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Businesses Programming The Almighty Buck

Tech's Dark Secret, It's All About Age 602

theodp writes "Universities really should tell engineering students what to expect in the long term and how to manage their technical careers. Citing ex-Microsoft CTO David Vaskevitch's belief that younger workers have more energy and are sometimes more creative, Wadwha warns that reports of ageism's death have been greatly exaggerated. While encouraging managers to consider the value of the experience older techies bring, Wadwha also offers some get-real advice to those whose hair is beginning to grey: 1) Move up the ladder into management, architecture, or design; switch to sales or product management; jump ship and become an entrepreneur. 2) If you're going to stay in programming, realize that the deck is stacked against you, so be prepared to earn less as you gain experience. 3) Keep your skills current — to be coding for a living when you're 50, you'll need to be able to out-code the new kids on the block. Wadwha's piece strikes a chord with 50-something Dave Winer, who calls the rampant ageism 'really f***ed up,' adding that, 'It's probably the reason why we keep going around in the same loops over and over, because we chuck our experience, wholesale, every ten years or so.'"
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Tech's Dark Secret, It's All About Age

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  • by sapgau ( 413511 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:19PM (#33416152) Journal

    Ditching experience would be unheard of in medicine, engineering, law, carpentry, pluming, construction, etc, etc, etc....
    But only us have the balls to say that youth trumps experience, I wasn't aware kids were born with all computer science concepts from the get go.

    How is it that a senior programmer ends up in sales?

    Maybe we are not taken seriously because our professional low self esteem.

  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:20PM (#33416176)

    "Programming requires long nights staring blankly at mind-muddling objective languages."

    Actually, no, it doesn't. I have never done this and never will. And yet I'm gainfully imployed as a programmer and my bosses (including the owners of the company) constantly tell me they value my contributions to the company.

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:21PM (#33416180)

    Phhhbbt, sounds like something your average old timer would say ...

    I'm one of those old timers. I still stay up all night programming about once a week, but only because I work for myself. Ageism affects those in the corporate culture ... and those of us trying to deal with people just starting out who think they know everything. It's rare to find someone who is young who values the experience we dinosaurs bring to the table. We've been around long enough to have broken it and fixed it again several times over so don't discount our skills just because we're old enough to be your parents.

    No, I just turned 28! You bastards, I was supposed to have more time! It's not my time yet!

    Wow, I've been programming longer than you've been alive ... surely my experience is worth something, isn't it?

  • Re:"Out code"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:23PM (#33416216)
    Yup... I'm the oldest on my team and the young pups can spit out more code, but when the rubber hits the road it's the old farts like me that deliver quality, stability and scalability. (Sort of a symbiotic relationship, they spit out tons of schlock then we fix it.)
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:30PM (#33416274)

    If you're going to stay in programming, realize that the deck is stacked against you, so be prepared to earn less as you gain experience.

    In my experience at a company with 1,300 employees, young people are relegated to support calls. The older people (over 40 years), produce [quality] code at an exceptional rate.

    Recently, we had to modify a java function for one of our clients whose client was dealing with money which was worth so little in dollar terms. i.e. 1 US dollar goes for about 2,500 in their money.

    All young folks including myself were just fiddling around the code. This "old" man who had never looked at the code only needed about 12 minutes to solve the problem.

    By the way, this code would 'translate' 1,234,567,890 to One billion, two hundred thirty four million, five hundred sixty seven thousand eight hundred ninety shillings only.

    So I do not agree with that statement entirely. In fact this old man is paid about 2.5 times more than myself. I have 7 years java, VB and PHP experience.

  • What goes around... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __roo ( 86767 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:31PM (#33416290) Homepage

    A while back, a friend of mine -- a very experienced software development manager -- was running a development team, and was planning to hire a developer who was in his early 40s. One of the team members openly objected to the candidate because of his age, saying something like, "How could he possibly be up to date on current technology or keep up with the rest of the team? He's so old!" My friend eventually hired him anyway, and the "old" developer turned out to be a superstar, one of the best on the team.

    That was about eight years ago. The guy who raised the objection is now about the same age as the candidate he had wanted to reject. I wonder if he's facing the same kind of age discrimination, now that he's "so old."

  • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:36PM (#33416358)
    Programmer w/ 2 yrs xp looking for a job. no offers.

