Is it too late for me to learn programming?

Is it true that it takes a lot of time to learn coding? That if you didn’t learn it early in life it’s too late for you?

Recently I’ve come across a question on twitter about reasons why we think we can’t code? One answer got me thinking. Penny commented that “Because as a 30+ year old beginner I’m already 15+ years behind.”

If you think that’s true read on.

I will explain few assumptions in Penny’s comment that aren’t necessarily true. We will also discover what’s really important in learning programming and why age is not one of those things.

The first assumption is that you have to start learning coding really young. 

I can relate to that. I’ve started playing with code when I was nine.I had plenty of time to learn.I could experiment and make mistakes.

Having a lot of time is important,but it’s not enough. You have to know how to spend it. My horizons where broad but not too deep.

Then you are in constant learning mode. You absorb a lot of informations from a lot different sources and thinking about a lot of things. This openness certainly helps. Your thinking is flexible.

Those two conditions makes learning programming much easier,but I think they can be overrated…

It’s because later in life you develop two very powerful abilities. Both really helpful when learning new skills.

And that brings me to the second false assumption. It’s 15 years timeline that Penny has mentioned.

I think it’s possible to learn much quicker when you’re 30+ rather than when you’re 15+. And it’s not really about the age itself, it’s about what we learn later on in life.

While going through life we develop one very powerful ability.

It’s focus. I remember that I was pretty distracted when I was younger. I couldn’t focus on one thing. I’ve jumped from concept to concept.

Focus is essential in learning process. Good focus cuts learning time a lot.

Second is the ability to know what you want, the ability to set clear objectives. It’s a way to selectively choose to learn parts that you will use the most.

You learn that pretty quickly at a job. After spending some time in the trenches you know exactly what you need to know to survive.

So if you learning programming don’t think about it as this huge task that takes a decade to master. Just think about one small thing that you can create that can possible grow into something useful. Then focus on one piece at the time.

Mastery is the ability to learn incrementally. Occasional leaps are possible,but only if you master the process.