Am I too late to learn programming?

This is a discussion on Am I too late to learn programming? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hi, I'm a finance grad student and I'm not young (>30 yrs old). I've never learnt any programming before, but ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    17

    Am I too late to learn programming?

    Hi, I'm a finance grad student and I'm not young (>30 yrs old). I've never learnt any programming before, but during the coursework I did I had to use some statistical software. I then found out that I was attracted so much to programming and so I bought a couple of C books to learn from them (K&R2, Beginning C, etc.). I visited quite many forums including this and I've read threads about programming and programmers. One thing I notice is that so many programmers who are helping newbies and intermediate-level programmers and others are very young and have learnt programming since they were like 12 years old or so.

    So my question is, am I too late to learn programming so that I can in fact use programming skills effectively in my future jobs? I'd like to learn C++ as it's applied extensively to finance/business. I like programming a lot the instant I read an extremely simple code from a statistical software I used. I spent time everyday reading books and typing in examples and doing exercises. I just would like to become not a programmer (b/c it's too unrealistic for a person at this age like me), but a person who has a basic knowledge/working knowledge of C and C++.

    Is that too late? Are there people with similar experience who can later on become a true programmer?

    Thanks a lot for your time and patience.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    7,328
    It is definitely not too late.

    It is not too late to be a person who has a working knowledge of the two languages, and it is also not too late to learn to be a professional programmer. I'm not even sure why you'd think that.

    You don't need a long history of programming in order to get it. Just start. If you're having trouble, that's normal, it's not because of your age.

    I started programming in college and a couple years later was doing it as a career. Not everybody starts off in front of a computer at a young age. I don't think that experience matters much in the long run.

  3. #3
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,636
    I guess I truly couldn't say as I started at 13. But the only hard part of learning to program is the inital comprehension, so one could look at it this way, if a 12-21 year old can figure it out, why not a 30+ year old? I really do think that so long as you don't have the mindset of "this is too overwhelming for me", age is very irrelevant.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

  4. #4
    In my head happyclown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    In my head
    Posts
    391
    I started learning C about 2.5 months ago, and I am > 30.
    OS: Linux Mint 13(Maya) LTS 64 bit.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    17
    Thank you all. I feel much more encouraged and gain more confidence...

  6. #6
    CSharpener vart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rishon LeZion, Israel
    Posts
    6,484
    I have a freind who has taaken a one year programming course when he was 28
    Now he is already 8 years working in the same firm, programming in C and is advanced to the system architect of the project

    Before it he was construction worker, so I doubt he had too much expirience with computers

    (Of course I know samples that apply to other areas as well, when person leaves programming to start working as a nurse for example because this area has more appeal... but it is unrelevant for the question )
    The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time,
    the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.

  7. #7
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    3,189
    Your age shouldn't be much of an issue. Just like athletics, its never too late to start. You probably won't be competing at the olympic level, but not many people do anyway. Not learning to program for that reason would be like not running for mayor because you could never be president.

    That said, there are some things that your age will be an issue with. It's true that the best programmers tend to be people that learned to program before they were 12. Specifically before they entered puberty. The mind is much more pliable at that age so the highly abstract thought processes involved in programming are more easily learned. Not learning it at that age isn't really a disadvantage, more like a lack of an advantage that other people have. Just because the top programmers tend to have started at an early age doesn't necessarily mean its a requirement. It's mostly about experience. Programmers that are in their 30's that started when they were 12 have a couple decades of experience, that a full career before they are even 35. By time they retire they will have nearly 60 years of experience. Another factor is that programming, unlike other professions can be done just abotu anywhere. People that start when they are young generalyl tend to do it because its fun, so they program in their non-work time too, which just builds even more experience. Also unlike other jobs, programming is an entirely intellectual persuit. It doesn't require good looks, or a personality, or much in the way of physical abilities, other than being able to write code. Those can be assetts in acquiring a job, as always, but strictly speaking they arent necessary for the actual programming.

    It's also one of the few professions that a 12 year old can start practicing and where beign self taught is considered an asset, rather than a liability. Just try to get a job as an MD being self taught, even if you can pass the medical board.
    Last edited by abachler; 02-08-2009 at 11:30 AM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    36
    No it's not to late.
    Pepole attend collages in theirs 40s and 50s....so...it's important how you approach the programming.
    "I wanna learn programming so I can get a job and make a loads of money"
    -OR-
    "I wanna learn programming because I want to know how things really work and I want to improve software if possible"....so more scientific approach.

