I am constantly pestered by recruiters and companies to interview. I think one of the things that helps is that I trimmed my resume to omit material older than 5 years, removed unnecessary dates, and I make a point of drawing attention to studying for new industry certifications. It probably doesn't hurt that I stay physically fit, either. As cruel as it may be, if you're out of shape and look "frumpy" or "run down," that will count against you far, far worse than your age.
The key is to make the age factor irrelevant by not drawing unnecessary attention to it or by projecting a stereotypical "middle aged" image. We can argue all day about whether that's fair or not (it's not), but you have to do what you have to do.
This situation sucks, and it seems to be getting worse. Or maybe it's always been bad and it's finally been brought to light.
If you've spent the last 10-15 years writing code every day you can review your data structures course book before an interview and do better than most fresh graduates.
Ageism is real I know lots of people >40 and >50 who hold good jobs and are also able to get good jobs if they end up being laid off for some reason. But then there are also people in their twenties who have a difficult time getting a good job for whatever reason. There are lots of factors.
* As far as I remember it was in Coders at Work (very good book btw)
Yeah, it's very possible that Google doesn't know how to interview. I don't think it's a solved problem anywhere in the industry -- teams just do what seems to work for them, with lots of false positives and negatives.
You can still go on about how there is a keydown/keyup event, DNS lookups, safe-browsing lookups (Google, Firefox), cache hits or not, GPU redraws, etc etc.
It's a question for asking how much you know about which bits are flipped when anything happens. You can literally pick any bit of the pipeline and riff about it. Assuming that is you know about them.
In another comment here I mentioned an older co-worker who is retraining to front-end developer, but he was Dutch champion marathon skating a couple of years ago, so he is absolutely fit (if a bit wrinkly).
But somehow selecting for appearance and fitness for a programming job is even weirder than selecting for age.
But I have known very amazing programmers who are not so fit though. So I guess its not a very good idea to discriminate based on appearance.
I am still in my early 30's but this really resonated me. All my life I have been conditioned to think that character, experience and expertise is what matters.
But the reality is that people will form impressions of you by they first 5 seconds they meet you.
If I look at the engineers that we hired based on recruitment and CVs alone, they are all young, in-shape, and attractive.
This is something everyone should probably learn early on. Or at least be mentally prepared to overcome a bad first impression (which is much harder!).
The people who find candidates to interview are not the same people as the managers who decide who to hire. The fact you're getting lots of recruiters chasing you just means recruiters don't discriminate on your age; it says nothing about the hiring managers.
Perhaps this means that as a 40+ year old developer, you're more likely to get a job if you go through a recruiter, as opposed to sending your resume off on your own?
My spam folder says otherwise. There are still enough bad recruiters out there (or bad recruiter spam-bots) hitting me up for positions that don't remotely match any skills I've ever listed anywhere. Not worth my time.
As someone who gets sent candidates by recruiters, I don't think this is true.
Humans are tribal. For better or worse, we are attracted to those most like ourselves. All other things being mostly equal, we'll pick the person like us.
Put another way, people with experience usually like to flaunt it. No one wants to hire and over-used asshole.
Does this mean you only apply for jobs wanting 5 years experience?
With age comes maturity. It's allowed me to get along better with my co-workers (so many upper 20s, lower 30s tend to be a bit... hot headed) and I'm not afraid to negotiate. The older I've gotten, the more comfortable in my skin and in my skill set I've become.
If there's ageism I've yet to experience it and I've worked with people well in their 50s doing mobile. It comes down to who you're working for, what your skill set is, timing and, in my opinion, health. You've got to stay healthy and look healthy! Also, I tend to prune my resume, no one wants to see your experience 8+ years ago.
Or maybe it's all luck, ask me in five years what I think when Objc/Swift goes the way of PHP, I might be singing a different tune.
To me they are like most people in IT/Software who work there, because no other type of job will have this kind of salary or flexibility.
Can you talk a bit more about that? Do you only list your latest 5 years of professional experience?
I'm seeing similarly high rates for contract iOS worth (1-year contracts in the $200-250k range, in a city most folks on HN have never heard of). Is it worth trying to transition from C# where the cap seems to be in the $120-130k range?
Is this an employee salary or contracting/consulting income?
