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In short my answer is NO.

First of all, being a good programmer is independent of programming languages. What I want to say is that, a person who knows only one programming language can be a better programmer than a person who knows many programming languages.

Now, back to the question.


Computer programming is an art.
- Donald Knuth (father of the analysis of algorithms)

If you want to be an artist, you need basic tools and basic understanding of draw mechanism (developed by practicing over time). After that you are on you own. Creativity is the limit.

Similarity, if you want to be a programmer. You need basic understanding of computer logic/mechanism i.e. algorithms and data structures. And, you need tools compiler/IDE etc. Again, creativity is the limit.

Computer programming is an art and also a science. But, since question states a programmer not a researcher so I'm not discussing science aspect of it. Although, it's not mandatory but if you're good in maths than it'll really boost your learning process (sometimes exponentially).

If you're good in other fields than you can make it an advantage, as it's relatively easy for you to do something new in your field (there are many fields which still don't have enough programmers that means many new things to do), which will increase your interest in programming.

Some people also states that programming is a skill. The more you code the faster and better you get. That's also true in case of an artist but as you know skill solely won't make great artists (that's why it's an art not sketching).

Believe me, if you are a technical person it'll only makes your life easier. And, future demands it. Play the GAME then decide it's good or not :)

I'll give you my own example. I started programming at the age of 12 (familiar with computer from the age of 5). One of my good friend hadn't worked on computer till the age of 17. We did a project together and there was a time when I gave-up but he found the solution.

Please ignore grammar or spelling :D

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No! I am 50, and although I got a grounding in coding on a Sinclair ZX-81 in Z80 assembler and Sinclair Basic in 1981, and did a bit of 6502 Assembler and BBC Basic on the Acorn BBC Micro, since about 1986 I have not done any more programming other than the odd HTML/CSS on the web, opting to be a designer instead because complex maths and algorithms messed with my brain. (It's a creative thinker thing!)

However, sensing that like a good wine my intellect had in fact improved with age, earlier this year (2014) I bought that well known O'Reilly book on PHP, MySQL, CSS, JavaScript, HTML5, etc., etc. on my Kindle, and read it. To my surprise, I understood it all, and if it wasn't for the fact I lack the time to re-start programming full time (I run a company), I would do so. I will however help organise and tidy up code developed by my engineers.

The point is, if you have the mental clarity, self control (to focus on learning rather than reading Quora - ha ha!), then like anything in life, educating yourself is probably the best thing you can do with your time. Most of the other things we do in life, (which remind me of the iPad's use VS a Galaxy Note), involve consumption and entertainment, NOT creation and productivity. (Think about that one!)

Yes, coding is as many of us creative visual thinkers say, a bit of a 'mind f*ck' due to the sometimes complex array structures, algorithms, formulae, etc., but if you get some help and really make an effort, and you do have the intellectual chops, it is worth a try. And don't forget, our brains, like muscles, do improve with use.

To make things easier: Get a good night's sleep, go for an early morning run, have ONE good ground coffee with your protein-rich breakfast, if you cannot get peace and quiet (kids, etc.), invest in a pair of Bose QC15s (awesome!) and try to get some quality time alone, such as in a library. You really do not want to be destracted, although you should take short breaks to delay fatigue and loss of focus. This comes highly recommended as a GTD method: The Pomodoro Technique®

Finally, my No.1 bit of advice is that before or after you have finished any books, look at well-written source code from other applications, sites, etc., and try developing your own project/application where you'll be forced to learn how to do things that may not have been covered in any educational materials. You have the benefit that we did not in the 1980s of vast sources of information online, not to mention Stack Overflow and when you join a team, GitHub.

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23...oh my God that is much too late. If you haven't started by 3 or 5 at the latest, you've already lost the race. Kidding of course. Hell no, 23 is awesome. I got my first programming job at 37, and I have been programming professionally ever since.

Some tips:
—Start simple... Learn new technologies from basic to simple. It sounds self-explanatory, but what I really mean is set your expectations realistically. Make something simple, next time make something more challenging, next time make something... you get the point.

—Decide what you want to program "on" - both the tools you want to use (.NET, Java, Open Source), and the domain (desktop applications, web development, database, data science).

—Learn to read Internet sources of information VERY efficiently. I have found that lots of forum "answers" are a waste of time. Learn to skip those as quickly as possible

—Join a local group of people that do what you want to do. Find people either locally or online that you can ask questions to (and do not be afraid of smart ass replies) and get concrete replies from.

There is so much free information and software available you are in the software land of milk and honey.

If you do decide to go the .NET way, look at this site: Free IDE and Developer Tools | Visual Studio Community, or Visual Studio Code is very popular these day. But really, there are many other options to choose from as well.


—you should extensively practice whiteboard coding. Be able to decompose a business problem into classes, subclasses, and interfaces. If you do not perform whiteboard coding confidently, the likelihood of your getting a job is vastly reduced.

—the “software interview” is an elusive beast, no two will ever be the same. You have to come to terms with the fact that the person/people on the other side of the table may ask you ANY programming question. It is impossible to thoroughly prepare for that. Read the job description and be conversant in the technologies mentioned. Prepare a list of questions about their current projects and how work is conducted on their team. Be able to talk in technical detail about projects you are working on and have worked on.

Even if you are a great software developer, if you are unable to sell the interviewer(s) on you, you will not get the job. An interview is a sales meeting. The product is you.

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When I graduated from college, I was 22 years old.

I couldn’t get placed and was envying those who got placed even though the companies in which they were recruited were software companies.

Almost a decade ago, electronics placement was not so common (not so heard of at least in my college), and therefore I could only think of working in a software world.

Once out of college, I worked for a BPO and took a software testing course, but didn’t like it much and therefore started learning dot net.

Somehow I got a job in a start-up and started learning to code on the job. It looked scary initially with lots of errors but slowly things started making sense.

In a couple of years, I got hired to work for Maruti Suzuki as a dot net developer but their work was mainly into the database.

Therefore, due to the fear of getting fired, I started learning to code in Oracle forms and reports.

In time, I was proficient in writing complex queries, procedures, jobs in Databases too.

Now, if you ask me I can code in front-end, back-end, including being equally proficient with excel formulas and designs.

When I look back at my career, there was always a feeling of being ‘less’ than others mainly because I was from the electronics department.

And this was the reason I was always underconfident, always afraid of getting fired, and therefore working more BUT appreciated less!

But the fact was everyone including computer engineers were learning on the job like me. They didn't learn something ‘special’ in college which I had missed.

The only difference between their learning and my learning was that my learning was inspired by the ‘fear’, while their learning was inspired by the ‘desire to learn’.

And that created a huge difference!

My suggestion: You are never too late to learn anything.

Dive into the world of programming. It’s exciting. And don’t feel ‘less’ because you started less. We all are a little scared inside. Some show it while some hide it with a not-so-real smile.