Why I Am a 50+ Year-Old Beginner iOS Developer

Jody Abney
3 min readApr 11, 2020

Yes, I know I’m late coming to the world of iOS development at my age, but I am finding a lot of joy in the journey I’m beginning at 50+. But, I have to admit, I feel very much like a minority in this new endeavor, which begs a couple of questions I’ll try to answer in this article.

Why am I learning to be an iOS developer?

I am a lifelong learner. I believe in keeping my mind active and trying new things. And I’ve always loved technology. Growing up as personal computers came into being was an exciting time. My first experience was on an Apple ][+ machine that belonged to my best friend in middle school. From the moment I sat down at the keyboard, I became hooked for life. My family couldn’t afford one of those machines, but I begged my Dad for a computer anyway. That Christmas I received a Commodore VIC-20. It certainly wasn’t an Apple machine, but it still let me begin my adventure in earnest. I used it for hours every day with BASIC, explored machine language, etc.

Commodore VIC-20 By Evan-Amos — Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38582541

During the Spring semester of my Freshman year in college, I bought one of the very first Macintosh Plus machines sold in Augusta, Georgia, in 1986. That was a huge step up from my little VIC-20. With that machine, I took my next steps into the technology realm. I learned Pascal, Lisp, Fortran, 68000 Assembly Language, and C. (No, I didn’t major in computer science. I majored in Electrical Engineering at Clemson University.) As I said at the beginning of this article, I’m a life-long learner.

Macintosh Plus By MARC912374 — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31326495

After graduating from college, I became very focused on building a family and a career. Computers were no longer an adventure but a tool in my career. I became more of a consumer of computing for the next 20-years. During this period, I mainly dealt with data to support manufacturing plant operations in the pharmaceutical industry. Out of pure necessity, I became well-versed in database languages like SQL as I led global efforts to harmonize plant maintenance and production systems into a single, global instance of SAP ERP.

So how did I come back to programming? Through another learning adventure, of course! Dealing with data at work, I became very interested in how our company was using the data I was spending my life migrating. Hence, I started a journey into data analytics and machine learning via R, Python, and TIBCO Spotfire.

At about the same time, Apple introduced Core ML in iOS11, which really piqued my interest in combining mobile and machine learning. I’m finally getting around to pursuing this combination interest now under iOS13 via a 7-day Bootcamp at Big Nerd Ranch and now as part of Devslopes Academy.

What are my goals as an iOS developer?

Am I planning to be a full-time iOS developer? Probably not. I already have a very full and challenging career (see my LinkedIn profile). But, some part-time freelance or pro bono work might be fun from time-to-time.

I have an idea for a personal app I’d like to develop. Maybe I can share more about this in future articles as I prepare myself to undertake that enterprise.

At the moment, I think my goal is to gain more knowledge in the design and development of iOS apps. Then, I’ll see where the journey takes me from there.

Until next time, stay safe and keep learning!



Jody Abney

I’m an iOS developer with extensive professional experience in Pharma IT, SAP implementation, Data Migration, Data Analytics/Data Science, and Machine Learning