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Programming

Why Coding At Fifty May Be Nifty 317

Posted by timothy
from the because-that's-when-you-join-the-singularity dept.
theodp writes "Enough with the dadgum naysayers. Google's Vivek Haldar lists some good reasons for why you would want to program at fifty (or any other age). Haldar's list would probably get a thumbs-up from billionaire SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, who had this to say about coding when interviewed at age 56: 'I would be happy if I just stayed in my office and programmed all day, to tell you the truth. That is my one real love in life is programming. Programming is sort of like getting to work a puzzle all day long. I actually enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. It's not even work to me. It's just enjoyable. You get to shut out all your other thoughts and just concentrate on this little thing you're trying to do, to make work it. It's nice, very enjoyable.'"
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Why Coding At Fifty May Be Nifty

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  • by JustOK (667959) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:08AM (#41872041) Journal

    Who paid for your schools, medical care, transportation and all the other infrastructure that you use? Not you.

  • Re:Good for you! (Score:5, Informative)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:28AM (#41872113)

    Its' just a tool to solve some other problem I have. I can't wait for the day when I can tell the computer verbally or draw a picture the algorithm and never ever have to type another line of code - ever.

    well, the good news is that you can do this today, it's been around for at least ten years. Its called UML. what happens in your fantasy is that you draw your code layouts in boxes with various types of lines to link the objects together, then click a button and the whole thing gets generated into your favourite language. you then fill in a few of the details (ie the implementation inside some of those objects) and you're done.

    I also wrote a system that did something similar - you wrote objects that could be dropped onto a canvas designer like a flowchart and wire up inputs and outputs (yes, a lot like biztalk, only we did it before biztalk came out, though I guess taking our product to MS for performance testing in their labs was a mistake).

    Ok, you can stop reading here, the rest of us... I think everyone knows the problems with UML - write the big diagram, put it somewhere for management to look at, then ignore it as you work on code. It simply wasn't expressive enough to use for real work.
    As for our product, it worked quite well, you could drop GUI components (html-based) onto it too and it would all magically make an application the user worked through and a business analyst could update when business requirements changed. Trouble was, the complexity of the thing increased exponentially. An app with a dozen components was easy, once you started work on a real-world app, the complexity meant you needed a couple dozen BAs working on it, It would have been more efficient just handing it to programmers and telling them the initial requirements are that the back-end rules will change.

    So I don't think there will ever be a shift away from typing code, although practically every app I've seen in recent years has tried some form of configuration replacement (like .net, where everything you used to write in code is now in .config files, and everything you used to put in config is now hard-coded) or custom rolled ones that implement configurable business logic.

  • by Terje Mathisen (128806) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:47AM (#41872201)

    The reason that over-50 crowd is asking for help is almost certainly due to deteriorating eyesight and glasses!

    First of all, a 50 year old needs 3X the light level as a 20-30 year old, second the progressive glasses most of has to start wearing at this time takes a huge slice out of the normal visual field:

    I used to be able to easily locate things that were near the edge of my visual field, with my current (very good/expensive) glasses I need to turn my entire head, not just flick a glance sidewise.

    This does mean that I find it far harder to locate items in the Supermarket/grocery store, unless it is the local one where I know where everything is located.

    It also means that I will ask store attendants for directions to stuff that I would simply find on my own 15 years ago, simply because I know it will probably save me a lot of time.

    Terje

  • Re:Oh god, not agile (Score:5, Informative)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:30PM (#41872881)

    oh no.

    I've done agile many years back and it as great - iterative development, regular releases, a 'vision' of what was needed to be added to the product per cycle... it worked.

    Today... agile seems to be a way of doing massively heavyweight processes. we have 2 scrum boards, we can't decide what the timebox items should be, or how long it'll take to do them, or how many should be in there, or how much planning for the next timebox needs to be done.... gah! its all planning on our agile nonsense.

    Its not agile, lets put it that way.

  • by Nivag064 (904744) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:47PM (#41874575) Homepage

    I am 61, and certainly not the oldest still programming. My first 2 paid programming positions involved FORTRAN IV and COBOL, I now use Java. Recently I've played with Python and Groovy.

    A few years ago I met a young man in his mid twenties, who said he was too old to learn programming!

    I wrote my first program (in BASIC) when I was eighteen, to display what happens when you feed the sine function complex numbers - I did it for fun. The computer was the size of a 4 draw filing cabinet, and had about 4K bytes - not 4 megabytes, nor 4 gigabytes! Now my main development machine has 16 gigabytes.

    Currently I am writing a system to to store, retrieve, and display tagged images using Java on Linux. The full system will be backed by a Postgres database and will be accessed by a web front end.

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