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  • June 4, 2022, 2:53 p.m.

Are You Too Old for a Career in Web Development?

Are You Too Old for a Career in Web Development?

The world of programming is full of fresh-faced coding prodigies barely out of their teens, dealing simultaneously with buggy code and acne. Or this is the reality that films and Netflix shows would have us believe.

Challenges of being an older web developer

Feeling up-to-date with programming trends and technologies

The field of software engineering is constantly evolving. What you learned 10 years ago might no longer be relevant today. This can be frustrating for any engineer, regardless of age. For older developers, there might be a frustration of the “sunk cost” of your previous education. There may even be some resentment that this rapid digitization has closed off other past career paths.

The other side is finding ways to stay up to date. It’s true in tech that there is a lot of information to absorb. Embrace it. The evolving nature of the web development field means you’re unlikely to ever find work boring! And hey, there are even studies showing that an intellectually stimulating job can help prevent Alzeihmer’s!

How to stay up to date? Sign up for some email newsletters, follow blogs (such as Stack Overflow’s The Overflow, for starters), podcasts, or YouTube channels about web development. This will help you keep track of new trends and technologies in the industry.

Connecting with younger employees and colleagues

People like talking about themselves. Don’t assume your younger colleagues aren’t interested in you and what you have to say.

As an older developer, you might have more responsibilities to come home to. A partner, pets, kids, car payments, household chores, a mortgage. While your younger colleagues are feverishly working their way up the career ladder with little responsibility at home. .”Been there, done that” you might think.

How to overcome age-related obstacles

Let’s focus on the things we can control here. Of course, if someone is dead set against hiring someone older, there’s nothing to be done. In most cases, ageism in the tech field is more focused on how people perceive you, not so much on your actual abilities.

Remember that both sides of the interview process are human. It’s more about finding that common ground. Self-awareness, perspective and preparedness can go a long way when preparing for interviews.

Getting past mental barriers

Imposter syndrome. We’ve all heard of it. Even the most senior developers struggle with imposter syndrome. In a field that’s constantly growing and changing, it’s impossible to know everything. This means learning to tolerate imposter syndrome will be a continual process. 

Make sure you don’t disqualify yourself. What does that mean? Feeling awkward about your age, or deciding a company will reject you before even sending out that application. If you don’t believe someone should hire you, it will be hard to convince them they should.

Some places to look: Facebook groups, forums of online coding courses, meetup.com, all good places to start.

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