re: What's your advice to someone over the age of 30 considering a career in software development? VIEW POST


Let me put some realistic advice. Don't think of it as a gatekeeper point of view but more of realistic view on where to put your head. The answer is not intended as shot of ageism but if you want to take your anger and vent at me. So be it. Still I wish to stay realistic.

  1. Degree does matter, when you are developing serious applications. e.g. With arts and humanities degree, if companies start to hire the intern grad for the rover or the drone programming where even small change in float value can destroy a product, that's where the degree comes in for in depth involvement of developer or worker. Don't think of this as a gatekeeper point of view, this sort of products are in realistic world, with realistic expectations. If companies start to compromise on who they hire, that reflects in final product. We can't do kumbaya, lovey dovey in this sort of sector especially when recession kicks in.

  2. Age does matter. You can play around Javascript, CSS and HTML. And you can take yourself upto age of 70 if you have less memory loss issues. However trying to build applications that involve lot of calculations (say finance sector) and testing means your age matters for attention of details and execution towards it. As we age we can delegate better but we are also likely to miss out on small details, which matter a lot, when we learn new stuff and also try to execute it.

  3. Salary does matter. If you are going to be into Web dev position salary is not going to be 120k plus unless adobe or top 100 MNCs hire you. That's where the maintenance projects come in. So let's say you learn to code, try to find maintenance projects where you are fixing someone else's code or product instead of building from scratch. Those jobs do pay and many MNCs are always in search to find a guy in such case.

Lot of people here don't tell you the reality.

  1. Try writing React like framework from scratch in 50s, you'd exhaust. Try remembering workflow for making dashboards using your full stack knowledge in 50s. It's even more harder. Being under 40 would be lot more ideal time for this. Sure exceptions exist but they are exceptions for a reason and not the norm.

  2. Try to remember which library is right for the job as you age, that decision making switch is even more harder.

  3. Try making game that involves a lot of complex details, you'd exhaust making games too.

  4. Work life balance is harder upto 40, and after 40, even health comes into equation.

  5. Religious, political and social opinions also have impact considering IT and Dev field is more of left leaning, you will definitely face lot of forced opinions on you in such context.

Note: Remember that programming, gaming, video streaming and vlogging are extremely exhaustive activities, where your age would definitely impact the performance. Will power can get you ahead but there is also limit to how much body can take.


If you want to build your career in say Web Development I think there are less obstacles and nobody should stop you from getting into it. HTML, CSS and Javascript is easy to learn and retain in head for decades. It should not stop you from getting that junior dev job and move upwards from there.

So my suggestion: Go for jobs like say - Web Dev, WordPress support specialist, theme and plugin development for web based app or product, front end web dev, designer etc.


Buddy, I'm 50. I apologise in advance for the directness of this reply, but since we're speaking honestly here: I work in a much higher pressure complex technical situation than you ever will. Every day. There's a reason I get flown all over the world (which I hate) to do the jobs that affect millions of people. Why? Because I'm 50. Nobody younger can handle the pressure or has the experience I have, or believe me they wouldn't be paying me what they are - they'd have someone younger for less $. I'm sorry and hope I've not offended you, but you really need to have a good think before saying this stuff. I suppose, I used to have the same view at your age... It's just not an accurate view point. Oh, and I went to University and did 1st year engineering... It's ok. I can add up.


No offense taken. I can understand you point of view. My point regarding the 50s wasn't meant to be ageist but more of realistic view of how some people here were not realistic about starting something from scratch in this age bracket. Again this is based on what I have seen from the people who are restarting the career at that age bracket on those specific tasks. Again not meant to say that innovators, entrepreneurs, coders don't exist on 50s, 60s, and onwards. It's just people are not being honest about age bracket and physical limitation.

That's good you're not offended, though you did miss the point. That's ok, it'll click later on down the track.
Just out of interest, you sound like you have experience in high stakes projects. Do you lead a team (sorry, I don't know the correct terminology) or are you part of a team working on a big project?

Yes, working with one team on project for govt.

Ah. Very cool. I have a friend that has a few govt contracts in the local govt management sector. Which area are you developing for?


Sorry, I had to sign up after a long time lurking just to reply to this - ageism aside, this is completely incorrect from my experience. The older, more experienced developers I know (I sit somewhere in the middle of the age spectrum myself) are typically the most detail oriented, having already learnt the cost of half-assing it.

I don't want to be negative about any other group, so I won't go down the road of "if anyone's likely to be sloppy and ignore the details, it's XYZ...", but what I've witnessed in my career (even if anecdotally) is completely contradictory to your post.

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