It was fishkeeping, of all things, that lured Ken Hart, then age 43, to the world of web design. After years of caring for aquatic life in his own home, Hart started a fishkeeping blog using free website builders like Wix. The blog struck a chord with other fishkeepers, and it soon began seeing steady traffic. The newfound popularity caused Hart to take a hard look at his website, and reevaluate his design choices.
“I almost felt embarrassed that I was still using a free website template rather than having a proper website,” Hart said. “So I took the plunge and decided to learn how to build one.”
Whether it’s fishkeeping, beekeeping, or some other type of animal-oriented hobby that ultimately tips the scales, plenty of people learn to code after they hit 40, an age when many begin to feel out of touch with new technology.
“For us older folks, the web can be a mysterious and often confusing place,” Hart said. “But rather than cowering behind my newspaper and angrily shaking my fist at the internet savvy kids, I decided to embrace the web and learn how to design websites.”
After considering paying for a tutor, Hart decided to teach himself, and dove down the YouTube rabbit hole. He eventually found a video series by Tyler Moore, which focused on building websites using WordPress. The videos were comprehensive and easy to follow, and to reinforce what he’d learned, Hart would watch each video a second time on the train to work. The series gave him the confidence to purchase a new domain, upload a free WordPress template, and start digging into the code. Soon he had something considerably more attractive than the free website he’d used before. And he was hooked.
“I started building websites for friends and family, even if they didn’t really need them!” Hart said. “I was just desperate to hone my skills.”
After building a website for a local dog walker, Hart caught the attention of the walker’s father, who was looking for a web design intern for his digital agency Aims Media Glasgow. Hart decided to give the internship a chance.
“I felt like my online reading had only taken me so far, and if I really wanted to improve my skills as a web designer, I knew that I’d be better off working in a team, even if it was only part time.”
Bill Barnett, another coder who took up the craft as a quadragenarian, also benefited from team collaboration.
After 17 years as an aircraft mechanic, Barnett injured himself and was put behind a desk. Bored and restless, he began using his IBM 386 to sort tools and figure out how to track and log them. From there, he started reading about relational databases, and began playing around with programming to generate inventory reports.
“I was fascinated by the ability to organize information in useful ways,” Barnett said, who was soon automating data in seconds and generating up-to-date calibration schedules for precision measuring equipment. He’d hoped his work would lead to a promotion, but while it caught the attention of management, nothing more came from it.
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via Reme Le Hane