Are you too old to be a developer when you hit 50? Some have suggested that at that point, your brain just can’t take it anymore.
Society can be cruel. It has the ability to look at a demographic and assume (sometimes without any data) that they are unable do certain things… I’m not exactly sure at what point we decided that people of a certain age are incapable of retaining information or accomplishing even the most menial of tasks, but at some point we all quietly decided that people 50 and over cannot/shouldn’t be developers. And we tell ourselves things like, ‘Oh, their minds can’t keep up or, it’s just too much of a burden on them, etc.’ Well I can confidently tell you (and there is evidence) that I, in my very late 30’s have problems keeping up, remembering things, and sometimes feel very burdened by life and its expectations…
Now before we jump into this, we have covered this subject in a roundabout way here, and here, oh, and here:
Crossroads: “Do coders have to retire at 50? Short answer is No, I know developers that are still coding in their 50s, they’re doing well.” However, “you’re going to have to make a choice at some point in your software development career whether you want to keep coding or go into management, or architecture, or start your own business: there’s a crossroads you’re going to have to hit”. So don’t think about retirement unless you really want to because…it just depends on your personal choices and where you wanna find yourself”.
Savings: One thing you’re going to notice as a developer no matter how old you are is that what you can make (financially) and put aside for retirement is significantly better than most other jobs (comparatively, of course). So whether you’re getting into development in your 30s, or even your 40s or 50s, your chances to save for an early or later retirement (if you get in the game a little later in life) will not be affected. So that being said, if you started out in your 20s or 30s, you may want to retire when you’re 50, and if you’re 50, you have a chance to really put something significant aside in the next 5 years (depending on your choices and the amount you want to ‘hustle’). ” You should be able to start saving 30% or 40% of your money…The average person (if they’re doing really well) is maybe saving 10% of their money per year. If your could save 50% of your money, for every year the average person saves, you’re saving 5 years worth of money. So 3 years later, they’re only 3 years in and you’re already 15 years in!”
Age, Illness, and The Brain: Without getting too philosophical, we are just tiny boats adrift on the mammoth sea of life. The oars while small and sturdy can do little more then comfort us as we are tossed mercilessly to and fro on one wave, then another… All that to say is some of us may become ill in our old age, some of us may have to battle with dementia or worse, and there is no shame in that at all. All we can do is try our best to stay healthy. “There’s illness and some people’s mental capacities diminish. Most people are fine into their late 60s or 70s and if you stay healthy…you eat well, drink lots of water, exercise: try different things, keep your brain active -you’ll be fine- having to retire at 50…no.”
Check out the VLOG for more information and if you’re interested, click here to check out a sponsorship deal we have going on to get you some our our courses for FREE. Keep on fighting the good fight, and maybe when you’re confronted with someone older than you who’s having a ‘moment’, consider that it might not be an ‘old person’ thing, but a ‘putting up with life’s BS longer than you have’ thing… And on that note… -Enjoy!
How old can you be and still be a successful freelance coder / developer?
Gonna be a short article and VLOG, it’s mostly just a ‘WOW’ piece. For a quick refresher check out this and that previous article but there’s a man out there who is still a freelancing programmer at 83 years old!!
I mean C’mon! That’s insane! This guy either loves what he does, or owes some serious money. But it really does go to show you that age is just a number and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Check out the VLOG for the whole story and keep on rockin’ in the free[lance] world! -Enjoy!
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We touched on this in a previous article but thought it needed expanding upon. You younglings might wanna listen too, this could help you envision what your golden years could look like… . Freelancing, making money on the side and working at your own pace with clients you want to work with is a great way to stay sharp and keep a little “action” in your life, whether it’s coding or anything else, really.
If your 50+ freelancing is a “…super viable option for you that way because you…could work remotely, you can choose when you work, how you work, with whom you work, which clients you have (firing clients, by the way, is one of my favorite advantages of being a freelancer…).”
Love it or hate it the 9-5 full-time job landscape is shifting and while there are still some strong holdouts, it may just be a matter of time until most jobs realize that to stay competitive, they might have to hire out to freelancers. “…with my business I hire freelancers because there’s certain jobs that I have that don’t require a full-time employee, there’s just no reason for it.”
And if you need more incentive to become a freelancer, “Freelancing is the easiest type of business to get into, by the way; quickest to get up and running, cheapest in terms of cost…so if you’re older and you have a lot of domain [industry] knowledge: you may be a bookkeeper, you may be an expert in X, Y or Z, you can come in as a consultant, as a freelancer…maybe you can combine that with basic web skills and help small businesses get online or improve their web presence.”
The VLOG really does this subject justice and you can check it out below. Also (and yes, here’s the pitch…), we offer a really great, immersive course called, “the Complete Freelancer“, that takes advantage of almost 3 decades of experience. You don’t have to take it, but it helps… -Enjoy!
Life is a wonderful and complicated mess…at the best of times. Sometimes we think we know what we want right out of the gate and we follow it only to realize it’s not what we wanted after all. Then we find something else and maybe we do that for awhile, then something else strikes our fancy (or need to pay bills) and we gravitate towards that. The point is all these things cost us really is time. How much of it we’ve spent, how much we have left and what we want to spend it doing…man, this got serious and sobering real fast… So, is it possible to become a coder a little later in life? Say 50? It’s a nice round number, and the answer is ‘Yes, but…’
Alright, sirs and madames…I was trying to sound respectful but it sounds like I called you a bunch stuck-ups and brothel owners, apologies; let’s try again… Alright, I’m just going to jump into it. The answer is YES, you can become a coder at 50, BUT there are going to be some things that will be an advantage to you and others that will be a disadvantage:
Advantage: “When you’re getting into this game at an older age, you’ve probably got a lot more discipline, you definitely have a lot more life experience, and you may have a lot of domain [industry] knowledge.” By domain/industry knowledge we mean the business you were part of in the past. Maybe you worked in the coffee industry, maybe you were an accountant, etc. That insight into your previous business is worth a lifetime of experience and could help you to create a more streamlined/intuitive program for that industry. Companies would value that experience in a coder much more than a young nerdling with maybe a couple years programming experience and no industry knowledge…which brings us to the disadvantages…
Disadvantage: “A lot of companies will be reluctant to hire somebody in their 50’s or older because they know that this person is close to or closing in on retirement more often than not.” People are healthier these days which means they’re living longer (Although why you would want to live longer to work more is beyond me…).
An example is start-ups; they usually hire young coders that they can abuse or burnout but there are start-ups that have hired older and in their 50’s too for their specialized industry knowledge, it’s just a little more rare…
Honestly, there’s a lot more positives working in your favor than negatives, including going into freelance work which means you collect and retain clients at your own pace. The VLOG covers this in way more detail including some paths/specialties that we think would compliment your experience, so please check it out. Bonus: Some nice footage at the end of winter in Montreal at a devastating height… -Enjoy!