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Ageism in programming

August 29th, 2010 (09:30 am)

A disturbing article on how programmers' incomes plateau after age 40, and shrink after age 50. Myself, I've worked with only one programmer who seemed to be over 60, and only a few who seemed to be over 50.

Comments

Posted by: kahnegabs (kahnegabs)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)


I think it's like learning language. According to language acquisition research, Infants/toddlers can pick up several languages at once, and learn to speak them accent free. (Actually, I've seen this happen in my private school experience where each parent spoke different language to their child, and the children learned a new one at school.)

The older a person gets, the more likely any new language he/she learns will be accented. Programming is a kind of language, isn't it? Maybe the same parts of the brain that learn languages is used for programming?

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)

Um...no, not really. A programming language is a lot more formal and mathematical than a human language.

Although that isn't very reassuring, since mathematicians stereotypically stop producing their best work by age 25 or 30. Still, though, the kind of work that dries up is qualitatively different from the kind that's needed for even high-level programming. There are extremely good programmers who can't do, or follow, the sort of mathematical research that gets done in computer science—although they can apply the results.

Posted by: Karen (klwilliams)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)

Does this surprise you? You heard about the suit against Google? Our CTO turned 50 this year, and I heard someone comment that he was the oldest person in the company (a startup).

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
Not surprising

Does this surprise you?

Well, no. But it's depressing to be reminded of it; and the statistics are more concrete than I'd heard before.

You heard about the suit against Google?

Um...<google>...oh, yes, I did read that. OK, now I'm extra disturbed, with Google currently deciding which ITA employees to retain. (I should hear this week.)

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Not surprising

Sounds like a good reason to not maintain a gray, bushy beard.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)

Isn't mrmoosie at a defense contractor? In the article I read about the Google suit, one source quoted said that defense contractors were much less ageist than, say, Internet companies.

(Deleted comment)
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