What age did professional programmers start?


programmingComputer programming is a rapidly growing field.  With 274 million people with Internet access in the U.S. and nearly half of all adults in America have smartphones, the demand for applications and other programs is only increasing.  As the demand increases, more students are getting into computer programming.

Jobs in many areas are drying up with the decline in the economy, but the job field for computer programmers is still going strong.  According to the Princeton Review, Computer Science makes their top ten list of most popular college majors.  When people discuss their job fields or degrees, a question often asked is, “How did you get interested in that?”  A lot of times, people can trace their interest in a particular field all the way back to young adulthood and the same is true with computer programmers

Computer classes in middle or high school help some programmers get started.   For a long time, Computer Science classes were mostly geared towards teaching kids how to operate computers.  After all, just 15 years ago, only 36 percent of U.S. households had a computer.  Now, more than 80 percent of households have a personal computer.  Since most kids start using computers at much younger ages, Computer Science classes have evolved to teaching more complex subject matter, so students have the opportunity to learn programming.  A lot of kids don’t wait until they’re hired by a company to put those skills to use, either.  Some kids are developing iPhone apps and making money before they’re even hold enough to have a part-time job.  For example, 14-year-old Robert Nay developed the iPhone app Bubble Ball that had more than 2 million downloads—it certainly won’t be difficult for Nay to pinpoint where he got his start in a few years.

Many programmers get their start during college.  Even though Computer Science degrees are increasing in popularity, not all programmers make it out of college before they hit it big.  Nearly everyone knows of Mark Zuckerburg, the Facebook creator who launched his professional career from his dorm room before he started his junior year of college.  Even though Zuckerburg’s story is rare, many professional programmers got started just like he did—by developing programs in their dorm rooms.

Some people don’t get started in programming until they’re older.  While a lot of professional programmers got their start in their early teens, creating games or applications, this doesn’t mean that someone can’t learn later.  There are many websites available that people can go to if they want to learn programming.  Many tutorials are free or very cheap, so this is something people can learn in their downtime without breaking the bank.  What may start out as a hobby can be lucrative enough to eventually turn into a full-time job.  For example, Neil Clark Warren started the dating site eHarmony when he was 66 years old.  A former psychologist, Warren shows that being professional programming isn’t limited only to people who got an early start.

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