No age limit for Programming: Meet World’s Oldest App developer

82-year-old Masako Wakamiya is an inspiration to all Initially a blank clerk who retired in the 1990s knew that it’s not the end of a road for her. She proved learning has no age limit, one can learn anything at any age if he/she is determined enough to do it. In her early 70s, she learned Piano and in 2017, being 80+ she started learning to code. When first began working she still used an abacus for math but today she is one of the world’s oldest iPhone app developers.

How did Wakamiya become oldest app developer?

After the retirement, she found herself in a place where she had a lot of idle time and she believed technology will grow very soon, being idle and alone in her late 60s she started exploring this field and it took her months to set up her first system. This was the first time when she interacted with technology at this close level and developed some skills on Microsoft Windows.

Later on, when technology grew and a much smaller devices iPhones were introduced in the market she became a fan of them, but even after years, she saw the failure in iPhone store for not able to provide apps and games for elderly as if they did not exist and no one cared about them. She even recommended top app firms to do something about it but none of them showed interest in her view.

Depressed by no interest from the tech industry for building an app for elderly people, 80 years old take the initiative to herself to learn to code and thus build an app which could easily be used by elderly people without any or much problem. Since then, Wakamiya has gone on becoming a developer and author of a free iOS game named “Hinadan- the doll staircase” which is inspired by Hina Matsuri, a doll festival.

Hinadan, specifically targeting the elderly Japanese audience.,The app has nearly 5 stars on the App Store, and 50,000+ downloads worldwide, since its release, Wakamiya is now thinking on developing versions in English, Chinese, and possibly French.

As you age, you lose many things: your husband, your job, your hair, your eyesight. The minuses are quite numerous. But when you learn something new, whether it be programming or the piano, it is a plus, it’s motivating,

she said.

At this era when every big tech firm employees age median roam around at 34, Wakamiya is busy leaving ageist naysayers in the dust. In the months since Apple CEO, Tim Cook called Wakamiya the “world’s oldest app developer” in attendance at an annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the Tokyo native’s spotlight has only grown.

In Wakamiya’s app,  Hinadan users have to put dolls in the correct positions – a task which is much harder than it sounds, requiring memorization of the complex arrangements and memorizing dolls colors.

Wakamiya said her ultimate goal of life is to come up with “other apps that can entertain older people and help transmit to young people the culture and traditions we old people possess”.
“Most old people have abandoned the idea of learning, but the fact that some are starting [again] is not only good for them but for the country’s economy,” said Wakamiya.

Wakamiya thus proves there is no end to learning a determined person could very easily do whatever he/she want, and she being 84+ is inspiring us the much younger generation to be determined to fulfill our goals. If you are also interested in app development, check our article on How to become an app developer.