    In fact, by saying I have 2 yrs experience, apparently I get lumped into a very large group of programmers. I keep getting sent offers for jobs that want someone with at least 7 years experience.
    So apparently employers classify potential programmers into:
    fresh blood out of college ( less than 2 yrs xp)
    worthless trash (2 to 7 years experience)
    Gods walking amongst mere mortals (over 7 years experience and guaranteed to be able to do anything you desire)
  • as in, arts and crafts: in many ways, programming is an art form, not a science

    and honestly, if you take exception to this description, i will go so far as to say you aren't a real programmer. you haven't pored over a piece of code, and, after cognitively digesting it, sat back and thought: "beautiful". that's an aesthetic description. because programming DOES have a genuine aesthetic component to it that really delineates the difference between a creative rock star and a code maintenance bureaucratic functionary

    but what kind of art is it, cognitively speaking? and i would say: it is more like a being a movie director than being a musician

    but people THINK of programmers like musicians, with a musician's career arc: you are a nobody, then you skyrocket to fame, then you fade and are a forgotten has-been doing greatest hits at the country fair: called in to adjust their COBOL from the 1980s

    programmers should be thought of like movie directors, who can most certainly be a geniuses at a young age, like robert rodriguez, but don't really hit their prime until their 30s and 40s, like chris nolan, and are still valuable as greybeards making great stuff in their 60s and 70s, like martin scorsese. and the young hot shot movie directors might be glowing hot, flying by the seat of his pants with tiny production budgets and just his friends to help, like a young programmer fueled on soft drinks and potato chips at 3 am. but the older movie directors are sitting atop large multimillion dollar productions, with a giant staff of cinematographers and key grips and production assistants... more like commanding a battleship than a dinghy. in programmer terms: moving into management

    so as for the prejudice of ageism in programming: maybe there is just something about a young supple mind that makes art that is exciting and electric. i mean i had to do a double take just now composing this comment: i described a good programmer as a rock star above. showing that even within my own way of thinking about programming, i am applying the false musician's metaphor for the artistry that is programming, when it is more like being a movie director

    programmers are movie directors, not musicians. that's my metaphor and my message, even if i myself can't keep my story straight

  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:48PM (#33416542) Homepage

    The field expanded greatly in the 1990's. When I interview with a tech lead, that tech lead is usually younger than me. During the interview process, the tech lead sees from my resume that I have a lot of experience and knowledge, and then sees from his overly-targeted interview questions that I am not expert on the specific thing he happens to be working on day and night at the moment. Based on a "failed" interview, the tech lead is able to dismiss a potential leadership threat.

    This will continue to go on until there is more age diversity in the field, which will take several decades for the dot-commers to mature. Meanwhile, since I started nearly a decade before dot-com, I more or less am limited to those businesses that have people older than me.

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:54PM (#33416632)

    "Old enough to be my parent" is a secondhand appeal to authority - a) you're not my parent; b) if that's the only reason I should be listening to you, you probably aren't as good at your job as you've judged yourself.

    No one asked for your respect or even for you to listen. I believe I said "don't discount our skills just because we're old enough to be your parents." It has nothing to do with appealing to authority ... had I said "you should listen to us because we're old enough to be your parents" I could see you point. But in this case you're simply off the mark.

    At 35 you're not young, especially in IT. Your touchy response leads me to believe you may end up in the second group of people who are 15 - 25 years older than you are.

  • by Burnhard ( 1031106 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:55PM (#33416642)
    Good point, but I would say burn-out is kind-of similar to the experience of the man on the shirt button production line who's just made his 1000,000th button. It's more about the feeling of impotence with respect to raising yourself up, than it is about actually writing code. That is to say, in order to raise yourself up you need to change career. There's not much you can do as a producer of buttons otherwise. But this experience is not unique to developers. It's true pretty much across the board when you hit your late 30's or early 40's and your earning potential appears to have peaked or flat-lined. You no longer experience the vision of the light at the end of the tunnel as you did when you were an under-graduate or fresh out of college. For example, I earn around £40,000 per annum as a developer but lack the required knowledge to earn £100,000. That is even if I could convince someone I was worth £100,000, I wouldn't know where to go to meet him to explore the opportunity. I look at the job ads and they're all similar to my current employment. There seems to be no way up or out.
  • Simple... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:55PM (#33416648) Journal

    Seen many "Be a surgeon in 21 days!" or "Criminal Law for Dummies" books lately?
    How about a plumber doing all his work with a single screwdriver and no other tools, equipment or material?

