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I am about to finish my associates degree in programming and want to know if it its a good idea to go for bachelors program for someone of my age (45)?

If your answer is yes which language or skills do you think I should acquire to get a job after I am out of college?

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closed as off topic by gnat, maple_shaft, JeffO, Walter, Caleb Mar 2 '12 at 15:28

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Why not try to look for a job for a while and then go back if the prospects are not good? –  Garrett Hall Mar 2 '12 at 14:04
Ask this guy: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/137896/… –  jmo21 Mar 2 '12 at 14:05
+1ed it, what it is bad question? –  Noname Mar 2 '12 at 14:21
Hi Jay, Career related questions and "What skills are best" type questions are offtopic on Programmers. Check out the Area51 SE site for areas more appropriate for this question. –  maple_shaft Mar 2 '12 at 14:28
Also another question on ageism –  Karthik Sreenivasan Mar 2 '12 at 14:29

4 Answers 4

Are you going to commit, be the best of the best (with honours, sir) and generally try to show those young whippersnappers that being 45 is a blessing not a curse?

Then sure, go for it, being smarter and more dedicated than the next guy is more important than anything else in development.

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+1 for the Men in Black reference –  Matthew Flynn Mar 2 '12 at 15:25

I went back to school in my mid 30's to become a programmer, so I don't think age really is a factor. I would, however, recommend to anyone to pursue a bachelor's degree regardless of your age. While some companies aren't as picky about degrees, most of the companies I have worked for and the recruiters I have talked to all have said that a resume that doesn't have at least a bachelor's degree is more likely to be passed over. Or, at the very least, it will be a low priority and will be weighted as less than those that have the higher degree. Can you make it without the bachelor's degree? Sure, but if you get one you are giving yourself better chances.

And you should certainly be looking for jobs anyway. If you can add a year or two of work in the field, even part-time or internship level work, you will be light years ahead of all the snot nose punks who graduate with you but have no work experience. I was able to find a level I programming position during my senior year. As a result of having nearly a year of experience plus good grades with my bachelor's degree, I had already gotten a post-graduation job nearly two months before I graduated.

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It depends on what you want to do. If you want to do web apps, then I'd recommend JavaScript (esp. jQuery & node.js) and possibly some PHP. If you want to take a more general approach, then C++, C# or Java will make you pretty employable. Python and Ruby seem to be popular with some of the startups in my area, but they're not a big part of the market. If you want to write iOS apps, then Objective-C is what you want. If you'd rather focus on Android, then Java is the way to go.

Bottom line: C#, Java and C++ will give you the most opportunities, supplement one of those with some JS and RDBMS knowledge and you should be set.

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Having a 4 year college degree, in anything, helps your job prospects. This is especially true in the US where a degree is about the only legal way a prospective employer can gauge general intelligence. That's also why colleges have become overpriced and slack in the quality of education they offer but that's a different topic.

As for job prospects, it depends on the company. Some, especially those in 'hotter' niches like social media, online games or mobile apps, only want developers who're young and/or fit certain cultural profiles. They find ways to do this legally. Other's don't care and will hire based on skills/education. Of course, your salary expectations will need to be in line with your experience or lack thereof.

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