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Will you write code after you retire? How will your relationship with our craft change?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Of course if you are retired, please weigh in with your coding status.

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andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

Who can afford to retire?

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devpato profile image
Pato

where's the retweet button

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justsharkie profile image
/*Sharkie*/

For real though.

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nristorc

😓

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ashoutinthevoid profile image
Full Name

Precisely. Beat me to it 🤣

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downey profile image
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Dwayne Charrington

Retire? I will be writing code for as long as I am of sound mind. If I am in a retirement village, undoubtedly I will still be working on side-projects and hacking on numerous things. A retirement home for programmers would be a wonderful thing actually.

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Carolyn Stransky

Tbh I'm counting down the days until I'm financially stable enough to never code again 🤣 It's a very comfortable job, but I view it as just that - a job.

I'm also surprised that I'm one of the first people to say no to that first question in the discussion 🤔

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Cubicle Buddha

That’s interesting that you view it as a job but yet you find time to write articles about your craft. I’m not questioning you, I just find it curious. Would you mind sharing more about this distinction?

Is it perhaps that you like writing as well?

——
Update: I just read in your bio that you’re an ex-journalist. That’s solved that mystery! :)

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Carolyn Stransky

Valid question! Writing articles is part of my current job, so that's why I've started writing more the past four months or so 😁 In my previous company I was never given the time.

Even as a journalist though I never wrote articles that I wasn't compensated for. That's always been a clear distinction in my mind - but the line certainly gets blurred more often as a dev (especially with community events - like organizing meetups or speaking at conferences).

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cubiclebuddha profile image
Cubicle Buddha

Thank you for the response. That’s very cool. We have such talented, multi-faceted people here. :) I always hear about people’s careers. And the distinction between someone’s career vs. their passion vs. their calling vs. their hobby is always very interesting.

I think the beautiful part about life is that we have time to grow and change.

Personally, I might program after retirement but my main goal is to get a dog! 🐶

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Monica Salter

I'm counting down the days until I'm financially stable enough

As in, that will be soon??

I'm also surprised that I'm one of the first people to say no

Huh, really? Here in the US devs are always telling you how much they love their work. Some of it's BS, some of it's genuine 🤷‍♀️ Personally I'm more concerned with dedication than passion.

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John Jeng

Personally I'm more concerned with dedication than passion.

I really gotta remember this distinction since I usually feel less passionate than "I'm gonna hack in my free-time" but more passionate than "this is just a job".

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moca_salter profile image
Monica Salter

Ha, yeah it is a balance between the two.

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Hussein Al Hammad

Yeah that surprised me too! While I generally enjoy coding, I don't think I want to continue coding when I retire. I've already spent enough hours in front of screens for a lifetime.

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Desiré 👩‍🎓👩‍🏫

Hell, yes, if my head it's still working of course.

The moment I felt like I was making something work I swore to myself not to ever let go.

And perhaps also writing and even fishing, who knows.

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Zane Milakovic

100 percent I will.

I see myself going two different ways.

  1. Learn something I would not of done in my professional career. most likely a older technology at the time that has always interested me.

  2. Stop chasing the new and best practices. I have already been doing this for 18 years. When I retire, this is the biggest source of burn out to some degree, as well as excitement. It may be nice to pick a stack I am happy with and just focus on creation. Specifically honing some design skills I am weak in.

I have always wanted to make a interactive children’s book for my kids. I think at this point in time, if I didn’t do it already, it would be for my grandkids. Art is what keeps me from doing it today.

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thehellyousay2 profile image
Steve

My granddaughter LOVES Roblox, which is interactive gaming versus an interactive book. She's an only child, so she ends up at G&G house pretty often. She likes me to play as a separate character, someone who she can use to pick up when she wants to "take the wheel" and cart me around. The games are ok, about right for her age (7), but I am not sure what to make of them as they promote interacting with others (pick up/be picked up, invited to a party, etc.), but, thankfully, my granddaughter has been warned about "getting scammed" so she is happy when she has someone else, like me and grandma, to interact with. I realize that Roblox has a programming side to it that can be learned, along with a designer studio. If you spend a lot of time you could possibly make a game that could be monetized, but I think it would be neat just to create a game that would help children learn some kind of life skill. And Quinn would be all over it, she already wants to create Cat Mania and is a pretty good at drawing cat cartoons. I just don't know if I want to immerse myself in learning the platform because time becomes way more precious as you get older.