    A nine-year-old with a "PC" can be a programmer since.. well... decades now.
    And while surgeon's/plumber's/lawyer's etc. hands on experience accumulates only in him/her and can't be transplanted into another human with a click of a mouse - that nine-year-old copy/pasting someone else's code is actively using all the accumulated experience in the world that he can google-out.

    And that is not even going into how you can hire someone from India to do the coding you need for a fraction of what you would have to pay that nine-year-old.

  • by meburke ( 736645 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:58PM (#33416680)

    Well, first, Engineers shouldn't become programmers. They should know how to program, but otherwise it's a mismatch of talent.

    Second, programmers who are still just crafting code after 45 years in the field should go somewhere and get a shot of ambition. Programming is a good place for younger folks to keep them out of trouble. Sooner or later the smart ones figure out that programming is more about creating solutions to problems rather than writing code. Figure out a solution and then pass it off the the young guys to do the drudge work. Those that don't figure this out will eventually give up and migrate to management, sales, Art or something more suited to their talents.

    Third, problems don't solve themselves, but code can write itself. Writing programs that write programs frees up truly creative minds and you get the benefits of not having to hang around with a bunch of hotshot, know-it-alls who don't listen to their elders.

    Hey, I've been programming for 45 years, and I know what I'm talking about...

  • Well I'm 50 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cruachan ( 113813 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:59PM (#33416684)

    I wrote this last year on Stackoverflow. Still holds true this year. Edited slightly to remove reference to another post there.

    I'm 49 and I'm a programmer.

    Well actually I'm a DBA, IT consultant and Business Analyst too. But in my heart I'm a coder - and I think I'm getting better with age. And I make a nice living at it, thank you - but I put a lot of effort into setting myself up that way.

    There has always been ageism in IT. I entered commercial IT relatively late in my mid-20 after being a research scientist (biological - but writing scientific code for analysis). When I went to move jobs at 28 looking for an Analyst/Programmer job one recruitment company told me I was 'too old'.

    Ha. Since then I've done a rollercoaster so far as coding is concerned - followed the big corporate trail up though systems analyst to project manager by my mid-30s before deciding I really missed coding. Went to a small organisation as senior developer then morphed into DBA for 7 years - but started writing code at home which grew contacts and income until I started running my own consultancy a little over 10 years ago. I purposely don't grow larger because I don't want to spend my time managing other people, but I do have a large network of other consultants in complementary fields (graphics, management consultancy etc) I can collaborate with.

    My clients are nearly all in the SME sector, most I talk to the boss directly and they no or limited development support inhouse. Age in this case is an advantage as experience with systems in business means that people trust me as I can both deliver software, and deliver the right software for the business context. There is something awfully satisfying about being able to go to a client and say 'you need to spend $10k on this hardware and software development to support this' and the client does it because they trust your abilities and the experience you bring to recommend that decision. It helps I'm a complete neophile too and I replace my skillset every 5 or 6 years - I'm currently moving to Python and .Net (and raving about Ironpython for desktop apps)

    So I spend about 50% of my time writing code, 25% doing 'business IT consultancy' and 25% general purpose IT to support that - for instance several of the systems I've developed for my clients are web based - and I run the web servers to host them.

    And lastly it's a great job for fitting with family life and commitments. I have my office in the house (large room, lots of computers and screens) and I work probably 10 hours a day, but it fits with family. I've been at home when my kids were small and when they've come back from school as they've grown older. I don't even have to be in one place - last week I had to see a client on site at the same city when my son is a student, so I go in, see my client at lunchtime, sit in Starbucks all afternoon coding on my laptop, then take him out for dinner. Perfect mix :-)

    So ageism - phah. Ageism is only a problem if you associate with people who are ageist - and as a society we're growing older and many of those older people who do have work going are not going to be comfortable with giving it to youngsters. There's plenty of opportunity for older developers, but you have to play to the strength of the experience you've accumulated and adapt. If you don't learn new technologies and stay excited by what's happening then that's your problem, not ageism.

    Myself I see myself coding until I drop. I'm actually looking forward to being more flexible as I get older - when all the kids have left home we've plans to equip a camper-van with all the tech I need and wander around europe nomadically for a year or three working remotely as needed.

    Coding is the best occupation ever invented. Who on earth would want to give it up?

  • by wagadog ( 545179 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @12:59PM (#33416690) Journal

    ...Actually Google tried that "company culture" line of crap out on Brian Reid, and it's actually digging them further into a hole -- because the "stray remarks" doctrine no longer applies in that case -- since "stray remarks" are indicative of "company culture."

    It's funny how the things companies try to keep themselves off the hook tend to be the very things that hoist them in the high-profile cases.

