Do you think that you are too old for programming and starting a career in tech? If so, you are not alone. Many people believe that there is an age cutoff after which it becomes impossible to get a job in tech.
However, this is simply not true! In fact, older workers can be extremely beneficial in the tech world, thanks to their wealth of experience and knowledge. In this blog post, we will explore why older workers are perfectly suited for a career in tech.
The myth of being too old for programming
Older adults are often told that they are too old for programming, but this claim in far from being supported by evidence and observations. There are many benefits to having an older worker in the tech field.
For one, they have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they can share with their colleagues. Additionally, older adults are often more patient and detail-oriented than their younger counterparts, which can be extremely valuable in a fast-paced environment like the tech world. Finally, older workers are often more reliable and less likely to change jobs frequently, making them a valuable asset to any company.
So if you’re thinking about making a career change into computer science but feel too old for programming, don’t let your mind trick you into thinking that age is the limiting factor.
What is the average age of workers in tech industry?
According to Zippia, the average age of software engineers is 40+ years old, which represents 46% of the population. As such, you can expect to encounter a fair number of experienced developers at most companies, including tech giants. This is likely due to the fact that more and more older adults are interested in pursuing a career in tech.
Are there age bias in tech industry?
Unfortunately, age bias still exist among hiring professionals in the tech industry. Despite the fact that over 50 years after the Age Discrimination in Employment Act made it illegal to discriminate workers on their age, many companies still have implicit bias when considering applications from older individuals.
Moreover, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that more than 40 percent of older tech workers are worried about losing their jobs because of their age, or consider their age to be a liability to their career.
How to avoid ageism as an applicant
While we know you are still ripe and able of doing just as excellent of a job as your younger competition, some recruiters and hiring managers may subconsciously prefer to interview younger applicants first.
Luckily, there are a few things you could do to combat these bias. For instance, you could avoid indicating the exact year of your graduation from college on your resume, as well as removing the older irrelevant job experiences. Make sure to accentuate on your relevant skills, experience, and knowledge to make your application undeniably strong, even if the recruiter did learn or estimate your age.
How old is too old for programming?
There is no one answer to this question – it depends on the individual and their level of experience and knowledge. However, many experts agree that the oldest recommended age for starting a career in tech is around 50-55 years of age.
However, this does not mean that it is impossible to make a career switch after the age of 55. In fact, there are many success stories of people who have made successful career transitions later in life. The key is to be willing to learn new things and to be adaptable. Older adults who are considering a career in tech should not let their age stop them from pursuing their dream career.
Starting late won’t make it awkward
You might also feel that while you might not be the oldest person at the office, there is a disparity between your age and your level of expertise in the computer science field. Sure, you might feel uncomfortable at first by having to report to a younger manager or ask for advice from fresh college graduates, but people who have been in your place say these feelings do not linger.
Most employees are quite helpful and won’t care whether you are younger or older than them. If you still feel reserved about the age differences among co-workers, try to remember communications at your last place of work. Surely, there were employees at your workplace who significantly differed in age and still went along with the rest of your colleagues.
Older adults make great tech employees
Working in tech can be a demanding task, regardless of your age. However, older workers can be an asset to the tech industry. Here are a few reasons why:
- Older workers often have more experience and knowledge than their younger counterparts.
- They are often more patient and less likely to get frustrated easily.
- They are typically better problem-solvers.
- They often have great people skills and can be excellent mentors.
- They are usually more reliable and less likely to call in sick frequently.
- They can serve as role models for younger employees.
- They can be a source of wisdom and knowledge in a rapidly-changing industry.
- Their years of experience can be an asset when it comes to innovation and creativity.
- They can help bridge the gap between the older and younger generations in the tech world.
- In a field that is constantly evolving, older workers can be an invaluable resource.
How to make a career change into tech later in life
It’s never too late to make a career change and enter the tech industry. In fact, many successful computer scientists and programmers are well into their 50s or 60s. Here are some tips on how to make the transition later in life.
1. Start by doing your research. Find out what kind of jobs are available in the tech industry and what skills you need to qualify for them. Then start learning those skills, even if you have to do it on your own time.
2. Get involved in the community of tech professionals, including those focused on Software Engineering Courses, online and in person. There are many forums, websites, and meetups where you can learn from others who have made the switch to tech later in life.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are plenty of people who will be happy to offer advice and guidance, so don’t be shy about reaching out for help when you need it most.
Tips for staying up-to-date with technology as an older worker
One way to prove your age is not a reflection of your capabilities (at least in a negative way) is to stay up-to-day with the latest novelties in the industry. Here are four tips for staying up-to-date with technology as you advance in your career:
- Use online resources to learn new programming languages and tools.
- Attend tech conferences and meetups to network with other professionals in the field.
- Subscribe to newsletters and blogs from major tech companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
- Stay active on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, where you can follow conversations about tech trends and connect with experts in the industry.
What are the next steps?
If you want to successfully transition to tech as a developer, you need to learn how to code. There are several ways you can acquire education needed to showcase your skills to the potential employers, build a portfolio, and ace the coding interviews. Your options, along with the hyperlinked lists of top programs, are as follows:
- Master’s degree for career changers (on-campus and online programs)
- Bridge to CS programs
- Post-baccalaureate programs
- Coding bootcamps
You may also want to check out our article on whether attending a coding bootcamp or a CS degree is the right choice for you.
Age should never be a deciding factor when it comes to pursuing a career in tech. In fact, older workers can bring a lot of valuable experience and knowledge to the table, which is why they are perfectly suited for this industry.
If you are interested in making a career change into tech later in life, we have provided some helpful tips on how to do so. Additionally, we have compiled a list of resources that will help you learn more about working in the tech field. We hope that you find this information useful and inspiring!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.