possible , even if you are not mentally ready yet. In this case, you will see what is required of you as a candidate and you will get interview experience that you will not get in any other way. You will be able to see what questions will be asked to you and then at home, you can prepare for this question. You can learn what you don’t know now, it will help you in the future in your next interviews.

Soft Skills

Please do not forget that programming is not only a programming language. There are a huge number of other competencies of other properties of a programmer. There are a lot of such properties, starting with  how a person communicates with his colleagues or with his superiors . If you have twenty or thirty years of work in some company in a different specialty behind you, you also had to communicate there with your colleagues and with your boss. You also had to resolve some conflicts there.

One of the recruiters’ favorite questions during an interview is what conflicts you had at your previous job and how did you manage to resolve them. And you, having extensive experience in some other area, can easily answer this question. In this, you have a great advantage over yesterday’s students. Of course, in addition to colleagues, you had to work with your superiors, you had to complete some tasks you were given, deadlines and you can also tell the recruiter about this during an interview. For a recruiter not only are important technical knowledge or technical skills, but it also is much more important for him to understand if can you join the team and can you normally perform those tasks that will be given.

If during your previous career you worked with customers, this is another huge plus for you, because, at the end of the day, all the work of a programmer is the fulfillment of some customer requirements. This is an attempt to build a software system that will perform what the customer needs. Although, in general, programmers usually do not communicate with the user or customers directly, sometimes such situations do happen. If you have experience in finding out what the customer or user needs, this will be another huge plus for you. This again increases your chances of an interview.

Personality Traits

 This is about the ability to work independently and the ability to complete tasks on time.  All this is also very important for a recruiter. These skills also need time to develop, and you have some experience of previous work. Yesterday’s students don’t have this experience.

Now Some Statistics

There is research about the median age of programmers in the United States. And the number is 42 years old. Unfortunately, there is no data for other countries, but the situation is not very different. Median age means that if you are 42 years old then half of the programmers will be older than you and half younger.  So if you are in your 30s or 40s and you are just starting to program, you will not be very different from your colleagues in age.  So not to be afraid to try something new, even if you don’t succeed or don’t like it, you can always return to your previous profession. But you can try and really like it.


This article was prepared using the next video

Here are Interesting stories of people who got a job as a developer at the age of 29+:

And here is an infromation you may find useful:

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