    Ah, the irony, sweet irony.

  • by PhuFighter ( 1172899 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:07PM (#33416794)

    The difference between the computing industry and the other industries you mentioned is that computing is hundreds of years younger, and thus changing orders of magnitude faster. Medicine comes the closest because of continuous research, so doctors are required to stay current with continuing education (they have to do this to maintain certification).

    I have a huge problem with this. The computing industry is younger, but I don't think it's changing that much faster - a lot of "new" concepts are just recycled old concepts! Albeit wrapped slightly differently. E.g. are dumb terminals and thin clients that much different? What about, as someone else noted, worker threads and local storage? Is the concept of local storage much different than caching? And I distinctly recall being taught about threaded programming in the 1990s. The big difference now is that there is a lot more resources than before. So the current crop of applications don't really have to be developed with as much care as older code. More resources -> more resources to waste. I would consider myself an early career developer, but i've seen a lot of good and bad code from old and new developers. And I find that it's more often the newer ones that tend to rush code and leave things incomplete.

  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:14PM (#33416892) Homepage Journal

    Well ... I got burned out working 85 hour weeks for three years, and retired from game development to do enterprise software development. Now I have a very enjoyable life working 40-45 hours/week, and plenty of time with my kid, etc. I've been in software for a total of 20 years now, and I'd say right now I'm charged up.

  • by wagadog ( 545179 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:23PM (#33417022) Journal

    Hi there! I started programming professionally in 1978 on mainframes and micros, upgraded my skills to that then-new unix boxes (4.2, 4.3 BSD) throughout the 80's, stayed current as all those new Unix Workstations came out, and then to the Linux and web programming (server side of course) in the 90's. Picked up SQL and now noSQL database skills in the mean time.

    It's all more relevant than ever, isn't it? After EDIFACT, XML was like a breath of fresh air, and after XML, JSON was like a breath of fresh *clean* air. Python is more fun than C++, C still makes cleaner system interfaces than C++. Ruby, Java and Scala are pretty much a POS, but the kiddies haven't quite figured that out yet. The kiddie managers keep going for silver bullets less and less likely to dig them out of a hole ("Java site failed? oh here's a bright young man who will reprogram the whole thing in Ruby! Ruby failed? Oh, here's another bright young man who will reprogram the whole thing in Scala!") Face. Palm.

    When the whole enterprise turns to custard, it turns out to be some basic easy fix in the guts of the code they were afraid to touch -- you know, the C parts, with the system calls. Lol.

    I'm well into my third decade of continuous employment as a programmer and still love it.

    Every once in a while an employer will try to move me into management because "women are so good with people" and watch them try to credit my male co-workers with code *I* wrote -- when there's a perfectly good code repository that fails them when they try to back up their ill considered opinions with facts. It's hilarious.

  • by KlomDark ( 6370 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:29PM (#33417120) Homepage Journal

    1) Out of date? Java is out of date and screaming towards obsolescence with Oracle suing Google. I wouldn't base my company on that anymore, might get sued just for using it. [C#/jQuery/TrueAJAX/WebServices/ScriptServices/LINQ/etc here - you calling that out of date? I'll just laugh and then spit in your face.]

    2) Of course old people appear tired, it's a physical effect of gravity pulling on skin for a long time. What's your point? I think you're confusing "calm and collected" with "Not a young ADD-addled idiot who can't sit still" - basically a young tweaker. Nothing worse than going to an interview with a little boy who acts like a yippy poodle at every question, more looking to ego-stroke himself than truly interview the interviewee.

    Yipper: "How many objects are registered with the DOM if you have two objects on the page??" [With a smug look of "you old scum" on his face]
    Me: "Um, two..."
    Yipper: "No! No! No! No! There's THREE, you forgot the document object itself!! Yip yip yip!" [Shoulda seen the look of "I gotchu!!!" victoriousness on his face]
    Me: "OK, should have let me know we were also counting objects that exist by default. In that case, I'll need to consider how many objects exist by default within a newly instantiated DOM then. Can't give you an exact number, but it's way higher than three."
    Yipper: *crickets* [with a death-stare for beating his ego]
    Me: "Any real questions for me? Otherwise I've just made up my mind that I don't want to work here if that's what passes for intelligence here."

    Really happened. Fuck bullshit little dweebs. [Got a far better job that pays more, later that week.]