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Will Velida

Nah, I'm going off the grid :D

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Lisa Armstrong

I certainly hope too!
Coding is a great way to keep the brain active, something that's very important when aging. It's more interesting than doing cross word and sudoku puzzles. (IMHO)

I'd like to give back, use my powers for good.
I see myself working with an open source project, or a non-profit that could use an app.

Basically tinkering away without the deadlines and pressure.

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Gerard Klijs

I don't think I will. It's hard to say how the software landscape will look in 30-40 years. But I'll probably pick some nice advanced topics. Like a quantum native programming language or a global consistent tritemporal database.

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Kim Arnett 

Probably not..

My goals are to enjoy life once I retire, travel, visit, rescue puppers, whatever I feel like..
But, if I do code, it will be a non-profit project.. making the world better, somehow.

But my first priority is to enjoy not hustling... and we'll go from there. :P

It's great to see how many people do enjoy coding in this thread they want to continue!

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Ian Boddison

Coding is not a job for me anymore. Even when it was, it was a very minor part. I run a property business and write code for the business and for personal reasons.

If I ever retire, I doubt I'll be without solutions to problems that I can solve with code. So no, I can't imagine retiring from code.

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John Au-Yeung

Writing code is useful even if you don't have a job.

Writing programs make your computer much more useful.

So yea, I'll definitely continue to write code.

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Michel Renaud

The question is about retirement, so of course it's about doing it professionally. In no way does the question imply that you are not a coder otherwise (unless it's been reworded since you posted your comment, of course... ;) )

I had more fun coding when I wasn't doing it professionally! :)

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Luke Malpass

I started coding at 10 before money was a thing. It was my natural curiosity and passion. I've since earned enough I don't need to work. I still am coding. When I sell up my businesses for an easy life or at the odd weekend or holiday when I relax I code. It's my natural desire to create and learn.

When I employ developers there are only two questions. The first is why did you get into programming. The answer I'm looking for is to solve problems, make things better, learn new things. The second is seeing how they react to something they don't know and I want them to ask why or figure it out (I'm looking for curiosity).

I think if your a programmer who got into it naturally out of curiousity and desire to learn new things then you will by knocking out pull requests in your care home.

If your in it the same reason people get a job at McDonald's (for the money) then definitely not.

For how it changes.. I find I develop more creatively when it's not pressured with work and client demands. I experiment. I try what I normally would not. And from that typically comes discovery and progression. So for all you employers out there take it from an employer and dev that developers work better when not confined or over pressured. Let their wings be free to fly.

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Ben Sinclair

If I retire, which is by no means a given, I will probably not code.

Partly because when I have time off nowadays I rarely code, and partly because by 2177 we'll all be saying, "Alexa, make me an app to remote-control grain production in Belgium" anyway.

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Jean-Christophe Helary

I've retired at 30, and I'm currently working only to have a roof and food on the table, and coding is fun, so why stop ?

Kidding aside, hopefully, when you turn 70, you'll find a craft that's more appropriate for your aging body. Typing things on a computer hurts the body.

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Jean-Christophe Helary

But the concept of "retiring" in interesting. Considering what's going on in France at the moment, but also in all "advanced" capitalist countries that can afford retirement for their elders, it is quite visible that it's something capitalism doesn't encourage, hence, we're likely to be screwed one way or another. And have to code, or do whatever, until we are too senile to be of any use (and then we'll be dumped somewhere).

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Ben Sinclair

I am also working to have a roof and food, but I do not consider this state to be "retired".

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Jean-Christophe Helary

:-) That was half a joke.

I've retired from being an institutional slave paid for stuff that matters to people I have no idea about.

Which means that I'm not well-off, that every month is full of uncertainty, and that's definitely some kind of retirement. Retirement from a world that revolves around expectations of "success", whatever that means.

I spend my Fridays on an small island 30mn off the coast where I fix an old house with bits and pieces, and where I make wheat, and lemons, and potatoes. Fully knowing that bugs, or boars will eat everything before I can see much of all that. Well, they don't eat lemons, but the neighbours do.

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Massimo Artizzu

Yes, I think I will, because when I'll retire (and I have no clue of when it'll happen) I could do that just for the reason that got me into learning to code when I was a kid: it's so damn fun! 🥳

And also useful! There will be so much tech around us and so many more chances to bend them to my will!

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Steve

I have been Reaching Out For Retirement for the past 10 years and finally made it! Several things had to line up - married to a state employee with good retirement benefits, including medical/dental plans; turned 62 so I can ask Uncle Sam to repay my loans to him from the last 46 years; and worked my butt off the last 10 years outside of IT buying depressed real estate with borrowed down payments and applying sweat equity to repair and rent them. Hang in there, you'll all probably get to retire one day, but saving and investing are pretty key factors. People always say it takes money to make money and I believe that it's the truest words ever spoken.