    You can learn any language syntax very fast. It takes some times to figure how different languages relate to each other(pros&cons, differences...), same thing for the tools....APIs are always the things which you learn on the way from some book or documentation.

    Good luck mate!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,041
    I personally tire of the people that claim how they learned how to program before they hit puberty. We get it.

    Realistically if you throw yourself into it, with a disciplined spirit, you'll learn faster than any other intimidating 12 year old (even if they are Japanese).
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

  10. #10
    Ugly C Lover audinue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Indonesia
    Posts
    489
    I hope you have a lot of motivation here, since old people (that I know) has something called "safe-zone" or "safety" that slow down or prohibit yourself to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by maccat
    I just would like to become not a programmer (b/c it's too unrealistic for a person at this age like me), but a person who has a basic knowledge/working knowledge of C and C++.
    That's impossible, once you swim into the sea, then you'll dive into the deep. Programming is addicting and complex, when you learn something new, even a small part of it, you'll need (or to be forced) to learn yet another things related to your current knowledge. As a matter of time and your learning speed, you'll be an expert just in time.
    Last edited by audinue; 02-10-2009 at 10:20 AM.
    Just GET it OFF out my mind!!

  11. #11
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    22,667
    An export just in time? I doubt it.
    Programming languages can take years to get familiar with.
    Even more to become a professional.
    And even more years if you want to become an expert, if ever. For complex languages such as C/C++, becoming an expert is very tough.

    But as they say...
    So my question is, am I too late to learn programming so that I can in fact use programming skills effectively in my future jobs?
    Never!
    Last edited by Elysia; 02-10-2009 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Damn typos!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  12. #12
    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    2,318
    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    An export just in time? I doubt it.
    Programming languages can take years to get familiar with.
    Even more to become a professional.
    And even more years if you want to become an expert, if ever. For complex languages such as C/C++, becoming an expert is very though.

    But as they say...

    Never!
    You cannot become an expert in a programming language. You can only become an expert at general programming logic.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

  13. #13
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    4,913
    You cannot become an expert in a programming language
    There's this guy at work that I swear has the API memorized. He knows these tiny details of the syntax that no one takes advantage of or even cares about. He's an expert at the language, regardless of his logical abilities.

  14. #14
    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    2,318
    Well, let's correct it - it's more important to be an expert at programming logic than at a programming language.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

  15. #15
    ... kermit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    1,528
    Quote Originally Posted by maxorator View Post
    Well, let's correct it - it's more important to be an expert at programming logic than at a programming language.
    It seems to me that good programming practice is helpful too - perhaps of equal importance? From my own experience in the industry I work in, there is a large gap between experienced workers, and trainees. It takes a long time to learn 'best practices' - these often come by learning from mistakes - 'I won't do that again!' But much help is to be found in watching and learning from fully experienced workers.

    Now being a relatively inexperienced programmer, and drawing from what I know in my profession about neophytes to the trade, when I am coding, I often wish that I could have an experienced coder to draw from, regarding best practices. What sorts of things are bound to lead to trouble? What sorts of things are most helpful? What helps make code easier to understand? Sure, we have probably all read the 'Traps and pitfalls' kind of stuff, and we know the elementary stuff, like, 'If you are writing it more than once, turn it into a function.' But what happens when you get conflicting ideas, or maybe not conflicting, but ones that clash? For example, consider the axiom, 'A function (ideally) should do one thing, and do it well.' This fits with the notion of letting the caller deal with errors, and not the called function. But what if the 'dealing with errors' gets really sticky? What then? I am not saying it is impossible, but I do think that being able to see what professionals do, and how they do it, and why, is extremely useful. Long story short, to me, good programming practice, as the professionals do it in their work seems to be invaluable; I can see from my own limited experience of 'making mistakes' that knowing best practice undoubtedly saves a lot of time and effort.
    Last edited by kermit; 02-10-2009 at 02:26 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. Quickly learn C# for a C++ expert
    By BigDaddyDrew in forum C# Programming
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-06-2004, 04:38 PM
  2. The best place to learn
    By CougarElite in forum C Programming
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 04-25-2004, 04:07 PM
  3. Novice trying to learn C++
    By dead in forum C++ Programming
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-01-2003, 08:25 PM
  4. Witch to learn first?
    By Unregistered in forum Windows Programming
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-17-2002, 12:06 AM
  5. Learn Win32 API or C++Builder?
    By Flucas in forum Windows Programming
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-18-2001, 01:49 AM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21