  • Mod parent UP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by White Flame ( 1074973 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:45PM (#33417332)

    I'm in my mid-30s, and have already long experienced exactly what you describe, and agree 100%. We also do use codegen heavily to create a *maintainable* fast pipe between "problem to solve" to "solution".

    Of course, going the entrepreneur route does force some of those issues, as solving the customer's problems is what puts food on the table, not just cranking code and keeping a boss off your back. But even then, quite a bit of my increase in perspective came well before, when I realized that what I want to build in terms of my own hobby interests requires more than just me working on it, if I want to reach my creative goals in this lifetime.

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Monday August 30, 2010 @01:57PM (#33417494) Homepage

    This guy doesn't care about the US workers at all. See his support on offshoring.

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:03PM (#33417564)

    I would guess it is much harder to prove than race or religion. I mean seriously, we interview a lot of candidates. No one I have ever worked with expressed the thought that older people can't be competent in CS, whereas I have run into actual racists/religionists.

    Older people don't get hired because: 1) They let their skill sets get out of date. We're hiring people currently skilled in java. I have seen some older people apply who only knew cobol, apparently, and weren't willing to learn enough java to pass a basic technical interview. 2) Older people can appear tired. We're hiring energetic people with enthusiasm for their work. If you can't even fake it the length of an interview ....

    I say all this headed for my 30th birthday and knowing the clock is ticking.

    I am over 40, and work at a small startup. I was very actively recruited. However, my skills are current, I have a very broad base, and I got a good nights sleep before the interview. :) I hear about this ageism in IT all the time, but I have never seen it. Don't worry about the clock, just the attitude...

  • by SimonInOz ( 579741 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:27PM (#33417828)

    I've been coding since about 1970. Burned out - no. Tired of crappy management, poorly designed systems, stupid approaches, ass-kissing, idiotic schedules, idiotic interfaces, idiots in general, yes.

    I can outcode most of the "new kids" and still go home on time, but it is certainly true that experience - or perhaps age - counts against you in this industry after a while.

    Maybe I should write a new resume with me born in 1975 instead of 1955. See if I get more interviews.

    (And yes, if you need a good Java etc architect/designer/programmer in Sydney I am available ... and yes, I can code in just about anything from COBOL to Scala, and do it well)

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:56PM (#33418156)

    You caught grief on this but I have to back you up on this.

    As SMART and EDUCATED as a 20 year old is, they are IGNORANT and INEXPERIENCED.

    So over my life time, I went from "making 20 year old mistakes" to "making 30 year old with 10 years experience" mistakes to a point in my late 30's where with about 15-18 years of experience including a half dozen years of objected oriented experience and project management on top of a computer science degree (not a business degree with computer science) I finally knew a little bit. Not as much as consultants who worked on 3 major projects at three different companies a year had at 15 years but I didn't make the obvious mistakes due to ignorance and inexperience.

    And about that time I started working on things developed by 20 year olds (because they were "cheap") which made all the old mistakes and were impossible to fix because the mistakes were embedded in the design.

    I have nothing against bright 20 year olds managed/lead by an experienced senior coder/analyst/designer. That's a cost effective method for business that produces reasonable results. But you do not want the 20 year olds running the shop. And that's what happens when you start laying off and refusing to hire anyone over 45.

    And think about what business gets out of it. Failed multi million dollar projects or "successful" but poorly performing or hard to maintain projects. And projects which reflect the utter lack of business expertise the young eager programmers bring to the table.

    Meanwhile, the young eager programmers work incredible hours (10+ to 12+ or more) for 10 to 15 years, including weekends and holidays, and late night support calls, and then they get about 10 decent years, and then THEY get laid off and dumped.


    Thank god I did follow the management path. They have all the coders working 10+ hour days and weekends right now for an emergency project which will get the upper managers big bonuses and the line workers maybe 10% (for working an extra 40% for a couple years). Will be very happy when the market tightens up again (which unfortunately means ageism since the boomers ahead of me have to frikkin retire). And I sympathize with the poor graduating 20 year olds- they are screwed. No jobs so no experience and a $40k college bill.

    Hard times for all right now.

  • by pushf popf ( 741049 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:03PM (#33418232)
    because 20-something morons who have never seen a project managed competently think it's supposed to be that way." I would venture to guess...there are PLENTY of 40-50yr olds that have yet to see a project managed competently...

    Most projects are doomed before they start, when the budget, timeline and requirements silently collide in huge explosion that nobody acknowledges seeing or hearing.

