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Quitting my career at 40…

How to become a web developer after 15 years in a different industry.

This is the first in a series of blog posts from me about my journey from quitting my job with ZERO coding experience to employed web developer. This one will be more personal, looking at why I’m doing this, later posts will be focused on my code and projects.

Who am I?

Hey, I’m Ian. I live out on the east coast in the UK. The last 15 years of my professional life have been spent working in various leadership positions, building happy and high performing teams, for a well known UK wine retailer. And it’s been great, surrounded by talented people, immersed in a great culture and selling a product that you never get bored off.


I had an itch that I needed to scratch. I wanted to explore something new, something that I loved, something that gave me even more.

Why web development?

It was time to start scratching.

I’m a super-geek at heart, I love all things tech and spend far too much money on gear for myself and my house. I die a little inside when I think about the amount I’ve spent on Sonos and Philips Hue lights alone…
I’ve also always been fascinated by the tech industry and the impact it has on our everyday lives. Who wouldn’t be excited about an industry that always promises the next big thing?

So I want to spend more of my working life surrounded by this stuff, I want to spend it building and creating tangible ‘things’ that bring joy to other people. And I guess there’s no better way to do that than as a web developer.

And that’s where the big decision came in. After lots of debate, loads of pros and cons lists being written, LOTS of wine being drunk and a final push from my wonderful partner, the time came to quit my job.

I’ve never been so terrified, was I about to “chuck it all away” to chase a pipe dream? I finally got my resignation email sent after the third pint in the pub.

What have I learnt so far?

And here I am. A few months into my course and I can’t believe how much we’ve covered. We’ve flown through HTML, CSS and Javascript, I’ve built websites and fully functional apps.

I’ve also learnt that learning again more than 15 years after university isn’t easy. I’ve had to plan my time well, review the work I’ve done, spend time coding with other people and be relentless.

What’s next?

React starts next, then more coding, then more building.

So how do you become a web developer after 15 years doing something else?

I'm not there yet but so far it's been:

  • Coding everyday. 👨‍💻
  • Read something new everyday. 📖
  • Ask for help. 🚑
  • Ask for feedback. 🗣
  • Keep building. 🏗️

Top comments (6)

ouailsalem profile image

Good luck buddy,

ianwhiscombe profile image

Thanks, same to you.

anzelika profile image

Best of luck! You've made n admirable choice and I've no doubt you'll make it! Keep posting about your journey :)

ianwhiscombe profile image

Thank you, will do.

oliverfeher profile image

Great article, Ian! I wish you luck in your journey if you ever need help, don't hesitate to reach out!

ianwhiscombe profile image

Hey man thanks. I’d forgotten I’d written this and not published it on here. Quick update and here it is!