How Old are Most Developers When They First Start Coding?

When did you first start coding? For some technologists, their software-building journey began at an extremely young age. Others didn’t write their first line of code until much later in life. All paths are equally valid.

As part of its exhaustive annual Developer Survey, Stack Overflow asked more than 83,000 developers when they began coding (i.e., something as simple as “Hello World!” in a particular language). Based on their responses, it’s clear that a slim majority of developers (68.23 percent) started writing code before they turned 17. Nearly a quarter (24.1 percent) did so between the ages of 18 and 24. With increasing age, the percentages drop; check out the chart:

Of course, age doesn’t impact whether you can program; older developers pick up new languages and technologies all the time. Based on Stack Overflow’s data, though, it’s clear that many developers start very young, and potentially settle on a career path relatively early in life. 

Which languages do developers study during their student years?  GitHub Education released survey data in January showing that Python, HTML, and JavaScript were the languages most used by students. A recent study by HackerRank also showed that students scored very highly on Python, SQL, and Java certification tests.

Python is developers’ most preferred language in which to earn certifications, and the second most in-demand by companies,” added HackerRank’s note accompanying its data. “Its versatility means it’s loved by beginner developers and those working on heavy industrial applications alike. SQL skills are crucial for budding data scientists—a role that’s seeing steady growth in demand—and most companies still need these skills to access data stored in a relational database.”

If you’re just starting out as a developer, consider studying a popular language such as Python or JavaScript. Popular languages have lots of learning resources available online; and once you master them, there are numerous job opportunities.