I am not coding now and was not doing anything more professionally than light scripting with PHP for the last 14 years, but if you give me an integrated debugger and an interpretive (non-compiled) programming platform, then I can push through anything. The thing is, I really enjoyed coding and I probably always will. I'm just too far behind though to do things of major import, so scripting is a great way to stay a little active, but also maybe solve some problems and enhance productivity. At any rate, I think for the foreseeable future I will keep busy with some unfinished Raspberry Pi projects. I have found that UNIX knowledge, like touch typing, were a few of the things that I didn't think I needed to know, but have turned out to be very helpful to me for tinkering or building things.

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Douglas McKechie

Yes and gaming. I think both will be a good way to keep the brain active.

I imagine having a man-shed and rather than fixing old cars or motorbikes I will be fixing old computers, tinkering with electronics, programming, retro-gaming and building model boats.

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Daniel Marin

I totally would. Even now I do it for fun, making a life out of what you love is a MAJOR win.

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Eric Ahnell

Since my coding didn't start professionally, and the reasons I continue to pursue it aren't either, retirement is therefore expected to have zero impact on my desire to write code... whenever it happens. I have a long way to go still.

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Michel Renaud

I might like it more after I retire since I will/should no longer have the frustrations of work associated with it. There's stuff I'd like to do at home now, but just opening the code editor often just shoots my mind back to work and I start thinking about increasingly-frustrating office stuff. I don't need that in my leisure time. It might take a while to exorcise those demons, mind you...

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Thomas William McClean

I dont think so, I code a lot, at work, and projects at home. But I think a lot of the reason behind that is because I like building things and eventually want to setup my own business. By the point I retire I won't be looking at things as an investment in time for the future anymore, so I'll probably not have a reason to code.

I don't code because I enjoy it, I code because I enjoy building things.

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Damien Cosset

I'm only 28, and I have a long way to go before retirement, but here goes nothing.

I'm in France, so assuming our system stays the same, I can expect a decent retirement wage. Something that would let me live without too much trouble.

With that context, working when I retire wouldn't be mandatory.

However, I feel like, if my body and mind still allows it, that I would enjoy coding when I retire. I always felt drawn to writing. I could see myself writing books/courses to try to pass on my coding knowledge. I feel like, without the pressure of earning money, I would be only interested in what my code is used for. So, coding for non-profits, helping relatives with their projects, giving a hand on software I feel is really making a positive difference in the world... That would be the main difference I think.

I'm careful about this today, but when you have to pay the bills, you have to accept taking on work that might not get you super excited all the time. So, yeah, I think that's that. :D

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Matt Moran

I very much doubt it. I doubt I'll be able to retire though. I don't enjoy coding like I used to. I'd sooner write something or make something that'll be around after I'm dead, something that's of use to ordinary people, like furniture or a book about something (other than coding).

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Rachel Soderberg

Probably, I could see myself working a part time job at a cool company (or remotely from a tropical island somewhere part time). At the very least, I'm sure I'll have some project ideas rattling around in my head that I'll want to build.

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Daniel Brady

Questions about retirement fascinate me, because there is so much culture behind them and they presuppose a lot of things. I'll save most of my thoughts for a blog post on the subject, but hit on a few of the most relevant ones in this discussion.

What is retirement?

A lot of people say to me 'retirement' is 'no longer needing to work.' By that definition, I don't aim to retire. Call me crazy, but the idea of not working is not appealing. Work is a natural source of struggle, and if I'm not struggling, how can I be growing? You don't become a better person by eliminating obstacles, but by overcoming them.

Some people say 'working' is 'getting paid to do something.' Living requires money, so retirement is when you no longer need to actively pursue a paycheck to live the life you want. I still feel there are a lot of suppositions in that sort of thinking, but I think the "I need money" aspect is closer to the heart of the issue for most people.

Currently, I write code, I get paid, and I also get paid to write code. Since I don't write code to get paid, I can easily see a future where I write code without getting paid to do it.

Being able to make a computer do something by design instead of by accident is a great skill to have, given the increasingly ubiquitous nature of computers in our lives. If I stop exchanging code for money, I'm sure I'll still get value out of producing it. And if not, I'll probably be getting value out of manipulating whatever replaces code.