It's tempting to work in start ups. They are far more exciting, they can have an easier barrier of entry and, coming from the start up gaming industry that I was involved with when the App Store was only a couple months old (this means I'm pushing ~8 years of iOS experience), I worked my tail off. In three years I and our team released over 13 games and applications. In the five years I've been in fortune 100s we've released at best one and tend to keep the company's very first application, usually about six years old, written by a ruby dev interested in mobile, alive. It's not super interesting work but it pays well. That's where you have to draw the line. In another year or so I would leap at an opportunity to take a 100k pay cut and go back working for a start up... but am I going to keep 35-40 hour weeks? Rotating Fridays? Unlimited vacation that you actually have time to take? I suspect not and that's what makes me nervous about looking for work outside the big companies.
So you have to keep it interesting. I make games on the side and take deep dives into algorithms and concepts. I actually nailed my interview where I'm at now because of an article about Levenshtein distances on this site. I wrote it out in swift, understood it the best one can in a day. Turned out to be a great answer for the technical interview I had a week later!
I can say that I live in an area closer to the rural mid-west than NYC, and we consistently see 1-year contract rates for iOS developers in the low $200's, up to $280-300k if you have 8+ years of relevant domain experience (again 1-year contracts). If sandoze is consulting $200k is 100% reasonable. If they're a full-time employee, $200k is pretty high but definitely possible with their experience.
Many 40+ year olds have families or other life obligations outside of work, and thus they may not be as willing to put in absurd hours that a young employee could be squeezed for. The older employee also might be more likely to take weekends off, and want to use vacation time.
Additionally, someone over 40 is supposed to be in or near their peak earning years, which lasts ten to twenty more years (or did historically anyway) so their expenditure is going to be significantly more than someone with a few years of experience.
I realize it's one of the lamest analogies possible, but for many companies, employees are quite literally a cog in a larger machine, and so they want the cheapest possible cog at a reasonable quality level that works the longest before breaking down (quitting, getting fired, burning out, etc).
To fight this, I'd bet those over 40 would have to aim to get into important management and executive positions, which are less likely to be swapped out for less experienced, less demanding, and cheaper labor.
Why is this a (seemingly) common belief? It seems backwards to me. I had a lot more obligations outside of work in my 20's and 30's when my kids were young than after 40. I'm in my early 50's, and I have more free time now than ever.
I personally know tons of people in their late 30s and early 40s having their first child, or maybe their second.
It's just not very common to want a family before 30.
We pay 25-30 year olds $100-140+k and call then "senior" in this industry. Unless 40 year olds are asking for $200k+ in non-specialised roles, I doubt companies can't afford them.
My hunch as to why they are getting filtered out is that people think 40+ year olds are out of touch with whatever the 20-30 year old programmers are doing and thus less skilled/able to contribute ASAP. Also there's a weird stigma for people in their 40s+ still programming (as opposed to managing/some high level position) unless they're in some world expert role at Google/Facebook/etc.
BTW, in many other upper middle class jobs, you speak in your early 50s or late 40s. Very different from tech indeed!
I'm late 50's and write code 7 days a week. I guess I'm in deep doo-doo :-)
> unless they're in some world expert role at Google/Facebook/etc.
People who hire for A-players or who hold top level position in big companies, politics etc understand there is no paradox in being old people holding top ranks saying we need young blood all across organization.
If we go one step further, it's the result of society allowing them to "optimize for maximum productivity at the lowest possible cost to them" all other things (product quality, workplace safety, agism, sexism, environment, health safety, etc) be damned.
Addition: I think shareholders, and the shift of moral and motive center from a person or board to an blob of people is one of the worst structures that's allowing for the above.
Plus, making $100k/year but working 12+ hours day is worse than what just doing the division would show (that it amounts to $67/year of 8-day work) because the toll of those extra hours on personal life, health, family, personal development, opportunity cost, side business etc is not linear.
As if that's all of them.
Not to mention the ones that are working absolutely insane hours.
This is exactly what makes them valuable. They refuse to get sucked into the burnout dynamic.
This article is from Sweden. Note that the environment and expectations are wildly different in Sweden than in e.g. the US.
I am pushing 40 and I have yet to make a 50h week. Sice I had kids 6 years ago I haven't even made a 40h week.
Obviously a few tiny startups would need the 25yo type developers to work around the clock, but those employers are so rare and so small that it should not make a difference in the statistics.
