Why it's never too late to become a software engineer.

Terri Isidro's photo
Terri Isidro
·Sep 10, 2021·

3 min read

I am no spring chicken. I'm not saying I'm old but I'm not 25. I am, in fact 56 years old. Most people my age have settled into a career, started thinking about retirement, and are experts in some type of work. I fit that bill too, until I decided this year to become a software engineer.

Is it too late to become a software engineer if you are 56 years old? Maybe! I am not going to lie to you and write a sunshine-and-unicorns post saying "Yay! You go girl! You can do it!"

I mean you can but obviously it's not going to be easy. Just how hard will it be? Think: late nights, giving up fun stuff you want to do on weekends, potentially upsetting friends, family, and pets because you are obsessed with this major...obsession. To say it has taken a monumental effort is an understatement, it really has.

I started this adventure by spending time exploring what software engineering is and why it would be something that interests me (more on that in a later post). Once I knew it was for me, the hard work started.

I completed lessons on FreeCodeCamp.com. I watched lots of Youtube videos. I attempted to read Eloquent Javascript, got scared, and put it down! I found a wonderful community of aspiring software engineers on 100Devs led by Leon Noel, a saint of a man who runs a free online bootcamp to help people like me get on board with this career.

And I wrote code. And I wrote code. And. I. Wrote. Code.

Seven months later: I'm learning, but still struggling. I'm sure I want to do this, and I am positive I'll get a job. I am lucky to have a background in HTML and CSS, so that is a real help. I also learn quickly and love learning, so this is not painful. For me, this is joyful!

Back to the initial topic: It's never too late to become a software engineer, but it's one of those things that you must really WANT. The road is paved with blood, sweat, and tears. You will stress, you will strain, you will doubt yourself, you will fail, and you will break down. Then you will keep going and you will LEARN and SUCCEED.

This journey has been one of the most epic ones of my life, and at this age I have been through a lot. I have gained a sense of accomplishment and pride in my abilities that is so rewarding! I have loved every minute of this difficult, all-encompassing, overwhelming, fulfilling, and exciting journey.

Why am I doing it? Again, that's a topic for a future blog--but the root of it is to prove to myself that I still have it, I can do it, and I will do it! That I can learn something I have always wondered about and admired from afar, not quite brave enough to attempt it. Only now, after all this living I am finally brave enough.

What's your reason? There are a million reasons out there, and if you find it in your heart you will immediately understand why it is never too late to embark on a journey like this. But it's going to take a lot of grit. Don't worry--you've got the grit!

Good luck, godspeed, and check back with me! I'll be posting tips, tricks, and easy tutorials on this blog as I make my way. I'll also blog about what has helped me stay motivated and what resources have helped me on my path to become a software engineer. I am good today, and I'll be better each day. The biggest reward is seeing myself learn and grow. I hope I can help you too.

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