I am 19 years old and I'm working as a software engineer since september. I'm trying to level up myself but I get stuck sometimes because of people thinking that I don't have enough skills and experience because of my age.

I don't like what I'm doing right now as the programming language that I'm using is very old, I want to break into other fields where I'm interested and where I spend most of my free time studying it.

How do you break into the world regardless of your age ?

Does age matter in this situation?

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    Not sure why the age of the language matters - as long as it's still in active and widespread use, it's a viable career option. Of course, you need to enjoy what you do, but be aware that many employers don't want their developers chasing the next new shiny language - they want proven and mature solutions – HorusKol Jul 22 '19 at 11:18
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    Your title doesn't seem to match your question; "stay on top" implies you're experienced in your field and keeping up-to-date, whereas your question is talking about how to be taken seriously given low-experience. – RJFalconer Jul 22 '19 at 11:48
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    What makes you feel you're not under the guise of the Dunning Kruger effect when you voice your aptitude? It's what most immediately assume when a 19 year old calls themselves a software engineer. – lucasgcb Jul 22 '19 at 12:09
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    I'm curious what language you're using that is "very old", Also at 19 with less than a year of professional development experience, you're really going to need to be able to justify why people should listen on the job. Like an engineer with a decade of experience, you'd have to convince him that your approach is better.. and that's going to take some evidence usually (speaking from experience) – Gibbon Jul 22 '19 at 12:14
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    I started working on a bank as a software developer at the age of 20. How? I had relevant skills and pet projects/real life websites that showed that I was capable of producing an asset. My age did not matter. Neither does yours. Study the skills you want to be good at in your spare time and set up pet projects that you can use to prove your worth. – Jonast92 Jul 22 '19 at 13:22

Age doesn't matter. Experience does however, and a young age implies inexperience.

You've been working, total, for less than a year. That's nothing in the grand scheme of things, and, without wishing to be too blunt, they're correct when they say you likely don't have enough experience. Chances are you'll look back in, say, 5 or 10 years time, and realise just how much you didn't know that you didn't know.

My advice would be to stick it out until you've worked there at least a year - perhaps give it until after Christmas so you've got a "2018-2020" date range on your CV - and then if you're still not happy, look for other work in an area that you're interested in.

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    This isn't quite different enough to be an additional answer, but a related point is that even though the first year of a career "misspent" feels like it will never be recoverable, it won't matter at all in five years time. In ten years it will be a good anecdote and surprisingly valuable experience, just not in the way that you wanted at the time. – Player One Jul 22 '19 at 9:22
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    @PlayerOne - I wrote business applications for a number of years. I will =never= get those years back. EVER. – Julie in Austin Jul 23 '19 at 23:14
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    @JulieinAustin And you learned nothing during those years that you now consider important? The intensity of your "=never=" suggests that you learned a fair bit about what you do and do not value in a job, which is kind of what I was talking about :) – Player One Jul 24 '19 at 12:10
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    @PlayerOne - I'm not sure that "I learned what I didn't want to do" counts as something one could ever "get back". I started as a programmer in the late 70s. Most of the work was very different, as was the environment. I don't mind "wasting" those years, because in a way that had to be wasted for the profession to change as dramatically as it did in the 1980s. – Julie in Austin Jul 25 '19 at 13:24

You are inexperienced - and there's no shortcut you can take to having more experience, it takes time and only time will help.

I don't like what I'm doing right now as the programming language that I'm using is very old

The fact that you are working and gaining professional experience is going to be more important than any particular language at this point in your career. Instead of focusing on the code, focus on the process. Learn and implement best practices in your current workplace.

Does your workplace use unit tests? If not, convince your boss(es) that putting them in will improve the maintainability of the code (and ultimately save money, and then take it upon yourself to implement them and write as many as you can. If you already use them, make sure that you have as close to 100% code coverage as possible.

Does your workplace do code reviews? If not, try to convince your peers and bosses that they're useful, and even if you can't get it fully implemented try to make sure that any code you write is reviewed by someone, even if informally.

Does your workplace have good source control practices? Code conventions? When I was starting my programming career, one thing I went through all our codebase after workhours for a week and eliminated all the "warnings" that visual studio was finding (none of them were bugs, just code that could be made more readable, more explicit, etc.). I spent another week or two adding XML documentation to every function. None of that required that the code be modern, but it helped me be a better software engineer by forcing me to think about cleaner code and better documentation for anything I wrote in the future.

Most of what you do as a developer isn't going to be coding, but engineering - use this job as a starting point to learn the non-code skills and you'll be in a much better position to learn newer, more modern languages in the future.


How do you make sure to stay on top regardless of your age?

As a software engineer, your best bet to remain relevant and marketable is to make sure your are proficient in relevant technologies. Being able to produce is what really matters, as the other answer point's out, but being relevant is also key.

In our field, you also have to keep an eye on what is coming next, and invest some of your time in learning on your own. Do not rely on your employer for this.

My other advise to stay relevant would be to attempt to be capable in a FULL STACK ( LAMP, etc. ). To determine what is relevant is simply a google/job search away.

Note: Since the OP is a software engineer, my answer is angled toward this.

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