The funniest interview I had was with some blonde girl in her twenties, who read through my CV and said: "Oh, you see. We cannot send your application to our client. You see, here I have hundred of applications from people at your age, who are managers in their thirties, and you are not. There is most probably something wrong with you." And it was a position for a programmer, not a manager.
And it was when I was in my early thirties, not forties.
Currently, I'm almost 40, and I seek only for remote work (family issues). I have been paid for programming for the last 14 years. I had different jobs like sysadmin, dba, programmer; using over 10 different languages.
And despite all that searching for work is really hard. Usually, it stops at the recruiter who is only interested in an answer to "how much do you want to get?". After that, there is no counter offer, no negotiation, nothing. Sometimes there is an answer like "you want too much, but don't negotiate at this recruitment step".
When I get to the technical part of the interview, I usually get some Yeti-Level programs to write. Yeti-Level, because you are not going to write anything like that in those time restrictions in that jobs. A good example is implementing a program which gets input from a file, in the input, there are domino tiles, and a function needs to match them and find the longest chain... all must be super optimized from the beginning. And you have 5-10 minutes to do everything, including reading the task description, examples and writing tests.
The funny fact is that this company is searching for candidates for months. The sad fact is that due to such strange recruitment process, good old experienced programmers will starve.
I really think that I did very bad choice with my career. There are so many other jobs where people are not removed because of age, and experience is really appreciated. In IT you just need to accept that companies want young inexperienced kids, who want to get little figures, but a game room is a must.
One of my co-workers at my current project is 47 and just learning front-end development after a career as system administrator. So they're certainly not doubting his ability to learn.
> The funny fact is that this company is searching for candidates for months.
If they can't find anyone while rejecting perfectly valid candidates, the problem is absolutely their own choice. They are clearly idiots. Sucks for you of course if all companies in your vicinity are like that.
Which area of the country is this?
edit: oh. Based on other comments, you're a freelancer. What companies want in a freelancer/consultant are wildly different from what companies want in a full time salaried dev.
edit2: And you live and work in Amsterdam. I hear the european job markets do indeed value experience. The American job market doesn't.
They do want 16 years of experience, but only if they can pay you a mid-level salary/rate...
 Mid-level -> 5-8-years of experience
Sadly, I have come to a similar conclusion: tech is a great way to earn money early (because the wages rise quickly), but the ceiling hits early and is quite hard to break through. Use those early years to save up money, then switch to something else.
Shit, that has been the BEST decision I have even made. This guy has been helping us mature in our processes and the way we do things. Before him, we were just kiddos playing the technology startup game. We knew what we were doing, but we had no idea of how a big company did things.
What 40+ people can give you is a really huge amount of experience. These guys have seen things and the majority of problems are not new for them. I am myself in 35, and still consider myself kind of a noob in a lot of real life development processes.
Contract work has interested me since then, but it looks like a real hard slog to get good income.
I think that the secret ingredients are this:
- Open source projects (the more GitHub stars, the better).
- Tech blog (the more followers, the better).
- Experience working for at least one hot Silicon Valley startup.
- Experience working for at least one large corporation.
- Momentum: Proof that your career has been going upwards recently, not downwards or stagnating.
If you're older, they may also want:
- Proof that you're adaptable and open to criticism.
Unfortunately, it's extremely competitive and companies are obsessed with getting "The best" and they will not admit to themselves that they don't actually know what that means.
What other professions do this? Do accountants need to do pro-bono work in their spare time to be hireable? Do lawyers just sue people for fun and blog about it?
Unfortunately this isn't really unexpected. Between inexperienced kids with nothing to lose, ambitious graduates with strong short term experience, and experienced programmers specializing in one area it's hard to be competitive solely based on experience. The programming profession is very "free", but that also means you have to manage your own career and make sure that you're "selling" something that is relevant for the "buyer".
From an industry perspective the blondy is right. When you're in your mid-thirties you're expected to either to progress in your career to a role with greater responsibility, have an established career at larger companies or sell your services on the open market as a consultant/freelancer. Basically something that is using your experience. Anything else might not only not be competitive, but also a red flag.
This doesn't mean you aren't eligible for a job, just that it will be harder to find one.
(And I know that all this might sound arrogant which is why people won't really tell people how it is)
Btw. going this way it looks like everybody in their thirties should be a leader. Who are they going to lead then? If we have a team of 10 great programmers, one will be a manager or a team leader... does it mean the rest will never find a new job because of that?
