The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Programming in Your 50s

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Next year will mark my 30th year as a professional developer. Thats nearly three decades in the software industry. When I took my first programming job - cell phones were not common, Apple was about to go bankrupt, the Web wasn’t a thing yet, IBM was the largest computer company, Windows 95 was just about to be released, we watched movies and consumed music on physical media, Google/Facebook/Netflix didn’t exist.

Yea. I am freaking old.

The development industry is more fickle than the fashion industry. I have worked on every shift from desktop command line software to modern SAAS serverless environments. Assembler, C/C++, Java, Delphi, Ruby, NodeJS to Rust. From procedural to object oriented and back to functional. From microcontrollers with 4k firmware to multi gigahertz workstation software to cloud software (I really hate that term.) Been there, done that.

We still deal with the exact same problems I dealt with in the industry from the business and management as I did when I was in my 20s.

I am tired. I need a break. Been thinking about a career change. Just to get the creative juices flowing again.

Then I came across Yossi Kreinin’s excellent article - Do you really want to be making this much money when you’re 50?. And this excerpt really spoke to me:

What else do you want to be doing when you're 50? Give me a profession remotely close to programming in the following ways:

- Little or no required education
- Good compensation, even for mediocre performers
- Millions of jobs
- No physical effort
- No health or legal risks

Programming is money for nothing. Programming is very easy to enter and extremely hard to quit. What would you do instead?

It gave me pause. We, the development community, really do have it good. And the more I think about it the more I realize - I just need to adjust my outlook. Or maybe just develop/concentrate on other hobbies away from coding.

Looking at the alternatives - I truly don’t want to do anything else.