Am I too old to start a career in web development?

Posted by That inner voice in all of us on Jun 3, 2015
In Work, Career

In a single word, never.

That was my answer. It’s going to be different for everyone. For me, it was a journey on a personal level as well as professional one.

Do you want to be a web developer?


Seems like a no brainer, right? Why would someone want to be a web developer if it’s not what they wanted to do? Maybe their skill-set lead them that direction but what they really want to do was something else, like a part time Santa at the mall during the holidays. My point is, people may be unhappy web develpers because it’s the default career based on their experience or education. I have passion around web development. I like making things on screens look better. I like doing that through writing beautiful code.

I also have a passion for designing. Working in Photoshop and Illustrator are second-hand to me. I’ve been using these tools for years and are a part of my daily digital workflow. Finding ways to increase efficient connections between imagery created in design programs and a the programming environment are inspirational to me.

Do you have the time to invest in learning?


I’m a father of 2 amazing children, married to a wonderful woman and have several dogs that are are mostly awesome. I also have a day job that is easily 40 hours a week and responsibilities that eat into my “me time” So, I’m fully aware of having limited time to pursue something new. But just like Santa, one must believe. Believe that you can do something. Believe you are capable of doing things that might seem unrealistic or even incapable. Because even if it doesn’t work out it’s a chance to learn something. Always give yourself the chance to try something new. You’ll never know if you can until you try (God, I sound like my parents).

Here’s the list of things I needed to learn or learn more about;

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • DNS
  • Pre-Processing with LESS, SASS and HAML
  • Ruby
  • Frameworks
  • OS X Terminal

I know there are lots of things I’m leaving off here. Finding a workflow that fits you is about as easy as painting from a blank canvas (it’s far easier to color-by-numbers). On the plus side, there are so many resources available on the net that you can learn anything about this. The ugly side is that there are also poor representations of technology that can steer you down the wrong path. If you’re unsure, try talking to someone who’s already successful with web development. Take the good and apply it to a way that works for you.

Do want to be paid for your work?

well, sure!

You’ll need to be prepared to put on your business hat. For many, switching hats to be a business person is not always a natural transition. You’ll need to honestly evaluate what your time is worth. When I’m approached to a logo (or another major design element for business identity), people are often turned off about the price. Even just looking at the the time it takes to make a logo in a process that I’m comfortable with can easily turn into dozen hours or more. For example, if you’re time is worth $50/hr (which would be cheap for design), a dozen hours has already added up to $600. And that’s just your time. What I’m driving at is that your time and services do have a value. And that value is likely more than what you think it is. And it can be tough to assign a value to your work when the work you’re doing is something that you’re still learning.

How do you define career?

I’m going to be paid for jobs on a regular basis?

This was my back-way into coming about this post topic to begin with. The move to web development as part-time came about as desire to answer those opportunities that were continuing to knock as well as giving me something new to learn with every project that I would and could take on. The money, as always, is a plus. My ethic for web development will be primarily to stay focused on always learning something new and finding inspiration. This will keep the magic alive.