And side projects... a family, kids, jobs, and side projects - choose three of them unless you forget about sleeping.
"Hey, I'm a great surgeon, I love my job, in my free time I make operations on other people for free, I don't sleep, but here you have documentation of my free work. And no, I'm not going to work for you for free. And yes, I'm going to work for free after work. Oh, you ask about my kids. Who cares, I have my free work to do".
Why can't you use your experience to actually be a GOOD developper? Why do you have to manage or consult something?
Would you say the same thing to e.g. a surgeon?
And most companies only have 3-4 levels of developer before you start leading teams, mentoring, etc. Even those that specifically have architecture tracks where you can do more senior-level technical work without any management or teaching overhead will only have a few of those positions as well.
Stagnation is death, and maintaining the same position for a decade is a pretty good definition of stagnation.
That's like saying that you should divorce every few years because otherwise you seem like a bad husband... Rich people and prominents do it all the time, after all.
That's a red flag!
My wife (blonde) frequently gets talked down to by people who make assumptions about her intelligence.
Unfortunately, I cannot edit my first comment.
I had encountered, from time to time, a certain category of recruiters who seemed to be hunting for brogrammers. The type looking for passionate ninja rockstar hackers to work for free beer, free food, and night life in an exciting high-energy startup. These recruiters just also happened to be young blonde women in low-cut tops who were rather overplaying their ditziness. They also preferred video conference to phone calls.
My assumption is this was all quite engineered to hit their mark.
This is why I decided to start my own company again after 4 1/2 years at Square which was probably the last time I ever would be working for someone else.
This way age becomes an asset rather than a liability.
I've also been pretty fortunate to always have interesting stuff to work on while getting paid very well and always have options. People I've worked with would generally work with me again and/or want to hire me.
This is exactly the sort of thing they make better.
Seriously. Unions have been pretty violent for well over a century, as labor struggles have circulated the force of shockwaves created by obstinate dysfunction on both sides, but because of this, a collective memory of known quantities had built up.
Now, in a sudden bout of amnesia, certain mistakes are primed to repeat themselves. Others not so much, but how to guess which errors boil over first, and why, without understanding the roots of each problem?
Technology and any related social change will augment outcomes, but not always in a good way. On the one hand technology empowers mobility and learning, on the other hand, eavesdropping and misinformation.
A union won't make a company hire you. Whatever power union has, it comes after signing on the dotted line, so that particular problem would not be solved by a union.
Unlike police or muni drivers or Detroit auto works, programmers are among the most frequent job changers.
Other than Hollywood unions (where main benefit, as far as I can tell, is ensuring that you don't get taken advantage of too much at the low end thanks to minimum wages etc.) is there any example of a union for a profession where you change your employer every 2-3 years?
I know a few construction workers who essentially work for the union. A contractor will get a job, and they'll contact the different unions and say they need people to get it done.
An employer I used to work for found this out the hard way when word got out that they had hired a non-union carpenter to do some custom cabinetry on an office build out (he was an expert craftsman who was not cheap, so it wasn't done for cost savings).
Suddenly it got very hard to find workers to finish the electrical and plumbing work.
That is the whole point... a worker's only leverage is to withhold labour. As an individual that is insignificant but en masse...
Also unlike police or muni drivers, if the union makes it too expensive to continue to pay your wages and work within the constraints of the union contract, the company will either outsource your job somewhere cheaper, or it will go out of business and be replaced by a company with cheaper workers.
Detroit Auto Workers found this out when the Big Three decentralized and moved jobs out of Detroit and they were under intense competition with foreign car makers.
Actually a union can very well push for changed attitudes and laws regarding age discrimination.
Because things were good enough and a generation after Unions became a thing, people got complacent.
It is up to us to keep them being relevant to take care of our rights.
It isn't a perfect approach, but it makes it more difficult to discriminate since by the time you have a face-to-face interview with the employer you are already well along in the interview process.
"In lieu of the current situation, is it not advisable to simply not give the date of graduation and only provide the previous 5-10 years of work experience on resume?"
It seems like the point is you might be better off not listing university years or more than 5 years of experience, so your age cannot be inferred before they talk to you. Of course, 90% of people will have social media accounts that will make this useless if the employer tries hard enough.
Graduated 5 years ago. Didn't list any experience longer than 10 years ago because I didn't want anyone to think I was actually going to do Java and PHP every in my life.
Age: almost 40.