    I remember back in the dark ages (early 90's) I sat through a meeting describing software that had an only slightly smaller scope than the creation of the universe. After the meeting, I told the project manager that the only way to be on-time, within budget and meet specs would be if he had a magic wand and a time machine.

    For some reason that wasn't a popular opinion and I wasn't invited to any more meetings.

    OTOH, the project was a massive money sucking hole, and when it was months overdue and way over budget, the company killed it and was sued for breach of contract. Then went bankrupt.

    Successful project management starts with realistic expectations, budget and time-line, which due to market-pressures is usually absent.
  • by swrider ( 854292 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:59PM (#33418846) Homepage
    Let's see, what year is this? Oh, yeah, 2010. That means that I have been programming computers for almost 35 years. And, I not burned out yet. I started with paper tape and punch cards and even programmed a line printer controller board, which involved implementing the program in wires. I have been through more programming languages than I want to remember, each one guaranteed to be the path to true programming enlightenment, if I just convert and drink the Kool-Aid. The key to staying in it and not sinking into the pit of despair over the drudge is getting to the place where you can have more control over the project and your role in it. Find or start a company with smart people that you like to work with. And, then create something that people not only use, but like to use. Because it makes their life easier and better.
  • Re:Late nights (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Monday August 30, 2010 @04:34PM (#33419304) Journal

    Back in college one of the things we were taught was that healthy people should be able to perform adequately after a regular 16-hour day. Not that they have to do it all the time, but that they shouldn't be so overwhelmed by a need to sleep after 16 hours that they can't stay up.

    Maybe you should cut down on the caffeine. Contrary to popular believe, it makes you require more, not less, sleep, because it both over-stimulates you during the day, and makes what sleep you get less fitful.

    There are plenty of coders who know what I mean when I say you "get into the zone" and go with it. When that happens, you don't want to stop because you're getting a lot done, in a very efficient manner. You'll rest later, and you'll feel you've earned it - because if you rested now, you wouldn't be able to get to sleep anyway.

  • Re:Well I'm 50 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2010 @04:41PM (#33419440)

    Well, I'm 80 (with almost 50 yrs of code cranking in so far) . And I do pretty much as you describe, except that I'm doing it as/for free/open-source.

    I don't know of many other jobs taht wd let me be semi-creative - as well as actually doing some good - with a working uniform consisting of bathrobe and slippers.

    Granted that I wdn't go out where a client needs some face-time; the head of white hair wd prbly shock them - blowing away any stereotypes they might bring to the table.


  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @04:58PM (#33419720) Journal

    Granted in my mid-30s I'm not greybeard but I can tell you that you don't earn less as your experience increases. If you do, you're not doing very well with the job hunt. Poeple pay you more for your ability to get things done despite difficulties that will stump an inexperienced coder.

    This article is pure drivel. It's advice made to con old experienced programmers to undervalue themselves, put up with shitty conditions and leave the game. It's the kind of advice a used car salesman gives you as he's trying to sell you an old bomb with the engine about to fall out. This guy's either a coder who wants less competition or he's a manager looking to hire cheap.

    Oh and one more thing: If you can't out-code quite naturally a college grad after 20 years in the game, you're in the wrong game, or in the wrong job all along. By naturally I mean without spending a lot of your own time learning.

  • by BigSlowTarget ( 325940 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @06:36PM (#33420858) Journal

    Intelligence * Experience * Knowledge = Wisdom

    Have a zero, be a zero.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @08:08PM (#33421628)

    It usually sneaks in due to performance issues.
    Most security issues are performance issues in disguise.
    Once performance isn't an issue, we can afford stronger security.

    It's getting there. But we keep adding more features, coolness, animated, more realistic graphics, etc. instead of tightening security fully.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:27AM (#33423354)

    I am not an SQL developer. So when I heard about this SQL injection business, curious as I was I had to figure out what it was and how it was done. When I finally found a web page explaining it, all I could think was: What the fuck. Only an absolute complete idiot would ever, ever take the contents of a user entered text field and plug it as it is into a string that is constructed to form a query. Not even in dBase would you do that. What a fuckup.

    Last week, I helped mark some final year students' database code from a world-top-50-ranked university. Every single one of them was open to an SQL injection attack because they'd done just what you say "only an absolute complete idiot" would ever do. Universities are turning out "young enthusiastic creative energetic programmers" who can churn out insecure badly designed incompetent crap at ever faster speeds. Trouble is, because they can say "I did test-driven development" (they wrote crap tests, and sure enough crap code can pass crap tests) lazy hiring managers swoon in amazement.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."