Retired bank clerk Masako Wakamiya of Japan decided to learn to code last year … when she was 82. Now she’s created a free iOs game, Hinadan, geared for older Japanese folks, just like her. Masako’s app has earned nearly five stars on the Apple App Store and has around 53,000 downloads since it came out last year.
With the median employee age at Facebook being 29 and 31 at Apple, Masako is a standout who’s showing ageist naysayers what an older woman is capable of. A few months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook called her the “world’s oldest app developer” and since then, she’s become even more popular, which isn’t easy in a field where tech workers over 40 are often considered too old.
Masako noticed there weren’t many mobile games for older people in Japan, so she asked software developers to create some. They weren’t interested, but suggested she learn to do it herself, so she did. Using programming books and lessons with a programmer, this octogenarian learned Apple’s Swift programming language.
“Seniors tend to be depressed as they age, because they lose … family members,” the senior explains. “By teaching them to do new things, it gives them an excitement, a motivation — I really like that feeling and being able to share that.”