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I'm about to turn 53. I spend most of my day coaching younger programmers at Facebook (because they're almost all younger). We pair program and talk. I work on speculative projects, some consumer-oriented, some programming tools and some infrastructure. I also research software design and the diffusion of innovation.

I took a 10 year excursion into being a guru, but I'm technical now and intend to stay that way. I love programming. I've never been a manager. I suppose that capped my pay, but I'd rather be satisfied with my work. I haven't noticed a pay drop with age, but my experience may not be typical.

The most important factor for me has been to keep coding. It gets harder. I have noticed a definite drop in my long-term memory, concentration, and general cognition, but I compensate by being better at picking important problems, being able to pattern match a large library of experiences, and not panicking. As Miracle Max said, I've seen worse.

I started learning Haskell a couple of years ago, and that has really helped expand my programming style. I still don't like it, but it's good for me. I'm also learning React and the reactive style of coding UIs. That's also a brain stretcher.

It also helps that you're Kent Beck :)


> I spend most of my day coaching younger programmers at Facebook

Love this. The whole "small team in a big company" thing is great until you realize there's nobody to coach you.

I'm 38 -- your notes on memory are interesting. I use Anki spaced-repetition software to retain less-often-used technical minutiae.

I'm also transitioning to using it to integrate new knowledge. Clip to Evernote. Create flash-cards in Anki, and practice on my commute.

What kind of "technical minutiae" do you put in your Anki deck? I use Anki for Japanese study, but I've been thinking about doing more with it. Wasn't quite sure how to make useful tech flashcards... outside of memorizing as many powers of 2 as I could :)

Snippets from Python module docs. Objective-C APIs.

Basically, anything that I have to look up on StackOverflow.

E.g. os.path.relpath, -[NSString valueWithPointer:], -[NSString substringFromIndex:].

My loose heuristic is if I claim to be an X programmer, and some douche calls me out on an API call for language X in an interview, would I feel embarrassed saying I usually just look that up on Stack Overflow.

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