I have decided to write this post as my personal situation has changed, and also I read an old article on 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 on the Business Insider website. A lot of thoughts… Well, we can start thinking that IT business it’s some kind of Hollywood, only young people matter…
I think that age discrimination will grow in average and big companies. In many companies, interviews are focused on shortlist. In 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 a 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 labor market 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 proof, but age will be the main problem. In small companies, it could be different. But in general young people are more flexible, they can be an easier force in an organization, but not programmers after 40. Please take a look at this chart published originally on the 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 a country of old people. Especially that right now there are golden days of IT business in Poland, and other countries too… Everybody wants to be a programmer or in general IT guy, as the market is huge, and we can get a good salary, employers call themselves. What else? What can I do to reduce the risk that when I become a programmer after 40 I will have a problem finding a new job? Do you think that I am overreacting? I am just going to start a new job and it seems that I will be the oldest person in my department. Well, it’s something new to me!
Programmer after 40. 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 problems as programmers after 40.
1. Never get a lower position in your career path.
2. You have to specialize in something
3. Build contacts network
4. Invest in different things
The 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 in a lower position than right now – informal way. And as I made such decision I will have the possibility to work in very good company, with a great project. You will not get too often the possibility to build SharePoint Office 365 from scratch.
Roberta Kiraly says that lack of contacts could be the biggest mistake ever, and I agree with that. Very often when we are looking for someone for our it department at the first point we ask our colleagues, as it allows us to reduce risk of a bad choice. I am introverted, 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 a job someone from the community will help me.
What are good at?
Another mistake is a lack of specialization. Several years ago we can assume that a great IT guy could know almost everything in IT. Today It’s impossible. I always say now, that if someone says that he knows everything it means that he’s laying! The truth is that we have to make a decision on what will be our main field of experience. The technology world is still changing, and we have followed it. We have still learned new things, and sometimes make decisions and change direction.
Be ready for a change
Another advice. You have to be prepared to jobs lose. You don’t need to check Monster every day to find a 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 of yourself. If you see that the company situation has changed don’t wait! Especially if you are a 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 a journalism student. My name is my brand. If you don’t understand that you will not achieve your goals or it will more difficult for you. Of course, you have to have also skills, but you have to know how to sell yourself. Recently I met a programmer during the 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 appreciates 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 the 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 the conference. I think that if you build your own brand strong, someday It could save your life when you will be looking for a new job. And maybe a programmer after 40 will not be so bad? Good luck.