Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Feeling old

This topic is 4424 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone :) At 36 years of age and with no related qualifications, am I too old to get into programming as a new career? Brief background: taught myself basic on Commodore vic20 when I was about 12, loved it and spent 2 - 3 years writing games etc but couldn't afford to keep up with technology (how I wished for a Commodore 64 lol). I got back into computers about 8 years ago and taught myself Pascal as part of a correspondence course in C++. Sadly, I never completed the course due to my 'discovery' of the internet & online gaming! (pretty sure I have got over that addiction now...) I am just starting to teach myself C++ (currently working my way through "Beginning C++ Game Programming" by Michael Dawson. I then plan to start working through "Beginning Game Programming" by Michael Morrison. I would like to do a Computer Science degree (once I feel comfortable with C++ as a starting point at least) but I've got a family now plus I've already used up my higher education funding 12 years ago on an unrelated degree course so I will probably have to settle for some kind of correspondence course along the lines of The Open University etc. I realise I am probably way too old to join the games industry but I would love to get into any sort of coding as a profession. What are my chances at this stage of my life and what would any of you suggest? Could I expect to be earning a reasonable salary by the age of 45 if I get my ass in gear now? Would employers prefer some young whizzkid? Should I just stick to plan B and enjoy coding as a hobby instead? (Plan B is to become a plasterer or something lol) Any thoughts & views would be most welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
You have a fair amount of catching up to do, from the sounds of it, but I doubt that you're too old. First of all, it isn't hard making a good living as a programmer if you're at least half-way competent. I don't know how your age would affect your likelyhood of being hired (although, technically, its illegal to discriminate based on age in the US). However, if I were hiring a programmer, I would look for people who, among other things, taught themselves to program for the fun of it. That tells me that the person loves what they're doing, and aren't just in it for the money. Usually, those people will be more motivated and knowledgeable, although not all employers would necessarily see that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're never too old to change careers! So long as you're willing to learn and focus I see no reason why you couldn't do it.

It seems you have done a bit of work in programming before, which is good. Obvisouly changes have been made since the Commodore vic20, but you shouldn't have to worry too much I would think.

Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Some of the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the MOST interesting 40 year olds I know still don't"

-Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would actually say that your better off. If you were able to learn programming "back in the day" when resources were limited, then the information out here on the internet in todays world will overwhelm you with information.

No, your never too old. I mean _never_. Sure, there is a brief learning curve and it may take you just a LITTLE longer depending on your memory/learning style, but who doesn't experience that? ;)

It's all about motivation and the dedication to do the things that you really like doing. If you find it in your heart that programming is great and you end up really liking it, you should have no problems at all. When you really like something, you tend to put a lot more effort into what your doing.

Stay Motivated, you'll make it. Good Luck!

-Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great, thanks for the encouraging replies :D

I'm halfway through writing a text based mini dungeons & dragons game in C++ at the moment. It only began as a brief experiment to see if I could use a multidimensional array to represent a map (always wanted to do one of those games back in the old commodore days but simply didn't know how to). It's going surprisingly well too which is good. I can see I'm going to have to brush up on my maths though. It's already getting confusing enough and I'm only working with simple stuff like odds dependant on shields, weapons & monster strength etc.

Is there anyone out there who has had experience with Open University (or similar) computing courses? I feel I ought to try to do a part time degree at least if I'm going to make a serious go of this as a career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your original post reminds me of that part of Million Dollar Baby, where Maggie is losing a fight:

Maggie: She's tough, I can't go inside, I can't get close enough to hit her.
Frankie: You know why that is?
Maggie: Why?
Frankie: Cause she's a better fighter than you are, that's why. She's younger, she's stronger, and she's more experienced. Now, what are you gonna do about it?

Go for it, if it is what you really want.

Now, on the practical side, most business and game development firms require entry level people to put in extra time, sort of like an apprentice in the old days. That can be tough with a family. So, make sure that you're ready to make that tradeoff.

If you get stuck on technical problems, post 'em here! There are a lot of great people who seem more than willing to help out. And Good Luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Vod
Great, thanks for the encouraging replies :D

I'm halfway through writing a text based mini dungeons & dragons game in C++ at the moment. It only began as a brief experiment to see if I could use a multidimensional array to represent a map (always wanted to do one of those games back in the old commodore days but simply didn't know how to). It's going surprisingly well too which is good. I can see I'm going to have to brush up on my maths though. It's already getting confusing enough and I'm only working with simple stuff like odds dependant on shields, weapons & monster strength etc.

Is there anyone out there who has had experience with Open University (or similar) computing courses? I feel I ought to try to do a part time degree at least if I'm going to make a serious go of this as a career.


You're farther than 95% of the people who post in this forum if you have actual source code typed in that compiles along with an idea of where you're going. Seriously.

Maths: there are plenty of books available to help with the math. I ended at Algebra II in school due to medical problems; check out the Books section here at GameDev.

The only experience I have with online courses is that they were too expensive for me. I can't spare the time on a regular basis to attend classes, so I forego that particular dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you don't have any qualifications or programming experience you are going to have to come up with one hell of a portfolio to get employed. You'll be competing with graduates for fewer jobs then recent years because of the off-shoring trend for entry level jobs, and jobs in general. Several people with good level degrees from my class never got in to development despite trying. Some were forced to leave IT. I personally know 4 IT people whom were made redundant from their jobs. Heck my dental hygienist retrained at about 35 to become a dental hygienist because he couldn't find enough work to get by.

Saying that I'm a firm believer of anyone being able to learn almost anything given enough time and dedication. May be you can turn a hobby in to a career.

Something that you might be able to do though is teach it. Here in the UK there is a shortage of teachers in IT related courses, and under some circumstances they even pay you to get qualified.

I would be interested to know if anyone actually got anything out of those stupid computeach people I see advertised on TV. Those adverts really irritate me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Participate in the game development conversation and more when you create an account on GameDev.net!

Sign me up!