As an older person who didn’t grow up with an iPhone in your hand, creating your own app might seem like a crazy idea. It is, and it’s so crazy it’s brilliant! Don’t be afraid to learn to code!
I’m assuming that if you are reading this, you have little or no exposure to computer programming (coding). And, if you are over the age of 40, then you probably had your career pretty well established by the time Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007. You had probably learned a whole suite of non-coding skills by then, too. Why, then, might it be a good idea learn how to code now, at the perfectly ripe age of 40, or 50, or 65, or older?
Expand Your Skills
Coding is a skill like any other. It has it’s learning curve, it’s feedback indicators, and it’s challenging parts. There’s nothing about it that is magical or mystical. It’s pretty mundane actually, as far as skills go. So there is no reason why you can’t learn it if you want to. Doing so may help you if you are in any of the following situations:
- Up-Skill: If you are still working, learning to code may be applicable in your current job. Expanding your skill set by learning to code may help you get a raise or promotion. It also shows that you are curious, engaged, and willing to learn new and relevant things.
- Re-Skill: Maybe you are looking for a career shift, a professional change of scenery, or you see your industry creeping toward obscurity or radical change. Learning to code could open up whole new career paths for you, including trying out entrepreneurship.
- Fun-Skill: Perhaps you are retired and like it that way, but are looking for an interesting hobby. Learning to code, a fun hobby? Sounds crazy, but why not? You could learn to make simple games for your grand kids in just a few weeks or months.
Shatter the cliche:
Instead of your grand kid showing you how an app works, you show your grand kid how THE APP YOU MADE works!
Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life
Chances are you have at least one idea for how to solve a thorny problem. Or maybe you have an intriguing idea for a fun or educational game. Solutions to problems and entertainment are two of the main reasons apps exist. If you learn to code, in this case apps, you could bring your good ideas to life. Even if it’s just for you, and maybe some of your friends and family, you could be the creator of something useful or fun.
Coding Stimulates Your Brain
In many ways the brain is a “use it or lose it” situation. By learning new things, especially if they are complex and challenging, our brains create new wiring (metaphorically) and stay fresh and youthful (again, metaphorically). Coding is the perfect thing to learn to help keep your brain sharp. It engages the brain in a variety of cognitive tasks, like logical reasoning, problem solving, spatial reasoning, design thinking, organization, and so on (depending on what you are coding/building). Some research has suggested that learning new skills – particularly those that are cognitively challenging and new, like coding – may help prevent or improve the symptoms of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Empower Yourself in our Increasing Tech-Saturated World
There’s no denying it: Our world is filled with tech gadgets and software programs. You can’t do anything – and I mean anything – without interacting with some sort of software and it’s associated equipment. Grocery shopping? Bar code scanner, weighing scales, price labels, cash register, credit card reader, etc. How much code literally drives your car? Lots!
By learning how to code, you start seeing the world very differently (this is something that I have found since I started learning iOS app development!). It’s almost like seeing the wizard of Oz back there behind the curtain. You start conceiving of how things are really working behind the veil. It’s a bit mind-blowing, in a good way; the proverbial scales fall from your eyes.
And most importantly, it’s empowering. The latest news about Facebook or Google or something makes more sense to you, so you might feel more compelled to take action if needed (like calling your government representatives to enact some basic oversight or something). After all, knowledge is power. And coding knowledge in an increasingly tech-driven world is a particularly relevant type of power.
Meet New and Potentially Different People
Taking up anything new, like a new career or a new hobby, naturally comes with a community of folks. Learning to code is no different: There is a huge community of coders out there, no matter which type of coding you want to do. For example, there are many iOS app developers. Sometimes they meet up in person for nerdy conferences and talks, or to code together, or just to socialize with like-minded people.
You can also virtually meet people online, especially as a beginner with questions. It’s perfectly fine to reach out to someone on YouTube or Twitter who is actively wanting to help beginners (not everyone is into that, but you’ll know who they are because they are easy for newbies to find and they invite the interaction). So even if you live a rural area, as long as you have internet, you can find and engage with new and different people (which is also good for the brain, by the way).
If any of the above reasons sound compelling to you, I encourage you not to hesitate learning to code. If you do decide to start coding, figure out what you want to code/build (iPhone/iPad apps, for example). This will lead you to which language you need to focus on first (Swift, for example). (For balance, if you want to make apps for Android devices, for instance, you’d probably want to check out Kotlin.)
If you have any questions about getting started learning to code, post them below in the Reply section!
—You’re Never Too Anything to Learn Tech