Is it possible to become a programmer at 40?

From time to time I meet in the Russian-speaking sector of the Internet pessimistic opinions about (self) learning to program. I don’t see this with Americans. There, pessimism is shown by companies that have despaired of finding programmers. In the Russian-speaking sector, there are such statements:

piccha taken from a photobank
piccha taken from a photobank
  1. That you need to learn from school, and if you are already over 20 (30 or 40), then it’s too late to even start.

  2. Soon AI will learn to program itself and people will no longer be needed.

  3. Thanks to the courses, there will be so many programmers that they will flood the entire planet, and salaries will fall accordingly.

  4. Sooner or later, the programmer burns out so much that he is disgusted by touching the keyboard.

To be honest, the fourth point scares me the most. I have a friend who burned out. From school he programmed on the pluses and somewhere at the age of 30 he put down his laptop with the words that that was all. Sometimes he returns to programming to do something urgent for himself, but he does it with such disgust, as if he is digging up some kind of grave. I studied programming with him at school, but chose a simpler language, Turbo Pascal 7. Then a break of 25 years. Soon I am 44 years old and at the age of 40 I returned to programming. The first three pessimistic points do not scare me, and why so, I will answer below.

How did I get back into programming after 25 years?

Now I work as an office hamster, my salary is so-so. Of course, I plan to start working as a programmer, as soon as I learn the half-taught. A gap of 25 years, of course, is huge. Languages ​​have changed. But from school, I remembered that in any language there is a basic structure: variables, functions, loops and logic gates. Having studied this basis, it will already be enough to complete the necessary task that the boss gave me. He gave me five tables from five companies. In each table, the name of the product and the price are opposite. Each table has a thousand rows, each row has 4 columns. The task is to analyze all five tables and make the sixth table based on them with the most favorable prices. Since then I didn’t know how to program, I started doing it manually, somewhere on the hundredth row I started making mistakes, my head began to boil, and in general I don’t like such routines. I began to look for what languages ​​​​appeared, where you can, having studied the minimum, cope with the task most quickly. After reading various opinions, I decided to try Python.

The first month of study was painful. I did it crookedly, errors popped up, got angry, asked on the Internet, they called me a moron, gave up self-study. But the task from the boss brought me back to programming. Three months later I made such a program. As soon as fresh tables arrived, I ran my script and it did the job in less than a minute. But I didn’t run to the boss to hand over the work right away. Instead, I sat with a red face, pretended to huff over his super-difficult task, but actually went about my business. But I’m a bad actor and I was asked to write a password for my account. I wondered what they would do on my work computer? After a little thought, I decided to bungle a keylogger with screenshots in Python. A small program of 15 lines recorded all clicks and took black-and-white screenshots in poor quality. Each screen weighed 8 kb, all this was saved in the cloud, I received a notification of activity on the soap.

Having made the pyw extension, I added the script to autoload. And called it innocently, pretended to be a system process. Since it was a script, the antivirus did not perceive it as a keylogger. On my day off, I received a notification, the boss looked at my activity in the browser, opened the recent folder and stuff like that. Of course, I expected this, so I wiped it after myself, leaving only requests for work. After some time, I was given a new task related to the financial activities of the company, it was necessary to enter the company’s bank account via the Internet, I will not go into details, the main requirement is to do it without mistakes, which naturally, I made, thanks to the human factor. Then I had a serious conversation with the boss, the requirement to be attentive, get enough sleep, do exercises, and so on. Again I decided to find a solution in programming. So I learned parsing and sending requests. The script was written in a couple of hours, it did its job flawlessly. Soon the bank introduced protection against such scripts. Looking for an alternative solution, this is how I learned about virtual keyboards and mice. This caused some inconvenience. Selenium could run in the background, but with a virtual keyboard I couldn’t touch anything while the script was running. But this gave untracked script work. As it turned out later, such scripts are used to write bots in browser toys. One of which I made myself. After all, according to the developer, I had to tirelessly look at the screen, spend a lot of time on it and sleep 4 hours a day. I did not agree with this. Image recognition was screwed to the bot, the bot opened the map, searched for caves in the area, sent troops to prey, watched who was attacking, and took the troops out of the attack in time. He also taught the bot military tricks. Launched at night, woke up in the morning with a bunch of resources. I improved the bot, then the server will issue a timeout, then some other error will appear.

Quite recently, I ran out of hard drive space, and in a couple of minutes a script was written that ran through the entire disk and gave me a list of large files. And since this is my script, I started to wind up the functionality. For example, I added a feature, if a new large file appears on the disk, the script immediately reports this. I spent less time creating such a script than searching for a ready-made solution (and most likely a paid one).

One day, my friend complains to me that an error is recorded in the log on his server. The log is large, almost a gigabyte. The friend only knows VB (and doesn’t want to retrain). He reasoned aloud how difficult it would be to make a script that would pull out only entries with an error from the log. On a bet, I proved that such a script is done in a couple of minutes. The script spent three minutes processing the log and produced the required result.


I use programming for myself, to eliminate routine. And this is the main motivating factor that pushes me deeper and further into programming. I started learning other languages ​​to keep my nose to the wind. I will express my opinion about the third point. Mostly young people write about this, I remember from myself, when you are young, it seems that you will live forever. But somewhere around the age of 42, you realize that if you don’t go on a diet, you don’t start playing sports, then very soon you run to the doctors. Gout, diabetes, cancer, obesity and much more awaits you if you do not start thinking about your health in time. The struggle with their desires for survival begins. In a word, programmers are mortals, and they will not flood the planet. Plus personal tragedies that knock people out of the profession. For example, my good friend, he didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, went in for sports, but his wife accused him of spending a lot of time at the computer and left him for a drug addict neighbor (a classic of the genre). He took this accusation so deeply to his heart that he abandoned programming, went into the insurance business in order to increase his communication with people. I tried to explain to him that when a woman leaves, she will find something to accuse you of, but he did not understand me.

I somehow got worried and decided to count how many people in the world are involved in coding. I took statistics on countries, tax statements, even html coders were included in the statistics. So it turned out that only 0.3% of the total population of the Earth are involved in coding. And this applies not only to programmers, this is a general figure for all specialists in different areas. I looked a couple of years ago, maybe now the figure has changed. But hardly with such depressing statistics on the birth rate. In the United States in 2021, 3 million 450 thousand died and 850 thousand abortions were performed, in Russia 2.5 million died and 450 thousand abortions were performed. In Russia, there are also 80% of divorces, and this statistic is directly related to the number of suicides among men of working age. That is, it is very likely that a man will voluntarily die after a divorce. In other countries of the northern hemisphere of the planet, the statistics are no better. And some 120 years ago, a city woman gave birth to at least 4 children, and a village woman 10. And this was considered the norm, commonplace. Divorces were almost absent. But then the laws were radically different. Alimony system was not, for example. And if a woman left the family, then the children remained with their father by default. Men knew about this and were afraid of such a development of events. It was better to be married than divorced. Now it’s the other way around.

So, don’t worry, study programming, otherwise there may be no one in the future to study.

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