How to start a career in IT if you are over thirty?

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Numerous changes in our daily lives – the prolonged COVID-19 quarantine, the transition of entire industries to remote work, and the general transformation of the labor market – made many people think about changing their profession. Where to start a career in IT if you are already over thirty? Is it too late to change life so radically?

Why IT?

Of course, if you, for example, loved to cook since childhood, but when it came time to choose a path in life, you went to study political science, it is quite possible that you may recall what gave you pleasure a long time ago, and turn your hobby into a profession. But what to do if you have no such preferences but wonder what job will provide you with freedom, stable earnings, and the ability to work from anywhere in the world? In that case, a career in IT is an option that is definitely worth considering carefully. After all, this industry has been one of the most attractive among applicants and university graduates for many years in a row. At the same time, it constantly needs more new personnel. In 2021 alone, DOU, one of the largest recruitment sites, posted more than one hundred thousand vacancies for programmers. And the need for 50-100 thousand employees of different skill levels, starting from junior, remains an unchanging reality of this industry.

Many experts advise starting your journey into the IT profession by learning Python. Next, we will consider these recommendations in more detail. Still, first, we note that this programming language and its frameworks are in demand literally in all areas of high technology in general and the Internet in particular. So, more than one million web resources are written in Python. Moreover, websites built with Django – one of the most popular frameworks – make up a significant share of this segment.

So, where do you start?

Thinking about which language to learn first, you can choose one of two extremes or stop at some intermediate option, remembering the well-known saying that the truth usually lies somewhere in between.

If you focus on the most popular languages, then Python, which since 2001 has been confidently taking first place in the world rankings, will be your unconditional choice. If, on the contrary, you study the rarest and highest-paid specialities, then your choice will fall on Rust or something like that. If you are an adherent of the happy medium, you should look closely at Java or C++, which consistently hold second and third places right behind Python.

Having studied various opinions on the Internet, you will no doubt find diverse, sometimes diametrically opposed, ideas. Most often, the preferences of certain authors depend on the area in which they specialize. However, if you listen to people with teaching experience, you can’t help but notice that most of them, other things being equal, still prefer Python. 

The fact is that mechanically learning any new language (and this applies not only to programming ones) will not bring you any benefit. It is essential to understand its logic and internal structure and learn how to put it into practice. All these possibilities will open before you during the process of mastering Python. Unlike the already mentioned Rust and other exotic languages, Python has such a low entry threshold that in many countries, it is taught to children starting in the fifth grade.

And after six months or a year, these kids write their first, albeit elementary, programs. However, it is evident that the programs are by no means an end in themselves. It is much more important that in such training, students begin to understand what algorithms are, how to compose, apply them, and with their help, achieve the desired result. In addition, learning Python and any other language opens up opportunities for parallel learning of numerous frameworks, libraries, and development environments, such as already mentioned Django, the favourite tool of about fifteen percent of programmers worldwide.

So, let’s list the most apparent advantages of Python as a first language for beginners in the IT field:

  • The scope of Python is not just broad – it is truly limitless: from websites built with Django or no less popular Flask to neural networks, artificial intelligence, and NASA computing programs;
  • Python is a cross-platform language. This means that programs written on it will work anywhere – on the Internet, on Windows, macOS, Android, the Internet of Things, and even, almost certainly, in those operating systems that have not yet been written;
  • Due to its straightforward syntax, Python has a shallow entry threshold and can be relatively easily mastered even by people with no prior experience in programming or building algorithms;
  • Since Python is the most popular programming language in the world, it has a substantial professional community, so you can always get advice in any language on any issue that interests you;
  • The library of forks, frameworks, and Python-based development environments is comparable in its immensity only to the size of the professional community. This means that the world has already created an incredible number of ready-made solutions that you can merely integrate into your projects. Fortunately, the Python architecture easily allows work on such a block principle;
  • Python is equally suitable for front-end and back-end development. That is, it allows you to create both the server side of projects and the interface of any complexity.

Are there alternatives?

Of course, there is! This is Rust, which we briefly mentioned in this article, and Go, and Julia. This is if you want something special. And it goes without saying, no one will discount Java and C++ for a long time. By listing the advantages of Python, we do not want to diminish the attractiveness of other languages.

Summing up

According to Glassdoor.com, Python developers can expect to earn an average of $92,000 per year, which is roughly $7,670 per month. Of course, we are talking about highly qualified specialists in this case. But after all, all those who now occupy the highest positions in professional ratings have begun as juniors. Therefore, it is never too late to start. The main thing is to decide that you really need it.

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