Aging In Place

10/2/2017 | By Terri L. Jones

Our kids and grandkids practically came out of the womb surfing the Internet and posting things on social media. However, for those of us over the age of 55, technology was thrust upon us, and we’ve had to scramble to adapt.

While many of us have had a hard time adjusting, others have learned and kept up with technology’s ever-changing bells and whistles without much, if any, trepidation. In fact, a surprising number of people over the age of 55 are even deciding that they want to do more than just send email and download a bunch of apps. These inquiring minds want to lift the veil and actually figure out how all the magic works.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, people age 55 and older represent a little over 2 percent of the users of Codecademy, a free interactive platform that teaches programming languages. Other seniors captivated by coding are enrolling in college or university classes or joining boot camps to have a completely immersive coding experience.

What’s the motivation beyond simple curiosity for these older tech junkies? For some, it’s about second careers or volunteer opportunities, while others are doing it for the sheer fun of it. One over-55 coder told The Daily Dot: “I’ll code as long as they let me … I used to sit at home and play Sudoku, but this is so much more fun.”

But career development and fun are hardly the only benefits for seniors. The challenge of learning something new also helps build confidence. I, for one, learned a little HTML a few years back in my role as a web editor. It was amazing and extremely empowering to see what a few properly placed brackets and backslashes could do. And because coding is all about solving problems, pushing your brain to come up with logical ways to get a specific result is also a great way to keep those neurons firing.

Intrigued but not sure you want to commit to a class or a boot camp yet? Join a coding Meetup in your city to determine if coding—whether as a hobby or a source of income—might be a good fit for you.

Share your thoughts about coding.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones