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Old (40) geek here. I think I have two pennies-worth to share here. I came to the industry at 38. I left real estate development when I couldn't overcome the unemployment history gap in my resume, despite working for KB Home, Toll Brothers and on the largest redevelopment project in Chicago history (Stateway Gardens housing project to Park Boulevard). I was living in the Bay Area at the time I made the transition (finally). I can tell you first hand - the culture fit thing as a means to discriminate is real. I will say that I at least had interviews. Interviewing felt good after not even getting an email for - any - job applied for in real estate. I got a response for - every - job applied for the in Bay (minus FB and Pandora, you guys suck).

After 6 months of interviews in the Bay, I gave up (due to cost) and decided to try another market... less than 6 weeks and I had a job in Charlotte. I had my first iOS role at a startup another 6 months after that. Even after the startup coughed me up (thanks again Zomato), I was able to get another iOS job in a month. I won't mention (any other) names but I can say that the culture fit issue doesn't really exist outside the Bay.

And to any decision makers out there, you are making a mistake if you assume someone like me can't fit on a team of 18-30 y/o. I fit in so well, in fact, that almost all of my new connections on LinkedIn are these same 18-30 y/o. I have made more friends with interns than I did when I was the age to intern. And my 20 year-old friends have no fear in making fun of my age just as I have no fear in making fun of theirs. We even talk sH$@! about race (oh yeah, I'm also black).

The experience has been awesome for me as well as them (I believe). So, the next time you have a chance to hire an old dev who just wants to be a fu$!@E~!! DEV - just hire her.




What a great story. Also, I believe that geek fellows here and HNers shouldn't be concerned about switching jobs, as they're immersed in this industry all over their heads. It's folks who do coding just for living and don't really want to invest in new technologies, or have early stopped trying out new things that might have more issues finding new prospects.


The millionth edition of the "if you keep up with tech you can't have a problem, if you have a problem, that's because you stick with Fortran". It is still not true.

People who share complaints here, on Reddit or on more or less similar places, do indeed keep up in general and always have personal interest in tech. But that isn't a magic bullet. They'd have better chances if they had stuck with COBOL, for example.

Go tell that to a recruiter... most don't care about what you toy with; they generally don't even have the slightest idea of what it may be. They just care about what you've been doing at your previous company, if it sounds like the position they have to fill, if the title of the gigs looks good, if the company name looks good or if at least they've heard its name before, and that's all. You are not given a chance to explain the interests you have and side skills you may have developed, it would be all Greek to them anyway and they do not value non-professional experience. Admittedly, I am not talking about California here.


Thanks. I got into the industry with the expectation that I would launch a startup. Yet, I starting really writing code and decided that I wanted to do something really novel and killed my original real estate domain related ideas. Once you learn to write code you realize how weak your ideas really are. Since I love coding so much, I don't mind improving as a dev because novelty and quality my ideas seem to be improving as well. My experience is unusual but I encourage anyone I met to try it because you never know if software development might change your life's trajectory.


How did younger started? Did you go back to school or use online resources etc?

I'm really interested in hearing more of your story.


> I fit in so well, in fact, that almost all of my new connections on LinkedIn are these same 18-30 y/o.

Yeah, almost all of my connections are people I worked with too. ;)

I wonder if it makes any difference being > ~40 years old but having less experience. Instead of trying to walk in and be the ultra senior person, you just walk and do the job of a mid level dev.


I would go further and say the culture fit thing is pretty much only for discrimination. It's what you say when you don't like the person but don't want to admit they can do the job. These days, if I talked to a coworker about a candidate and they gave me that line I would be I very suspicious.

The only thing that matters is if the candidate can do the job and get along with people. Everyone talking about "would I want to have a beer with this person" can fuck off.

I have seen the culture fit thing outside the bay, though.




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