When It Comes To Coding, Age Isn't A Number

Banishing the myth that only millennials and technophiles can write computer programs.

Read Time: 3 Mins

When you think about a coder or programmer, what picture springs to mind? That young person (guy or girl) who has been studying technology and programming since college? Or maybe someone who understands all the tech terms and are just now opening their eyes to the wonders of STEM? Well, would you be surprised if I told you that most of the time, this isn’t the case? In fact, an astonishing number of non-tech focused majors have started their own businesses after college! Here are two awe-inspiring stories:

Erin Parker was an economics major in college. She never felt any urge to code until aged 23 when she attended a Railsbridge Meetup, where she learned Ruby on Rails (her first ever programming language) and instantly fell in love with the idea of tech. A couple months later, she decided that she wanted to build her own website dedicated to helping women create their own personally perfected workout. The name? Spitfire.

After traversing various websites and self-help books, Erin built her own website, but later pivoted to jQuery Mobile and built an app after some criticism. She was completely surprised by the turnout; people loved the app and even wanted more - a native iOS app! Flash forward a couple months and a whole lot of learning later, Erin decided to launch a startup for Spitfire. Along with a new co-founder, Erin attended several bootcamps and eventually released the app (which was featured under the “Best New Apps” category in the iTunes store!). The company is now looking to develop Spitfire for android and to expand their reach worldwide!

Think 23 is still considered young, how about age 43?

Ken Hart was attracted to the field of web design through his hobby of fish-keeping; culturing aquatic habitats for fish and other species. He built a website for a blog about his hobby using a Wix template. He didn’t expect it to take off and see a constant viewership from other fish-keepers. Eventually, he felt guilty that he was using a template from another website and decided to learn to code. In his own words: “But rather than cowering behind my newspaper and angrily shaking my fist at the internet savvy kids, I decided to embrace the web and learn how to design websites.”

Ken began watching numerous Youtube videos to learn web design. Once he finished this particularly helpful course, he began making websites for his friends and family. After making one for his local dog walker, the father of the walker (who worked at Aims Media Glasgow) offered him a position as a design intern.

Jump forward four years and Ken is still working for the same agency. He is able to work from home and goes to the office once in awhile for team collaboration and to share his ideas. While his main area of expertise is design, Ken eagerly jumps at the opportunity to learn more. As a matter of fact, the company saw so much potential in him that they paid for him to take a programming course!

And these aren’t all the stories! There are plenty of new and amateur coders out there who aren’t millennials. Programming is a basic skill that everyone should learn, regardless of age; it helps us as a society out in the long run. Don’t believe me? Read this article entitled “To save the economy, teach grandma to code”!



Stephanie Almeida is a senior at a high school focused on engineering. She will study computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall. When she isn't dancing and singing at the top of her lungs to the top hits or playing with her puppy Max, you can find her competing with other programmers at hackathons or teaching coding to students from impoverished districts. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys trying exotic cuisines; food is her ultimate love! After college, Stephanie wants to found a startup which focuses on developing technology to help children with problems such as bullying.

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