Is it too late to learn coding?

Sep 18, 2017

When I learned how to code, I was young. I had the time to tinker with the basics, try out things and see them fail. But I got back to it over and over again, and could finally make it work. After enormous effort, I could figure out how to write code.

In retrospect, people usually see that children learn so easily. They might, but in reality, we just value that time less. It doesn't take a child significantly less time to learn something new. But we usually lump those years together and see that period as a whole. It's no surprise that you can learn something in years.

For example, learning a natural language. Since you were born, you've been exposed to your mother tongue 24/7/365. And you still needed years to master it. Compare that with how you learn a foreign language today. A few hours every week, and usually that's all. It's little wonder why it seemingly takes an eternity.

Learning to code works somewhat similar. You do it, try and fail, and eventually figure out how it works. Learn the basics, struggle your way to develop the necessary skills.

As an adult, you possess all that is needed to learn it. Except for the time and the willingness to experiment. To try and fail. It is an investment instead of something fun.

As a child, you do things because they are fun. And coding certainly is. Making a machine do as you wish, manipulating it is like wizardry. You begin to see the potential to achieve something in the long run.

Back then, I wanted to write a game. But to do that, I needed to figure out coordinate geometry, multidimensional arrays, and basic computer graphics. But in the end, I had a maze with walls and realistic line of sight.

Contrast that with how adults see it. I've heard things like "People say I need to invest one year to get a job which pays more than my current one. In two years, I'll be better off".

It is an investment.

The fun is gone, there are no mazes, monsters that chase you, and without it, no more incentive to learn things like coordinate geometry. No wonder why people are struggling with the learning phase, and why the "learn X fast" schemes are rife. But they usually fail. Ask any IT manager.

The key is to overcome the "I need to do this" period and reach the "I want to do this" one. Coding is a vast topic, and there is a 100% chance some parts will interest you. Find those parts, and with them, your motivation.

It will still take an awful lot of time. But it will be a journey instead of a project that you want to get over with as soon as possible. You'll enjoy every part of it. And instead of being an n+1th below-than-average coder, you'll be someone companies are killing for.

The best-paid programmers are those who learned for the fun instead of the money.

Find the fun in coding.

You'll be 1000 times better off.