4 IT Leaders That Were Late Bloomers


4 IT Leaders That Were Late Bloomers

Age is just a number and if you really want it, you can easily establish your worth in any industry, tech or otherwise. While it’s true that most of the leading names in the IT industry can qualify as youngsters, such as Mark Zuckerberg, who happens to be in his 30s and made it big in his 20s. The tech industry is full of success stories about young people making it big, and we don’t often get to hear about the late bloomers. So here is a rundown of the tech industry’s finest leaders, who were well into their 40s when they ventured into IT and achieved their success.

1. Jack Ma

The one person who has lived a true rags-to-riches story is Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur who started an online business called ‘Alibaba’. Coming from a humble background, Jack Ma failed his entry test for college - twice. After he managed to graduate, he was rejected from all kinds of jobs, even the menial ones in a popular food chain.

The Internet and the power of technology amazed Jack Ma, and so he decided to make use of it to start his own business. After two failed attempts at starting up an online business, Jack started Alibaba in 1999.

Within a few years, the company proved to be a huge success and turned out to be one of the biggest platforms for e-commerce. He was well over 40 when his company was recognized as a local entrepreneurial success. He soon became one of the most prominent men in all of China, and eventually entered the Forbes list of wealthiest people in the world. 

He proved that if you are dedicated, steadfast, and if you understand the importance of lifelong learning, there is no field in the world which you can not master.

2. Douglas Engelbart – The Creator of the Mouse

Looking at the history of information technology, almost all the breakthroughs in technology were made by IT experts in their 40s or above. For instance, the inventor of the computer Mouse was Douglas Engelbart, an early pioneer in both computers and the internet. He was an engineer and a technology enthusiast.

His invention is considered a game changer, as he made using a computer infinitely easier. He invented the Mouse at the age of 39 in 1964. This was almost two decades before the first Mouse was ever shipped with a computer – the Macintosh. He firmly believed that computers were the future of the world and was enthusiastic to learn about their applications in everyday lives.

Engelbart is, even today, widely known for his invention of the Mouse - a result of his interest in human to computer interaction. He is also attributed to having developed hypertext, created networked computers, and precursors for the graphical user interfaces that were used back then.

He passed away on July 2, 2013.

3. Christopher Latham Sholes – Inventor of the Keyboard

Another man in his 40s, who never entertained the limiting thought that technology was reserved only for youngsters, shook the world with another very important invention. Christopher Latham Sholes is the sole inventor of the keyboard, a tool for human-computer interaction.

In 1868, at the time of his invention, Sholes was 49 years old.  Essentially a newspaper publisher, he was in search of input methods for computers. With his inclination towards technology, he went on to invent the QWERTY keyboard after taking inspiration from typewriters.

Also a contender in being the inventor of typewriter, Sholes went on to prove that technology could help anyone, regardless of age, if they believed in lifelong learning.  In his quest to make his news publication business profitable, he looked towards technology for help, and found it – just because he believed.

4. Stewart Butterflied – Leading with Slack

Stewart Butterflied, CEO and co-founder of Slack, an app for the corporate world which allows teams to collaborate and work together without having to be sitting together, showed the world that age is only but a number.

Butterfield is an entrepreneur and a businessman, also famous for founding Flickr, an app used to manage your pictures along with Slack. Slack was essentially a program based on cloud technology, and as it was being programmed, a tiny glitch occurred. When the matter was investigated, they found Slack to be an amazing tool for teamwork and team building.

It was at the age of 36 that Butterfield founded the app.  Within a few years of his invention, the application became a must-have for the corporate sector, bringing immense success to Butterfield who was steadily reaching his 40s. He became another individual to prove that the zeal of learning could make you a leader of the tech world.

Inc. magazine named Slack the number one application in the world in 2015.

With all these examples right in front of us, we must believe in the importance of learning. Be it 40 or 50 years of age, don’t let numbers stop you from learning something new and achieving something big.

With today’s technological advancements, learning is made easy. You can connect with IT experts online at web portals like Expert Connect.

About The Author
Enterprise Account Executive

Tim Dieterich

Tim is an IT Education Consultant who works with SMBs, enterprise, and government organizations. He helps them achieve IT business objectives through comprehensive multi-mode learning. He assists clients and organizations by making recommendations and providing education for Information Technology, Project Management, Process Improvement, Soft Skills, and more.

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