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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up 232

Nemo the Magnificent writes: " Everybody knows software development is a young man's game, right? Here's a guy who hires and manages programmers, and he says it's not about age at all — it's about skills, period. 'It's each individual's responsibility to stay fresh in the field and maintain a modern-day skillset that gives any 28-year-old a run for his or her money. ... Although the ability to learn those skills is usually unlimited, the available time to learn often is not. "Little" things like family dinners, Little League, and home improvement projects often get in the way. As a result, we do find that we face a shortage of older, more seasoned developers. And it's not because we don't want older candidates. It's often because the older candidates haven't successfully modernized their developer skills.' A company that actively works to offer all employees the chance to learn and to engage with modern technologies is a company that good people are going to work for, and to stay at."
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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

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  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:29PM (#47022555)

    I've found that young vs. old is a trade-off.

    Older workers frequently have a better work-ethic in the workplace, and have more experience to draw upon. Younger workers have a better work-ethic in terms of the amount of time they are willing to dedicate to work and frequently (but not always) contribute new ideas.

    What it seems to come down to is: do you want experienced workers who will contribute more per hour, but who will also draw a firm line between their work and personal life, or a young worker who is willing to put in the extra time, even though a lot of their time will be spent relearning what a more experience worker already knows?

    I suppose software development also has other factors. Some products depends upon experienced developers (e.g. anything considered mission critical) while other products depend upon fresh ideas (e.g. most software targetted at consumers).

  • Re:Yes, and No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:24PM (#47022787) Journal

    Back in the 1980s, I had the good fortune to work with a man who had started at IBM the same year I was born. He not only knew the current landscape of development tools, he also had a vast knowledge of how we got here, what things had been tried and abandoned along the way, and he was very good at spotting tasks that people hadn't realized were necessary. I learned a lot from him.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:17PM (#47022979)

    The thing about technology is: the absolute best thing today, really the best, is utter crap in 20 years.

    If the second part of your statement was really true then the first part is false. If a technology is "utter crap" in 20 years, then it really wasn't that good in the first place. It was likely popular but not necessarily good. Actual good technologies are timeless.

  • Re:Yes, and No. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @12:11AM (#47023315)

    Problem is convincing a PHB that the seasoned veteran who knows the codebase extremely well is worth the cost compared to a H-1B

    The the companies problem though, not the seasoned veteran - because the seasoned veteran is already considering several job offers from people who do realize that value.

  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @02:45AM (#47023781) Homepage

    I hear that a lot, but I genuinely don't buy it.

    I'm a pretty good C programmer, by most accounts. I have a reasonable track record producing code that solves interesting problems, and very good reliability.

    And this absolutely does not require me to understand how the processor works. In fact, it's sort of the opposite; the reason I'm good at C is that I mostly ignore the processor question and focus on how the language spec works. So I write code that's correct without guessing at what CPUs will do with it.

    I've been writing C for >20 years. I've probably looked at assembly output maybe a dozen times in that time, maybe a little more but not much. I've tried to modify assembly code maybe twice tops. I don't know any assembly languages well enough to follow code in them without looking things up, and I generally can't tell you off the top of my head much of anything about a machine's addressing models or registers or whatever, unless the question came up as trivia. And I do just fine in C.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @03:15AM (#47023893) Homepage Journal

    The cloud is a marketing term that covers a wide variety of things, some occasionally very useful, some nearly always a bad idea. You'll need to specify what you mean by cloud.

    That is the real issue here. Some of us remember when management wanted everything including the potted plant in reception to be CORBA compliant. Anyone remember CORBA? When did it ever do anything for us that didn't already exist? Then it was XML. Everything had to be XML because XML would automagically make everything merge together and work in harmony.....or not.

    OTOH, Ajax actually works as does LAMP. Ajax especially works well when you use it with JSON or HTML rather than XML.

    IDE is a matter of preference. Personally, I find Eclipse useful for Java because there is so damn much boilerplate in Java that Eclipse can take care of. It's not so useful for Python, especially compared to vim with syntax highlighting.

    When an older developer pushes back, it is important to determine if it is actually because he is a dinosaur or is it because he has seen the same thing twice before under another name and it failed both times at great expense. This industry sorely needs more of the latter.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?