Thinking about doing a master and hiding my bachelor once I have it, it'll probably help ;)
Doesn't matter since when they'll interview you they'll find out you're not 20something -- unless you have exceptional genes.
Not to mention a few Google or FB searches and they'll not only have your age, but more than the FBI had on a target citizen in the days of Hoover.
Not trying to be in denial, but all these jobs appear to be blue collar jobs (assuming "administrators" is office admins and not Sys Admins / Network Admins :) .
Any data on whether this happens in our Tech / I.T. Industry, where every other month, you read a story on severe shortage of skilled tech workers everywhere?
In my 20 year IT career -- and I've worked mostly in tech/finance in the NYC area -- the only downturns I noticed were during the most extreme financial crisis, such as the dot com bubble (2001 -- I was at an internet startup) and the housing crash (2008 - I was at Merrill). Most of my buddies in my age group are doing quite well. Even those non-technical folks who used to complain about the age discrimination two decades when they were in their 20's, are now employed in semi-technical jobs.
Now, I'm pretty sure that the age discrimination is real in other industries, but it's still quite difficult to find qualified, experienced candidates in IT, regardless of age.
I've always been quite impressed by the writing in Primer. The dialogue is a massive departure from the clean world of Hollywood but it makes it feel far more frantic but also real.
Part of the challenge of getting a new job after 40 is deciding whether it really matters whether you're making the same or more $$ in the next job or not. Many people are unwilling to take a pay cut when they have 20 years of experience, even though the job only requires 5.
Challenge is to prove it.
We have 3 developers all nearly or over 40 cleaning up the mess done by someone who appears to have been in his early 20's. The system works, but it could have been done with a fraction of the complexity.
All the programming I've done for the last couple of years has been for personal projects. My actual job is in an Amazon fulfillment center, though.
-if you don't have any current leads, ask around. Colleagues, family, friends, people you know. Just get the word out so next time a relevant topic comes up in a conversation you're the first on their mind. Also get a profile on freelancing sites.
- Don't compete on price. Offer solutions not services.
- Make a portfolio of your projects, even personal ones and talk about your role in those projects, goals, outcomes etc.
- listen to freelancers podcasts - art of value is a good one.
- get to know people in complementary fields like designers. Your source of leads could be from a business, an agency or a designer.. even copy writers.
- start on a paid gig. Personal projects are alright but developers need paid gigs in their portfolios.
- start now, somewhere, anywhere. Some people never start.
If you are beyond these tips already, great. If not, wish you the best of luck!
As a hypothetical employer I might think these roles are lesser roles, so if you are older I would wonder why you had not been able to secure a greater economic situation.
Second, as consumer facing roles, attractiveness is a benefit, with those over 40 having less of it. It is not discrimination on the basis of age, but attractiveness that would be the cause.
The worst part about this is that it's somewhat rooted in truth in a lot of cases - but it shouldn't be a preclusion to an interview at least. I try to view things as objectively as possible and give objective examinations to avoid this kind of bias.
With consumer-facing roles, I think that is an acceptable bias to have. After all, the courts have ruled that Hooters can discriminate on basis of gender for their consumer facing roles (not back end such as chefs though). For joe schmoe engineer that only writes code and rarely/never talks to the end user though there is no excuse.
I'd argue not. Hooters - and modeling agencies, nudie bars, and so on - actually have a business based on how their employees look. Stores, offices, and so on? The truth is that it doesn't matter. Unlike Hooters, they wouldn't lose a large base of their customers.
Another talking point: the trend of waiting until late 30's to have kids greatly compounds this problem.
I've changed jobs three times since I was 40, but in all cases I knew people at my new employer who could sell me internally.
I don't think it's so much age as it is that employers don't want to take as much risk on an unknown person for more senior level positions.
I noticed you mentioned LinkedIn in another thread. FWIW I don't have an account and it didn't appear to hurt me.
Open question - is there any research on to what degree these three worries are true?
There's some cognitive decline, but it tends to start after 25 or so, and it's mostly associated with slowed speed per se rather than learning ability. There's also some controversy in that the declines might be associated with serious health conditions, that are associated with age, rather than age per se.
The other things you mention either stay the same or increase with age, which strikes people as kind of counter-intuitive, which speaks to stereotypes people have.
Job applications generally don't and possibly can't ask about age, but it's a required field on applications for YC or other incubators.
