It's not too late to start

By Marc Littlemore
2 min read

I once found a wonderful comic by Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). I've told a lot of people about it so please go and read it now.

It states that most people think that they only live once and spend their life thinking they can only have one career. But if it takes around 7 years to master a skill, you've actually got 11 opportunities to do something from age 11 to 88.

It's not too late to start.

I spent my early career as a programmer writing video games. That's the part of the technology industry I knew best for nearly 20 years. I never thought I'd need to think about any other technology. And then I got made redundant in 2010.

After a couple of years of contracting in the games industry, I started developing web-based technologies like API services. It was something I knew very little about, but I kept learning. I showed up every day and learnt a little bit more than I had the day before. This new knowledge helped me to get a job at the BBC.

I was using programming languages I'd never touched before, on platforms I knew nothing about. I watched graduate programmers talk about things I knew nothing about and had never previously needed to. But I carried on learning and while my job was still in technology, I started a new career in web services and cloud technologies.

I had reinvented myself. I'd started again.

I see a lot of people online asking if it's too late to become a software developer. They're often in another career, or think they're too old. Just remember:

It's not too late to start.

The BBC ran a fantastic programme of work called Step Into Tech in 2018 and 2019. It encouraged women to sign up for a 12-week training course to have the opportunity to learn some fundamental skills to kick-start their career in the technology sector. All of the women were of differing ages and most had no background in software engineering. It was great to see them move from their varied careers such as working for the NHS, working in music production, and teaching, to reinvent themselves as software developers. They're all doing wonderfully well now and have yet again proved that:

It's not too late to start.

So what do you need to do to start?

Turn up. Start doing. And be consistent.

Am I a good writer? Probably not yet. But 12 days ago I decided to turn up and start writing every day. By showing up every day, I've written about 14,000 words. Not all of them are great I'm sure. But I started.

I appreciate that this advice is easy to give but hard to follow. Consistency is hard inbetween your work and family life. If you can set some time aside to work on your goals, then:

It's not too late to start.

And finally, I love this video from Sean Wes. It's called "Show up every day for 2 years". Follow his advice and you can't lose.

Marc Littlemore avatar

I'm Marc Littlemore.

I’m a Senior Software Engineering Manager who works with high performing development teams and loves to help to grow other software leaders and engineers.


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