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Learning how to code after 40: is it possible?

marciof profile image { marcio } ・3 min read

I can’t believe it’s been almost a full year since I decided to change some things in my life, namely starting to learn how to code. I learned a lot during these months, mainly that it’s very possible to learn new things after 40. The knowledge I’ve gathered recently made me remember something I’d apparently forget: I can do whatever I set my mind to. And you can too.
This is my journey.

Coding from the coziness of a blanket

It all began around last December. I was in a hump, bored to death, thinking my life wasn’t going as I had expected. Then my partner said to me “why don’t you go on Udemy and buy a course to learn something new?” They were having a sale so I thought to myself “why not?”
I remember always wanting to learn how to code since an early age. It all began with Basic and Spectrum, but back then I thought that only special people with special powers could learn how to program. It seemed too hard, foreign and unobtainable, and so I never really pursued it.
Until I bought a Swift course on Udemy.

And so it begins

I started taking the course. After a couple of days, I had made my first iOS app – a clone of a Get Rich app, like the infamous one that many years ago scammed many people out of their money. Although it was a simple, useless app, it made me feel proud of myself, like I could do anything. The sky was the limit and I will never forget how happy I was with myself.
After a couple of months of learning Swift I decided to change gears and focus on the Web. Back in February, I thought I could quickly learn how to build a website first and then dedicate myself to code apps for the iPhone – looking back, I now realize I was being too optimistic about the number of programming languages one can learn in a single year - but hey, this is a lifetime journey and I now know I have many years to learn as many programming languages as I want to!
Back to what I was saying.
So I changed gears and decided to focus on web development first, mainly because I thought it would be simpler and easier to start getting customers for my apps this way – after all, every business needs an online presence, right?
I quickly realized there was a bunch of stuff I would have to learn, much more than I thought at first. Between HTML, CSS and JavaScript – not to mention Node, ExpressJS and React – there was a ton of knowledge to be had. This made me rethink my ability to learn and my imposter syndrome reared its ugly head. I started to think I had been too foolish, that at my age I wasn’t going to be able to learn anything because it was too hard.
I had started to compare myself to other online, a trap I failed to notice.
When something like imposter syndrome want to take a hold of you, it helps having someone in your life that pulls you back from the deep end of the well to remind you of how much you’ve learned. And that’s exactly what my partner did.

Now what?

In just five months I’m happy to say I’ve learned enough to make my own website. I’ve also finished a website for a 3D artist and I’m currently working on one for a friend of mine, whose online presence was in need of a helping hand.
I still have much to learn, but so does so many people. I look at it this way: learning how to code an app or how to build a website is a marathon, not a sprint.
And if in five months I’m here, who knows where I’ll be in another five or 12 months? Hopefully, at least I'll be more knowledgeable.

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Ezra Black

As a swift engineer I applaud you!

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{ marcio } Author

Thank you 🙏😊