Personally I would strongly prefer that resume's I review were anonymized and all hints that might bias me were removed before any decisionmaker see's them or they are filtered. This could help more women and minorities get a foothold at that step in the process (I mean generally, not with me specifically).
However, while relatively simple censoring of resumes would remove some bias from review, such as race (can often be hinted at by the name or university attended), gender, etc, and it would prevent googling of the person's name, age is extremely hard to hide. You can see a person's job history, which is generally will tell you their age within +-5 years. One partial solution might be to only list job history for the previous 10 years and remove the year a degree was earned, but relative seniority at the beginning of that 10 year work history will still be a very effective proxy for determining age.
So, unfortunately I think we can't hide age in an effective way without removing critical information from a resume (removing everything else we can that can be removed should be removed or hidden), but I think it's interesting to speculate on why older workers will be filtered out. I suspect it is a belief (or intuition aka unconscious belief) that someone applying for junior or entry level positions when they are > 40yo is correlated with 'something being wrong', since if there is nothing wrong you would have expected them to have reached a point in their career that they no longer have to blindly submit resumes for these kinds of positions.
I wonder what would happen in a study like this if the resume's representing older hypothetical candidates included some kind of cover letter explaining the situation. For example, saying that they started out working at a bank for 15 years but they found a passion for cooking and that is why they only have 5 years of experience as a chef. My guess would be that not only would this undo the bias against them, but you would find a strong bias towards them (just a guess).
Might this be a clue?
Any job application which is in the reaches of an automated process must be a joke endpoint. How many other automated applications do they get selling employee skills, sex, penis enlargement pills, fast loans, malware and other trash.
Disclosing information should be the first "BS" smell for a job. I'm often well into getting work done before the person I'm working with figures out how old I am, where I live or other personal details. Granted, that's freelancing.
I live in the Philippines where the age requirements are actually advertised. And these ages seem pulled out of a hat. And I get the sense that people running the show at all levels couldn't tell their asses from a hole in the ground. It's a pleasant surprise to find someone who seems competent at convincing you that there's some purpose for them taking up a spot at that spot or role they are taking up in a serious time commitment out of their life.
Clearly the hiring process is just as broken as everything else. Why expect that hiring is going to be significantly more awesome than the rest of the system?
Don't interact with machines. Get to know real people. Show people what you can do. Preferably find people who tell you they could use your help rather than you telling them that you need a job. ;)
That said, there are qualifications and there's "fit." The more experience you have, the stronger the signal on what you might (or might not) enjoy.
For example, if you're 40+ and most your resume says startup, do you really expect a blue chip international to be interested in you? Do you really want them to be? Sure, maybe YOU really need a job. But history probably shows you'll leave as soon as you can land another startup opportunity.
Again, not doubt there's bias in the hiring process. But bias can have a purpose. And sometimes you have to live with the depth and breadth of your CV.
I don't think this works as an explanation.
If they cared about cheap, they'd be willing to take on tradeoffs like communication overhead with satellite offices in low COL areas, potentially increased risk of a bad hire by making the interview pass rates higher, etc.
Even if you want a particular engineer very badly and money is no object, you're going to offer just enough to beat his next best offer. You're not going to 10x it. That would be waste.
Also, cheap is relative. $120k/year sounds like a lot, and it is a lot. But relative to the value provided it's pretty small. Also, these companies work together to suppress wages. It helps that so many willingly play the "work for free" game by contributing to these companies' open source code with no compensation. Workers in SV are cheaper than their salaries make it appear.
I suspect the upper management really doesn't want to move because they already have nice spots in SV.
The median income in San Francisco is $78k. The 25th percentile is $141k. To be in the 10%, you need $238k.
In some major metros, $120k is struggling to pay the rent on an okayish family-sized apartment in a below-average school district with an hour-plus public transit commute, with homeownership maybe creeping into the realm of possibility by making extreme sacrifices to save for 15-20 years for a down payment.
So yes, barely middle class.
But even a sacrifice of 100% of my discretionary income wouldn't put homeownership or childrearing (extra bedroom + good school district or private tuition) within reach. Certainly not both. Maybe I'll get to pick one on this salary if I ever see liquidity on my equity, but really I'm holding out for making a much higher salary in 10-20 years.
