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Martijn
Martijn

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Why I went back to college at age of 44

Two weeks ago during a refreshing holiday in Italy, after reading a few books, I felt the urge to move forward.

I work as a freelance full stack developer for more than 15 years and have a small software company in Skopje that helps me servicing some of my client projects. They do an excellent job!

Programming is my first love. I love solving problems with code and I still code in my “spare time” for fun. During the years I built a more than solid foundation in PHP, javascript and all the techniques needed to build, run and maintain complex web applications.

I never finished any formal education after high school. I got my Propaedeutics Journalism, but never finished it as I did not liked it as much as I liked programming.

I also like working on business development. But as much as I like it: I’m not very good at it. I never really worked in other companies, since I started working as a freelance / remote developer early on in my working career. And I never had a real business education as well, so most company stuff went with trial and error.

Don’t get me wrong.

I make a more than a decent income from coding and I’m really happy at where I am now, even with minimal formal education.

I'm even more fortunate that I can provide a living with a skill that can be learned pretty much for free online.

But I sometimes have the feeling I have gaps in my knowledge. Both in technical as in managing a business. Some people have the natural talent to make gold from everything they touch. I have to work for it. And no shame in that!

I thought about doing some more formal education several times, but as live came in the way, I never pulled the trigger.

Last summer holiday I finally managed to read some books.

Rich dad, poor dad from Robert T. Kiyosaki was one of them. While becoming a millionaire is not really one of my priorities, the way he reasons about income, knowledge and assets and liabilities, I realized I needed more knowledge and change a few things in how I think in time and money. Wish I read that book 20 years ago. I can highly recommend it.

Another book was What they teach you at Harvard Business School where Philip Delves Broughton went back to school after a career in journalism and while having a family. The book triggered me to also getting more business knowledge and wanting to do an MBA in The Netherlands too.

But…. To enroll to an official MBA education, in The Netherlands, you need a Bachelor degree.

Which I don’t have.

Yet.

The path of least resistance to get a Bachelor degree for me, is getting one in IT. I hope… And this will also be an excellent way to broaden my current knowledge about development and IT.

The study will be part-time: classes on 2 evenings, some hours of self-study. This in addition to my family life, day job(s) and mild fitness addiction.

Hobbies like gaming and playing bass, will be put on ice for a while.

While maybe the path of least resistance, it is not the shortest path. Four years before getting my bachelor, is quite a commitment. It will be a marathon.

And I know from experience that starting something is easy. But actually, finish something is way harder.

But even when I don’t finish the study, the upsides will be there. I will learn new languages, new tools, new ways of thinking and approaching problems. I will get to know a ton of new people. And I have found a new way to challenge myself.

The ultimate goal - of course - is to get the degree.

This new adventure is also a new trigger to start blogging and add more consistent content to twitter. There are tons of people that do an outstanding job in teaching programming, selling courses, running businesses and blog about it. Much better than I would be able to.

But to keep myself accountable and to share my experiences as an adult programmer following a bachelor study in IT, I will share my wins – and bloopers – online.

Maybe it will inspire you to start an education at later age as well, as you were even thinking 30-ish is too old to start a study.

So, if you want to see how this will evolve, or if you can help me finish this adventure with an occasional like or encouraging comment, please follow me on Twitter where I will post the smaller experiences, wins and bloopers.

Follow my adventure on Twitter

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