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This article is incredibly terse and uninformative. Why are older engineers having such a hard time? Are they keeping up with new technologies to remain competitive? What kind of engineering are we even talking about?



The problem of ageism is pretty well documented in engineering, especially software engineering.

I'm in my 40s, and I've been programming my entire career. I'm trying to get into management so as to extend my career into my 50s and 60s. The realities are that I likely won't be able to compete against kids 1/2 to 1/3 my age in the next 15 years, so I need to use my experience to my advantage.

It's too bad because I would rather just program.

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why you think you will not be able to compete? I am similar age and really don't see age as issue if you can do the job. Even money is not something you need to compromise

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To be fair, this post is just rehashing the point that the blogger (Lion of the Blogosphere, formerly known as HalfSigma) has been making for 5+ years now.

He's a Manhattan-based lawyer who really doesn't like software developers, and is constantly warning his readers not to let their kids major in computer science. He cites outsourcing, stagnating wages, lack of long-term career development, and perceived low status as reasons why one should stay away from most things in tech, especially anything that could be conflated with "programming" or "IT" by people outside the tech world.

Then again, he doesn't offer any real alternative advice. It's usually some variation of "be rich and work at a non-profit".

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I witnessed three different engineers in two different companies turned down late in the interview process by upper management due to their age.

Prior to that I ran the technical part of interview and green-lighted the candidates. The problem is real and when it happens, whatever skill set you have is irrelevant.

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Your upper management is playing with fire if the candidates were over forty (at least in the U.S. -- other countries probably vary). That's just as illegal as turning them down because they happened to be female or black.

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I don't think he meant that upper management gave "advanced age" as the written reason for rejection.

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People never talk about age at work. They talk about "graduation date". If you work in recruiting, you have companies asking that question all the time, "What's his graduation date?"

I wonder if there could be a boom, especially with the online options, in mid-40s programmers getting graduate degrees so as to jam the signals. That's what I'll do if I end up facing age discrimination, so long as I can solve the money problem.

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'They talk about "graduation date".'

Good luck with that if someone files a suit.

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Hey, I never said I'm a fan of that behavior. I'm against it.

I feel like being a jerk to older people is just asking karma to kick you in the ass. Except for those who die young, which is a rarity at this point, everyone will get old.

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Sorry. I wasn't directing it at you specifically.

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That doesn't matter, any more than a "gentlemen's agreement" to not hire any black people matters. All it takes is a demonstrable history of rejecting older candidates.

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There can be numerous older employees in HR, maintenance and accounting. Just not engineering..

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This happened with two different companies in Europe.

Of course the age was never a formal reason. There were also other qualified applicants.

One case was borderline as the senior candidate also were asking for a higher salary. However in all cases I heard it mentioned, "isn't he, kind of, old?", and it was pretty clear there'd be no hire.

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Okay. I don't know European law, but in the U.S. it's explicitly illegal.

Ever notice how the flight attendants on U.S. airlines are mostly in their late 30s to 50s nowadays? The airlines learned a very expensive lesson there.

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I doubt it's legal across Europe either. Then again, turning down applicants with foreign-sounding names is illegal also, yet statistically you'd have at least 10:1 chance of getting called for interview with "native" name.

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A lot of companies get away with it here, too, but it's roulette. Settlements can be in the millions.

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