I turn 40 in a few months. I’m not happy about it if truth be told. I still see myself as a 20’ish lad just finding his feet in life yet here I am, mid life crisis well in motion and more wrinkles than copies of .Net magazine.
I work in an industry that I would say is seen as a young person’s game. I know that is not true as I look at my Twitter follower list but it is portrayed as such and it’s easy to feel a bit old for it all. I expect many others feel the same. But what does turning 40 actually mean in the web?
I see turning 40 as a new challenge. I’m still the same developer. I still love to learn and still feel I have a shit load to offer.
Yes, I might not be on trend as some but I’d argue that I have one thing that so many youngsters don’t have. Experience.
I think it’s important to have someone with experience. A good team should be made up of all sorts and having someone with that know how, someone who can think about things differently and call upon past history to get a job done.
Turning 40 has also made me realise that a lot of what goes on and gets said is bollocks. I think many forget why they do what they do. For many it started out as a hobby, something they enjoyed but I wonder do many still enjoy it. I have to admit, I went through a phase of hating what I did. But I think it was the pressure I put on myself to keep up and fit in. I’ve decided I do fit in regardless. I’m not as skilled as many but the stuff I am good at is still a great asset for any developer or in some cases an employee. I’ve also come to realise I need to enjoy what I do more. Focus on the why we are doing it instead of the how. I’m at the point where I just want to make stuff that is useful and people enjoy using. I had some great feedback from a member of the public about something I had worked heavily on. Hearing it gave me encouragement and a desire to do more stuff like that. How it’s built became less important. The user doesn’t give two shites if it’s built using React or Vue or if they used Sass or Less. They care about the fact it’s easy to use and they got what they wanted out of it. Surely that trumps everything at the end of the day.
Now I’m not saying build it any old way. That would be daft. It’s just that I find the user / client being happier more important than the dev being happier for using some clever new framework or tool.
So being 40 or nearly 40 has given me a new outlook on what I do. Where I want to go and what I see as important. I have a lot to offer still regardless of what people might think. Working in a team environment has become fun again as I feel like I’m no longer competing. We complement each other. And that should be the thing we take away from this. Being 40 or older, we can be a key player in getting the job done and right rather than hold it up. To cut a long story short, a team needs many boxes ticked. I now realise I tick more than I thought.
I’m sure many will think I’m talking nonsense or that I don’t have a clue. I’m fine with that. We all choose our own path. But I’m not going to fear being an older dev anymore. There is no need. My desire to succeed is still there if not more and I crave to do something good and hope share my knowledge and experiences with others. Maybe I’ll inspire some of the youth of today. Here’s to trying!