Learning to Code at Age 81

Lady From Japan Who Built a Game for Seniors

Sanjay Priyadarshi
Feb 27 · 5 min read
Photo by Great Big Story from Youtube

Wouldn’t it be great if your 60s were more fun than your childhood? You start enjoying every day after retirement from your day job.

You start meeting new people, building new clubs for people to interact with, and gaining new skills.

If you are someone who thinks that life gets boring as you get older. If you think that after a certain age you become too old to learn new things.

Let’s meet Masako Wakamiya, who is 84 years old. She is the oldest app developer in Japan.

She not only inspires younger generation but also inspires older people.

Masako Wakamiya’s Introduction to Computer and the Online World

She calls herself a digital creator and IT evangelist.

She has worked in the bank throughout her career. She is the kind of woman who loves to chat with others. She has never been a home woman.

But as she approached 60, that is the mandatory retirement age. She started to feel low because now she has to take care of her mother.

Due to which she was unable to go out and meet new people. She has to stay at her house to nurse her mother. Until that time, she has never accessed any computer.

One day she read an article in a magazine about computers. She got an idea of what she can do with computers. She bought a computer at the age of 58.

She learned to use a computer herself.

After learning how to use a computer, she began to connect with other seniors. She used to chat with different people online.

Early Adoption of Smartphones

Many older people complain that they cannot understand technology. They are not a tech-savvy person.

They cannot keep up with recent technological advances. They consider themselves slow and old.

Masako Wakamiya had an early adoption to smartphones. She always liked to play with fun things.

When she started using the smartphone. She couldn’t find any apps that older people could enjoy.

So she decided to create a game that older people can enjoy. She asked other developers to build such a game. Developers told her that they don’t know what an older person will enjoy.

The developers asked him to create such an application on her own.

Masako decided to create a game for seniors. She learned to code at age 81. After learning to code, she created an application.

That smartphone app is called “Hinadan”. This game is based on Japan’s annual doll festival that has been around for 1000 years.

Since older people have a better knowledge of these types of games. So she decided to make this game in app form.

This app currently has more than 100k downloads.

The app she created was covered by some leading news websites. She was invited to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.

She met with Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. There, Tim exchanged a few words with Masako. He told her that he found her inspiring.

Later at the conference, she was named the world’s oldest programmer.

Masako Wakamiya Mission

Masako has taken on the mission of involving older people with technology. This is because she wants older people to stay connected. This connection can also help other seniors live full lives.

Masako believes that building new things can give people wings. She is totally committed to her mission. She hosts seminars for other seniors and developers around the world.

Only her body has aged, her mind is young.

I Am 40 Years Old. Is It Too Late to Start Learning to Code?

If you are a developer, you must have heard this question from another aspiring developer.

These types of questions are common in the developer community. People believe that since they are between 30 and 40 years old. They have gotten too old to learn to write code.

They think they can’t change careers in their 40s or 50s.

They feel that young people have more energy and hunger for success. Due to which employers will only hire young people and they will be left behind.

Key Learning From Masako Story

If Masako had spent days wondering if she should learn to code since she is 81 years old. She would never have created a game that has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

She never regretted her decision to learn to code at the age of 81. Not only did she build a game, but she has also inspired many older people to learn new things.

If you want to start learning to program and you are 30, 40, or 50 years old. You should start learning right now.

You are not 30 years old. You are not 40 years old. You are not 50 years old.

You are just 30 years old. You are just 40 years old. You are just 50 years old.

There are many companies that are willing to hire qualified developers. They never said they would hire developers whose ages must be between 20 and 30 years old.

The only thing that matters to them is your skills, not your age.

If you don’t start learning it now. One year after this you will feel if you would have started one year back.

You would have learned a lot in a year.

Young people can have more energy than you. But remember that at 40 or 50 you will have more experience than young people.

You will bring experience to the table. These experiences will include your life experiences, how to handle stress, working in other industries will definitely give you a head start.

Who knows, you could be the next Masako Wakamiya that will inspire the younger and older generations.

Who knows, you could create an app that has millions of downloads with the life experience you have. This experience will be used at some point in your journey to becoming a developer.

You have to believe in your past experiences and start learning.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.

You don’t have to do it all today. Just lay a brick.”

— James Clear

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Sanjay Priyadarshi

Written by

Software Engineer | Traveller | Join My Newsletter — codertoentrepreneurs.substack.com

The Startup

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Sanjay Priyadarshi

Written by

Software Engineer | Traveller | Join My Newsletter — codertoentrepreneurs.substack.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

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