August 18th, 2013, 06:18 PM
Starting 40 years old too late to be successful in programming industry as a foreign?
Im 33, I live in Mexico and I want to switch careers as I just realized that programming is really what I love.
This is my plan:
-Study a 4 year bachelor's degree in computer science.
-Help/contribute for free with projects for local software companies.
-Learn/write code at least 15-20 hours every week while I get my degree.
-Perfect my english along the way.
-Do some personal software projects.
-Once I get my degree and have some money saved, apply to Harvard Extension School and get a MLA in Information Technology with concentration in software development (online mostly, 2 summers in boston are mandatory though).
-Study really really hard to get good/better than average notes along the journey.
-Once I get my MLA, look for those US companies which hire software developers from Mexico
(staying here would mean getting paid like US$1500 a month for the rest of my life no matter how good I am compared to the US$6000 they usually offer in the US to good Mexican developers ).
-Get hired and move with my wife and little girl.
-Work really hard, be a good teammate, be responsible and get the job nicely done for my employer, and be loyal in order to be successful.
-Be a good citizen, be an asset to the country and not a liability.
Expected result: Offer a better future to my wife and daughter, while i'm doing what I love to do.
By the time Im really good and start searching for real paid work in the US as an experienced programmer (im mexican and I live in Mexico) I'll be 40... Is it difficult to be hired as a good programmer at that age?
Thanks a lot!
August 18th, 2013, 08:08 PM
There is an issue of ageism in the market for developers. It is primarily a problem in the stereotypical "corporate setting" where armies of Java, C++ or PHP drones are hired to churn out products on a sharp timeline. In this environment age, family, children, an aversion to long overtime (paid or unpaid, ~80-hour weeks), or having a life outside of clanking out CommodityLanguageX are considered liabilities (by hiring managers who do not understand that development is a creative process).
This becomes far less true in two areas: companies that hire people to directly support open source projects, and positions that require expertise in high demand languages that are not as commonly known.
Examples of open source positions supported by companies are full-time Postgres developers, full-time LibreOffice developers, full-time Django developers, primary toolchain development, kernel and realtime systems developers, and a wide variety of language runtime development/maintenance that is critical for the sustainment of internal projects.
Examples of languages that are important but not very easy to find developers for are Scala, Erlang, Clojure, Haskell, Common Lisp and a variety of other (usually functional programming) languages. The list isn't really long, but the five listed above see a fair amount more commercial use than is commonly known and knowing one well is usually a good door-opener -- even when the job is in another language.
I personally prefer to hire slightly older because older developers tend to have a much lower threshold for the project deathmarch syndrome -- which is really important feedback to me, indicating what projects are lost causes and which are winners very early on. But this preference isn't universal.
My advice is to contribute as much of your time as possible over the next years learning to an open source project of your own that solves a common annoying problems people have. There are a million irritating things in life that could be handled better by a computer than a person. Pick one and do very well at it, and you will either wind up getting hired by a company that uses your solution and wants to guarantee that it never dies, becoming well known within the development community and pulled into a job where you can do similar work, start your own company centered around your work, or at the very worst have an excellent project on your resume that nobody can ignore at interview time.
September 20th, 2013, 07:22 PM
Yes But you see it is never too late for anything. Everything is hard in the beggining. Google all the good tutorials for the beggining