Most people who are over 40 and want to enter into the web development industry ask this question all the time. In fact, a quick search on Google will reveal hundreds of people who are asking the same question on Q&A websites like Quora or forums like Reddit.
Are you too old to become a Web Developer? In short, no, you are not too old to become a Web Developer. There are many opportunities for developers today no matter what your age is. It is true that younger people learn faster and better to some extent, but there are many examples of people who have been very successful in their “older” days.
So, if you are one of those people who are worried about their age then take a deep breath and relax. You are not alone.
Just think back, have you ever browsed a website and thought what is the age of the developer that created that website? I’m guessing no! So, nobody cares what your age is as long as you can create a beautiful and user-friendly website.
It is never too late to become a web developer if you have the proper motivation and the drive to learn new things. Many people agree that age is just a number. The more important thing than your age is proper education and how serious you are about learning the subject.
If you want to be a developer just because it is a trending career option or with a mindset of earning more money, chances are that you will lose your interest and give up. However, if you find that you really like coding, web designing, learning about the topic in general or even watching YouTube videos then you will most likely succeed sooner than you think.
Thus, your age should not be an excuse to give up.
In this article, we will discuss why being a web developer has nothing to do with age, some basic questions that you may have as a beginner and how to decide what kind of developer you want to be. We will even share how you can earn money as soon as possible and list some of our favorite resources to help you get started.
It is no secret that many people doubt their ability to learn new things as they get older. And there is a legitimate reason to worry out our age.
Our brain’s ability to process information peaks when we are around 18-20 years old and our short-term or working memory peaks at around age 25 and remains stable up until age 35. Thus, this is the best time to acquire knowledge and learn new skills.
After this period, our learning capacity starts to decline slowly as we grow older. Hence, people think that if they are over 40 years old, they have lost their window of opportunity to improve themselves. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Our brain is a very fascinating organ. It has the ability to adapt and rewire itself according to our needs.
If you constantly challenge yourself and use your brain, you won’t lose it.
So, it is still possible to educate yourself or handle difficult tasks as you grow older. In fact, if you are in a job which requires you to think on your feet, be creative or just actively involve your mind then you still have an optimal mental conditioning.
Your age is not an obstacle unless you have a serious age-related illness. In fact, your chances of succeeding can improve a lot as you grow older. Let me explain the reason behind this logic.
There are two forms of intelligence – Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence.
Fluid intelligence is the measure of your capacity to process data, analyze information and solve problems that you have never encountered in the past. Your fluid intelligence determines how good your ability is to solve logical problems using deductive or inductive reasoning.
When people talk about intelligence, they generally mean fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence is the measure of all the knowledge that you have gained in your life and the skills that you have learned. It depends on your ability to access your long-term memory in order to solve problems based on your previous experience and wisdom.
Hence, while fluid intelligence tends to decline with age, our crystallized intelligence continues to grow. So, even if you are starting late you can still succeed. Besides, as we grow older we tend to be more patient, diligent, disciplined and committed to our cause and these are some very indicators of success.
In fact, there are tons of famous people who only found success during the latter part of their life. The founder of ‘KFC’, Colonel Sanders became successful during his 60s. The famous actor Samuel L. Jackson got his break in Hollywood at the age of 43. The godfather of Marvel comics wrote his first comic at the age of 39.
Do you still believe that your age will hold you back?
Before you start educating yourself, you have to consider why you want to be a web developer. It is much easier to proceed when you know the end goal in your mind.
Some of the benefits of being a web developer are listed below.
1. There is no need for a formal degree – A majority of web developers are self-taught and don’t have any formal education. In fact, if you already have experience with database management, coding or programming language then you can dive into the web development space.
2. You can let your creative juices flow – Designing a website from scratch in order to provide an impeccable user experience calls for an equal amount of skill and creativity. Thus, by being a web developer you can exercise your creative muscles to their limits.
3. You can keep learning and continue to grow – If you have a keen thirst for knowledge then this can become the perfect career for you. Web developers are not confined to a specific industry and can expand or transfer their skills as new technology continue to emerge. For eg., you can go into mobile app development or create chatbots etc.
4. You can be your own boss – After you develop some experience working under an organization, gather some good reviews and build a decent portfolio, you can quickly transition to being a freelancer. Many clients prefer working with an individual instead of an agency or an organization and by being a freelancer you can quit your 9-5 job.
