Is 30 Too Old to Become a Software Engineer?

Is 30 Too Old to Become a Software Engineer

They say that you are never too old to do what you love. But some careers have a cap in terms of how old you can be to get started. 

This age limit is because as we grow older, we may lose some cognitive abilities that can hinder us from doing a certain job. We may lack the ability to think tactically and jump into new youth trends once we reach a certain age. 

Also, you should consider that if you start a career at an older age, you will be allocating a few more years to getting the education and experience you need to excel. 

But is there an age cap for a career in software engineering? Is 30 too old to become a software engineer? This is one of the most commonly asked questions in the field. 

But no, 30 is not too old to become a software engineer. This is one industry where the term “age is just a number” really finds its relevance. 

A lot of software engineers get their first job at the age of 30 to 40. This can either be because they went through a career change during young adulthood or they spent years building their experience and skillsets. 

The Ideal Age to Become a Software Engineer

Over recent years, there has been a lot of fuss about millennials taking over the working sector. More and more companies are beginning to employ younger age groups, specifically young adults. 

True enough, we see professionals in their 20s gaining high positions in their specific industries. But in software development, the stats would slightly differ. 

The average age of software developers is 32 years old. And these are professionals who have gained at least 2-5 years of experience in the field.

We don’t see a lot of software engineers in their 40s because the job opportunities are very favorable. 

Most senior software engineers get promoted to managerial and executive roles after a few years of experience as a software developer. 

So the age of 30 is not a bad start to pursue a software engineering career. In fact, it is well fitted to the average age that people usually gain experience and drive their software engineering professions forward. 

The typical retirement age of a software engineer is between ages 55 to 65. So if you begin your career at 30, you still have a long and exciting journey ahead of you. 

The Most Common Reason People Pursue Software Engineering at a Late Age 

There are different reasons for professionals beginning their software engineering careers at 30. But the most common is because of a career shift.

In earlier years, software engineering was not much of a viable job to pursue. This is because technology back then was not as rampant as it is now.

There was no exponential growth of job opportunities in software engineering, simply because the world did not need it. 

But because technology has increasingly developed over the years, more and more companies are beginning to see the importance of software engineers. 

Now, these professionals are highly in demand because companies are trying to keep up with the digital age. 

Those in their 30s now may have taken up different and unrelated degrees in university, depending on the career that had the most opportunities back then. 

But because of the shift to the digital era, software engineering is becoming a more attractive profession. Those who also belong to other industries become interested in it and make a drastic career change. 

There’s no shame in making a career shift in your 30s. Like in any profession, it’s important to follow your passion and pursue what you really want in life. 

How to Pursue a Software Engineering Career at the Age of 30 

It’s true that there is no limit when it comes to the age of pursuing a software engineering career. But of course, we cannot control how companies view professionals at this late age. 

There are still age-biased companies who are keen on employing only young professionals. But this doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities for software engineers in their 30s. 

In fact, the opportunities are abundant. It just means you have to make an extra effort to showcase what you can do. 

Here’s how you can become a software engineer at 30. 

Determine where your passions truly lie

Wanting to become a software engineer because you are truly interested in the field is one thing. But pursuing a software engineering career just because you think it will be cool is another. 

Remember that this is not a walk-in-the-park type of career. It’s a complicated and technical one with demands that can be overwhelming. 

So before jumping into it, you need to know if you really desire the profession. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your time. 

Test the waters with free basic courses

When starting out, it’s advisable that you don’t immediately invest in expensive courses or enroll yourself in a software engineering degree. 

You first have to test the waters and get a grasp of what you can expect in the profession. There are a lot of online courses and boot camps that you can participate in. 

These will also help you determine what you want to specialize in and the specific industries that you want to go to. 

Get your credentials

Most companies require the basic qualification of a 3-year engineering degree. So if you’re dead set on pursuing a software engineering career, you’ll have to get the educational attainment.

Aside from 3-year software engineering degrees, your area and preferred university may also offer 1-year programs. 

There are also certified online courses that you can take and may be enough to get an entry-level job in software engineering. Do your research to determine the options that are available to you. 

Get experience from an entry-level job

Because of your age, you might be hesitant about getting an entry-level job with fresh graduates who are significantly younger than you are. 

But it’s highly recommended that you start with an entry-level job to drive your career forward. This is where you will be able to mold your skills and talents, as well as gain further knowledge about the profession. 

Keep pushing through

In a fast-paced and demanding industry like software development, only those who can survive and meet the demands make it. 

No matter how hard it gets, keep powering on. This will help you reach greater heights in your new career and put you in a favorable position for promotions. 


As they say, it’s never too late for a career in the software engineering sector. 30 is the perfect age for the profession. There are still a lot of opportunities for you in the field, so don’t be afraid to pursue it. 

Being more senior than other software engineers starting out doesn’t mean you are less capable. You just have to show everyone that your age is not a hindrance to your talent and determination.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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