Programmer after 40
I have decided to write this post as my personal situation has changed, and also I read old article at Intel web site. It was in my links to read for months and finally I had some time to read it. And to be honest I was really impressed. I wrote about it also on my polish blog and I was shocked that I get so many comments and visitors. I made some research and I also found this article at Business Insider web site. A lot of thoughts… Well, we can start thinking that IT business it’s some kind of Hollywood, only young people matters…
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I think that age discrimination will grow in average and big companies. In many companies interviews are focused on short list. At the begging it doesn’t matter what do you know. HR people don’t want to meet hundreds of candidates, when they just need to hire one person. They want to make list of candidates short to make it easy to work with it. There’s a vision that in a few years more people could be isolated on the labour marker without any specific reason. Especially it concerns forty years persons. During the interview everything will be fine, even better than younger candidates, but they will not get an offer. There’s no prof, but the age will be the main problem. In small companies it could be different. But in general young people are more flexible, they can be easier force in organization, but not programmer after 40. Please take a look at the this chart published originally at Business Insider website, base on data from Stack Overflow
As you can quantity of programmers after 40 is at 10%. Well, someone can say for example in Poland it’s not so bad… Well, please take a look at another chart from Business Insider.
Well, we are not country of the old people. Especially that right now there are golden days of IT business in Poland, and other countries too… Everybody want to be programmer or in general IT guy, as market is huge, and we can get good salary, employers calls themselves. What else? What can I do to reduce a risk that when I become programmer after 40 I will have a problem to find new job? Do you think that I am overreacting? I am just going to start new job and it seems that I will be oldest person in my department. Well, it’s something new to me!
So what’s all about?
When you read what Robert Kiraly says in the interview we will find there 4 main points which should be accomplished to avoid a problems as programmer after 40.
1. Never get a lover position in your career path.
2. You have to specialize in something
3. Build contacts network
4. Invest in different things
Last three points are obvious to me and I don’t have a problem with them, but I can’t agree with the first one. Right now I make decisions that I will be at lower position than right now – in formal way. And as I made such decision I will have possibility to work in very good company, with great project. You will not get to often possibility to build sharepoint Office 365 from scratch. Roberta Kiraly says that lack of contacts could be biggest mistake ever, and I agree with that. Very often when we are looking for someone for our it department at first point we ask our collogues, as it allow as to reduce risk of bad choice. I am introvert, so I have to work hard to avoid this mistake. And that’s why I believe that someday, if I will have a problem with finding job someone from the community will help me.
Another advice. You have to be prepared to jobs lose. You don’t need to check Monster everyday to find new job. But you have to check it from time to time to know what’s new on the market and if you are able to meet requirements. You have to be responsible and professional at work, but also you should take care about yourself. If you see that company situation has changed don’t wait! Especially if you are programmer after 40. We are older, we have family, credits, etc. We are not flexible as young people are. We need time!
Don’t worry, be happy
And the last point, which is too difficult to understand to some of my colleagues. It’s very important to me, maybe because I was journalism student. My name is my brand. If you don’t understand that you will not achieve your goals or it will more difficult to you. Of course you have to have also skills, but you have to know how to sell yourself. Recently I met programmer during interview, who had huge knowledge, he was much better than me, but he can’t show it. He was thinking that he’s good and I can see it without any help from him. No, I can’t! So many people have great skills, know so many things, but they work for small money, no one appreciate their achievements, and the boss doesn’t care about them. And what he is going to do? Nothing… Please do not understand me wrong, but in most cases if you will wait until your boss will discover your great job you can wait until end of your life. Americans think that if they made something great they can talk around about it. Also you will find a lot of people around you who have a problem, help them! Go to Stack Overflow and help the others. Start blog, go to conference. I think that if you build your own brand strong, someday It could save your life when you will be looking for new job. And maybe programmer after 40 will not be so bad? Good luck.