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Old Geezer

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Joined: 2005-07-26

I'm an old programmer from way back. I cut my teeth on 6502 Assembler on the old Commodore equipment. Since then, Pascal, xBASE, VB, C, C++, SQL, FileMaker, and now I'm starting to do more with Java.
Here's my delima. I'm trying to get myself up to speed enough in Java to be marketable. I'm in my 50's and I know I have a tough time competing with the huge amount of 20 somethings out there. I'm also a little frustrated that the IDE tools for Java are a bit archaic when it comes to UI and database integration. (Remember, I'm coming from FileMaker and VB.)
Usually, my approach to getting up to speed is to come up with an idea, spec it out, and then start developing. (Brute force.) I'm currently doing that, but a little put off by the fact that I can't bind a table to a SQL View in Netbeans. That's another story and posting.
So, the question: Am I barking up the wrong tree? Is it hopeless to think that I could actually get back into the programming work force at this stage in my life? Is my approach good, or is there a better recommendation?
Thanks in advance to all who respond.