5. The pay is very good – The demand for web developers is continuing to grow as more and more people are taking their business online. This means that people are willing to spend huge money in order to find talented developers.
Now that you know the benefits of becoming a web developer, let us help you decide the kind of developer you want to be. The various types of web developer are listed below.
1. Front-end Developer – They are also known as client-side developers. They are responsible for tweaking and programming the layout and visual interface of a website. Thus, they need to focus on the user interface(UI) and the user experience(UX).
2. Backend Developer – They are also known as server-side developers and do their magic behind the scenes. They work on the architecture of different servers like web servers, application servers, and database servers by designing and implementing functional core logic.
Thus their work is not visible to end users. The primary languages they need to learn is at least one of these: Python, C, C++, Java, DotNet, Ruby on Rails, PHP etc. They must also have knowledge of databases, caching systems, data storage systems, email systems, logging systems etc.
This can be a suitable career option for you if you are a logical thinker.
3. Full-Stack Developer – These are developers who are incredibly versatile and can do both front-end and back-end development. If you are up for a challenge and consider yourself to be both a logical as well as a creative think, you can decide to be a full-stack developer.
The time it takes to be a web developer depends on what kind of developer you want to be and the amount of time you dedicate every day in order to learn the programming languages.
If you want to be a back-end developer, it can take you anywhere from 6-8 months to get familiar with programming languages like Python, Express.js, Node.js, Cloud, MongoDB etc. However, it will take more than a year to reach a level where you can compete on a professional level.
If your goal is to become a full-stack developer, it will take about a year to learn the basics and about 2-3 years to complete on a professional level.
If you are above 40, the best way to earn money fast as a web developer is to work as a freelancer. Sure, you can also try to get a job but it can be a little difficult since you are a little older. Companies tend to employ young people. So, you either have to have a very specific skill set or wait to rack up some experience.
Being a freelancer will let you build your own portfolio, choose your clients, decide your pay and have a better work-life balance.
Here is a roadmap that you can follow in order to start earning money as a freelancer –
1. Starting by learning all the popular languages or technologies – You have to learn more than one language or technology in order to be a web developer. And, the more languages you know, the more skills you will have and the more jobs you will be able to accept.
2. Start working on your knowledge – Start building different kinds of websites as soon as you can. Don’t worry about the website being perfect. You will create them so that you can practically apply the knowledge you learn, assess your own skills and learn from your mistakes.
3. Find what you love doing and focus on it – After you work for some time, you will have an idea of the things you like doing and that comes easily to you. Focus on those things and build on it further. You will become an expert in that particular area of web development and don’t have to compete with everyone in the web development space.
4. Join some freelancing sites – This is the easiest way to earn money as a beginner. Join sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, Guru, broxer etc. Build your profile and start hunting for clients!
Initially, you won’t get any high paying jobs. In fact, at this stage, your focus should be on building a good portfolio and getting those 5-star reviews.
5. Build up your brand – After you get enough reviews and work on some complex projects, it’s time to build your own personal brand. Start by creating your own website and let people know about what you do both online and offline.
Don’t forget to subtly let your previous clients know about it too!
6. Keep learning and improve yourself – Being a freelancer is not easy. You have to compete with thousands of other individuals who are trying to make a living too. The only way to get an edge over them is to constantly educate yourself and provide a delightful customer experience.
The 2016 annual survey conducted by Stack Overflow, a popular Q&A website for developers and programmers revealed that the average age for being a web developer is 29.6 while the median is 27.
Don’t know how to start your journey? Here is a list of resources to help you get started.
1. Codecademy – This is a pretty good place to start learning the basics like HTML and CSS. After you master them, you can start learning backend languages like Python and Ruby.
3. GIT – GIT is an industry standard control system that helps you to track changes you made on your website over. This is a great tool to find out what went wrong and fix it.
4. Stack Overflow – This is a community of programmers with over 7 million registered members. The community is active and very helpful so you can find tips, trick or advice related to web development and even ask any questions you may have.
5. GitHub – GitHub is a leading software development platform where you can collaborate with fellow developers and store the projects that you are working on.
The journey to being a web developer is not easy and will take time. However, if you love what you do and stick with it, you will find success. Remember, you are investing in yourself and it will pay off regardless of your age.
Be sure to take action today so that you can start earning money as soon as possible.