It's a fun thing to do with my early 20s. But I understand the presumption that a middle-aged man would not take this salary, as it'd be pretty damn difficult to rent more than a studio. Even the studio is extravagant: several of my peers of similar age have roommates. A family is certainly below middle class if it has to share an apartment with other families.
Then it sounds like your salary is great.
> But even a sacrifice of 100% of my discretionary income wouldn't put homeownership or childrearing (extra bedroom + good school district or private tuition) within reach.
Middle class doesn't mean you get all that without effort. You have to budget, you have to shop around for the right neighborhood, you may not have the option of spending money on a whim, your partner may need to find a job, but $120,000 is more than enough to buy a great home in a good neighborhood, it just won't be one in the heart of the city.
> Even the studio is extravagant: several of my peers of similar age have roommates
Right ... you're living in an expensive studio apartment in the city, you have to move when you want to start a family unless you're making much more money than a typical senior level engineer.
What? Let's suppose I could save $1,000/mo over 10 years, giving me a $120k down payment. (After retirement savings and $3k rent, this would leave me about $1000/mo in discretionary spending, including groceries).
The figure that maxes out a debt-to-income of .36 is $3526/mo, corresponding to a home value of around $640k.
For two bedrooms, that's a fixer-upper far from transit in a bad part of any East Bay BART stop town. And that's today: run the last 10 years of increases out another 10 years.
You're making my argument for me: $120k is "you can't afford to live there" territory, i.e. barely if even middle class, for the vast majority of software engineering jobs that would pay it to junior engineers.
Therefore it's reasonable to think middle-aged engineers would not take it, and that it would be a waste of time to interview them if that's your salary ceiling.
Of course $120k is great money and $640k is a great house in some places. These are not the same places where junior engineer salary ~ senior engineer salary ~ anywhere near $120k. They would pay more like $60k to the junior and $80k to the senior.
These jobs are all over the country, that's just a fact, even excluding remote positions.
> The context of this thread is paying senior engineers the same as juniors, around $120k, which implies an expensive coastal city.
I never said anything about juniors, I said that seniors often make around $120k already and at some point there are diminishing returns on the business value of seniority for engineers. If my company is paying the senior engineering staff around $120k/ea why would we then pay a new-hire $180k because they have 25 years of experience when they likely produce work of a similar quality to our engineers with 15 years. I'd be much better off hiring a new engineer at $120k and using the difference to provide raises to my core engineering team that hold onto critical business process experience. Of course, exceptional candidates can command an exceptional salary, but they're the exception by definition.
$120k seems unrealistically above market, even for a seasoned old pro, in such places. Am I off base?
Of course if you're paying it there, then it's an extremely lucrative gig. But as far as I can tell, there are maybe a few hundred such positions in the country.
Of course I'd love to make $120k from somewhere that buys a nice house. That is, far as I can tell, not an option. I can save while living in a high COL city and then buy a house for cash in a low COL city, but I'd still need a job to pay property taxes/groceries/transportation. In cheap areas, the pickings are slim.
NYC and SF are also notable outliers, and aren't representative of 'any major metropolitan areas'.
During the teenager years, (if) the business is still profitable and hasn't bankrupt itself the business owner start noticing the need for formal operation procedure manuals. They've either felt the pain of the lose of key developer and or customer and they to secure their position within the market place. Typically this is where in one form or another organisation charts come into existence and more formal documentation and processes start. Either in this time/frame you have HR/Sales/Support starting to take form.
During the maturity years, most of the teenager years of formalizing and documentation of procedures manual is in full swing. You have well defined organisation charts with formal processes to follow and legal department to sign off on new contracts. You have the existence of Managers of each department to coordinate the necessary sales goals, and marketing goal for the business.
In each of the three different phase you have cultural shifts. From young and dream focused. Then the shift during teenage years of reigning in the younger attitudes and formal processes. Then finally to the maturing phase where for better or worse a more mechanical and empirical processes of doing business.
Do I think I will fit into a young crowed who have absolutely no social circles outside of work in their 20's now? The answer is no. Do I get approached by startup's to start some new fancy facebook clone every 2-3 weeks? The answer is 'yes' but I decline their offer's.
Care to provide examples? Also I've never heard of engineers being interviewed on ethic principles.
I'm fairly sure those criteria are all illegal, at least in most U.S. states if not at the federal level.
Also, it's a huge leap to say that discrimination is motivated by profits. I have no idea how you worked that one out.
This is why I decided to start my own company again after 4 1/2 years at Square.