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There are two perceived problems with hiring older programmers:

1) Older programmers won't put up with bullshit. They expect to have reasonable goals, be listened to, be compensated fairly, and have a reasonable schedule. They've been around the block enough to identify bullshit and will leave when it starts getting too high.

2) Older programmers really don't always understand the "cool" social crap that teenagers are into this year (for good reason--most of it is garbage). Unfortunately, most of what Silicon Valley is interested in is "cool" social crap so that they can get a big buzz and flip the company to Google or Facebook.

Funnily enough, companies that value that silly thing known as "profit" are quite happy to hire older programmers. It's just a function of Silicon Valley not believing in profit that is causing the ageism.

Point 1 == Nail hit firmly on head! I'm 31 and far more streetwise than I was 10/15 years ago. Youngsters tend to get excited quickly and you can make them do all sorts of cool things, working for free, no contracts, perpetual internships etc etc.

It seems everyone these days is a "founder" of something. I own sites that do things these youngsters can't do (Turn a profit) but I've never, not for one moment ever thought I was a founder of something great, just trying to earn a living!

I agree with the companies that believe in profit thing. Once you strip out the happy clappy, social crud employers just want people who can help them turn a profit.

I'm also 31, and I don't think this article is talking about us. I think it's talking about people who are 15-20 years older than us.

I do agree that I am way more experienced, knowledgeable, and have a much more healthy and mature perspective on business and software engineering than I did when I was 22.

It is talking about people with kids and such - you know, 30-40. Basically, you, very shortly, if not already. The article specifically called out people with kids, and pointed out that at the age of 30+ VC starts being skeptical of the chances of backing the founder.

You are a year or two from being 'old' in this mad market.

Then the "problem" should be self correcting assuming the companies which make money survive (which they do), and those which don't focus on making money evaporate (which they do). Or maybe it's not a "problem" if only some companies are doing it, because they value things which the older people don't have interest in, and so the older people self select themselves out by choice.

Is there a list of companies which value profit so the people who complain about the "problem" (from companies most likely to not be around after too long) can go work for them?

I'd check wealthy corporations by this logic, and check whether the average age of programming staff is higher than in SV.

It would certainly match up with my experience in London, where it seemed that a lot of the programmers over the age of 30 were working for large, established finance companies. The age of programmers around the 'Silicon Roundabout' startups tends to skew a lot closer to mid 20s.

It's not going to be self-correcting because - at least for startups - the VC companies providing the funds also believe that older programmers are no good, and companies aren't going to survive very well if they run out of funding. Plus, once companies get past the VC stage, this is likely to be deeply embedded in corporate culture and they'll be at the point where they're established enough that they can do worse than the competition and still succeed.

> Then the "problem" should be self correcting assuming the companies which make money survive (which they do)

This derails in reality because you'll have companies making money but bullshitting their employees to save most of it. You don't need the best of the best programmers to have a shippable product, and even if such a company is only mildly profitable, keeping the profits at the top makes it a good place for stake holders.

B2B software vales profit and only profit. A cursory list:


Yep. The money is in doing boring and useful stuff. Also boring. And very, very boring. But crikey, the money. "Where there's muck, there's brass."

What is this social crap we are talking about? Are you referring to social network applications?

My perception is that there are a lot of apps right now designed to solve the problem of "please make it less awkward for me to meet strangers." Bizarrely, they're converging on the Tinder interaction - just look at their faces and no other information and note whether you approve of them - WHICH IS WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE IN THE BAR ALREADY WITHOUT YOUR PHONE.

"I just committed #code on #master! #yolo!"


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