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Monica Salter

I'm not sure. If I did, I think I'd move away from web dev and dabble in Arduino or something.

But although coding provides engaging challenges and a good income, I can't say it's fulfilling. I'd rather put extra time into writing stories.

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Paceaux

I started writing front-end around 27, and I started doing it professionally at 31. I'm 38 now and I'm a principal solutions consultant. Career-wise I've peaked — unless I decide to jump to management or to start my own company.

Browsers change fast. There's new frameworks every few weeks. JavaScript changes every year. New CSS stuff all the time. New NPM packages every few minutes.

I mean, this is all a given in our industry, but this is on my mind a lot because it makes me wonder how much longer I can keep up. And thinking about how much longer I can keep up makes me think about retirement — at least from writing code professionally.

I figure I might have another 5 years in me as a professional developer. Maybe 5 after that focused on purely architecture. After that, "retirement" from writing code professionally at 48.

After that time, I might write code for funsies in my spare time. After all, that, "writing code for fun" was how it became a profession. But I won't be building stuff and shipping it. I won't be up late at night because production's down. I won't be doing pull requests. I won't be installing linters and running npm audits.

My relationship from code will go back to what it was in the beginning: an appreciation for how wonderfully useful it can be to know how to talk to computers.

But to be honest, I yearn for the day where I don't have to care about knowing what the latest hawtness is in web development.

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Peter Harrison

If you work from home what does retirement look like? If you enjoy what you do and it is almost like being paid to play why would we stop? Perhaps slow down or do less hours, maybe, but we need a goal in life.

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Paceaux

I'm worked from home for 9 years. Pretty sure retirement means I can uninstall Slack everywhere.

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kaleigh

I've never thought about this before! 🤔

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Practicing Developer

Occasionally I get interested in coding for the sake of coding, but to me that's no different than an interest in math for the sake of math, solving puzzles for the sake of solving puzzles, etc.

But most of the time when it comes to actually building things, the code is just the medium, and not a particularly convenient or pleasant one to work with, as it requires so many levels of translation between "Person with a meaningful problem" and "Implemented solution"

Given that I've got anywhere from 20-40 years before retirement, I would hope that by then most software development does not require writing much, if any code at all. And I imagine that if that is the case, I will definitely keep making software whenever it fills a need for me or someone else I could help.

And if that does happen, then my desire to code would compete with all the other things that look and feel like solving puzzles... and there are many of those that don't require the use of a computer to explore.

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David Mendoza (He/Him)

I will, most for personal use, like if my restaurant is still going I might update stuff, What about you @josuerodriguez98 ?

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Josué Rodríguez

I certainly hope to always write code! Probably less, but I will always write!

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Pato

I won't write no code! shit will be like whatever I think, it will display on the screen or some crazy thing like that lol

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Jake Varness

I don't think I'll be able to stop, honestly. It's just such a fun trade to be apart of.

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Sony AK

Yes of course, but define first "retire". If not coding then maybe writing about pratical coding.

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jeikabu

I wrote code before I started working, so I'd imagine I will after.

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Andrew Richardson

I'll be working until I die. Hopefully I'll be able to stay in development, but I suspect my brain slowing down and ageism will kick in and I'll be forced to do something else.

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najob

then I just start!

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eerk profile image
eerk

Ballie and Neon will write their own code so humans won't be needed for coding by that time.

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Kim Sean Pusod

Yes,I'll still be coding, but it might be a personal venture project.

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Luke Garrigan

I think about this quite a lot but slightly altered - would I still write code if I became a millionaire. I've never known the answer, I'll let you know when it happens.

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Glenn Stovall

I aim to stop coding long before I retire. Writing code is labor and I'd prefer to move into more strategic positions. If I do code, it'll be purely for fun.

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Suleyman Melikoglu

Of course I would. I don’t see coding as a chore. I’d totally do it for fun.

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Matteo Cargnelutti

Well, it's very hard to predict what coding will be like in 30+ years.

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Michiel Hendriks

I wrote code before I started to work. So yes, highly likely I will still write code if I retire.

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Yuriy Markov

Yes.
One should always keep own mind sharp.
It's like going for the gym: if you'll stop - you'll lose all you've gained.

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vicoerv profile image
Vico

If it's my main job? No, as a hobbyist? Yes

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Afroze Kabeer Khan. M

I will build, object recognition software for my grand kids 😄⭐.

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David

As long as my body lets me, imma code 😁

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Gabriel Laroche

I like to think that I will, but I'm only 22 with almost 2 years of professional experience so I'm not thinking about retirement at all.