Could I work part time from home as a software engineer?

I am a seasoned executive assistant by career for over 30 years working in many large corporations. I was considering starting an online business from home and no longer work now as an executive assistant but do ebook conversions from manuscripts or published books - and work for authors and publishers doing so.
But now that I actively do html coding and tags alot for the creation of the ebooks, I really enjoy it and am going to look into getting a degree as a computer software engineer. I am now 59 years old (a very active 59 who runs 45 min a day, weight trains etc). and I am looking to work from home completely as a computer software engineer. I no longer wish to work from the company - but as an engineer - from home. Do you believe there is opportunity in that position for flexibility - if I desired to get my degree and then if I wanted to work part time as an engineer at home? Is that a realistic expectation to have the flexibility to work part-time in my career?

Thanks very much.
posted by Claudia, Newtown, CT on September 2, 2013

Answer by Katherine Sheehan

I would definitely say that it is a possibility. There are several people I know who adopt a flexible way of working in this industry. They split their time between working at the office and at home on a regular basis, whether this is to look after children or just down to personal preference or for unadvertised reasons. I found this particularly useful when I recently suffered a fracture at the beginning of the year and couldn't make it in, and in the past when I've been ill and haven't wanted to spread my germs but still felt well enough to work. I even know one developer who likes to travel for 6 months of the year and codes from the beach when he needs to! Based on your brief description and the fact you want you do it part-time, it sounds like a viable option for you. Good luck pursuing your degree and your new career!

Please bare in mind that the above was related to a specific example and is just my opinion, as is what I'm about to say. With that being said, I wouldn't overlook the benefits of being able to discuss things face-to-face with your colleagues and the rapport you develop from working in the same office. I regularly make use of instant messaging and video conferencing to keep in contact with remote colleagues, but I still don't think you can beat working in the same office. Impromptu chats are more likely and I can't tell you the number of times I've overheard someone working on or struggling with something that I've had difficulty with, and have been able to walk over and explain how to tackle it or likewise asked for help.