I'd like to state first that I'm a 19 year old programmer living in Portugal, and have recently started my first REAL programming job.

I say "REAL" because at my previous jobs, I was normally the sole developer just working on creating and updating a sole website and further developing ideas for the company. (I've worked for a nightclub, for example) This did not work out, as said nightclub ran into some finance troubles and I decided to leave for my own good.

Naturally, due to (at least where I live) pre-conceived notions due to my age, I started offering myself to do projects pro-bono for many different companies, hoping it would help me get a job offer after a while. That day came last week, when I was offered a job at a website-based company, after they noticed my work. Naturally I was ecstatic and still am! I had my job interview today and it went very well, with me starting working there next week.

Even if this is all good news, I can't help but feel overwhelmed. This company is the real deal and is filled to the brim with excellent programmers in their late 20's to early 40's, whereas I am the youngest programmer they have ever hired (they made sure to tell me that at the interview) at age 19. I am not doubting my capacities due to my age and know deep inside that I'll do well after the initial gelling phase, seeing as they do not use any languages/technologies that are foreign to me, but I'm not entirely sure if everybody sees it the same way. I got the idea that my age was a big thing to them at the interview and was considered a risk, seeing as most people are 6-7 years older than me, which intimidates me quite a bit.

Does anyone have any advice or similar experiences they'd like to share? I may be overreacting as the interview went well and I seemed to impress, yet I just can't get this particular fear off my mind.


2 Answers 2


Relax, ask lots of questions, understand how they work and their processes before diving in and suggesting to do it your way. But always be willing to make suggestions, and also be willing to accept that those suggestions may not be taken on board, don't take that personally!

Did I mention ask questions, ask more! If they're a good place to work, they wont expect you to be world class at your age, they also will expect that you probably think you know more than you actually do. So be open and learn as much as you can.

Find the smartest person in the company, get to know them and learn as much as you can from them.

And finally, never be precious about your code. Ever.
Oh and don't forget to have fun :)

  • Thank you so much for your input! I really see this as a huge opportunity to learn and advance my programming knowledge leaps and bounds, so I'll be sure to follow your advice :) Jun 18, 2013 at 2:10

Yes you should ask questions! But ask the right people, and at the right times! Be aware that not everyone believes that "there's no such thing as a dumb question", those people don't like to be pestered with minor queries but if you have something interesting to discuss they will spend time with you.

Don't obsess about your age! Stop thinking of people as being two, or seven, or fifteen years older than you. You're young, you know it, they know it, it's not a problem.

You're at the age where your brain is developing fast, so you will be able to learn a LOT very quickly. Push yourself and you will find that you will exceed what you thought were your limits.

As time passes you will discover where your interests lie. You may be into languages and algorithms, you may be into technology, you may be into UI and UX design, and you may be into developing relationships with partners and customers.

Stay open minded, and enjoy it. Welcome to our world!

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