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Ask HN: Developers above 35 – what are you doing?
24 points by taylorlapeyre on Oct 9, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments
On my last internship in San Francisco, almost every single person that I saw at the companies I visited, etc seemed to be under the age of 40. So developers that are close to or above that age, where are you now? What is your job title?

I'm 36, doing Python, JavaScript, and DevOps consulting for start-ups, Fortune 500's, NGOs, and Federal Agencies in 4 countries.

A couple tips to ensure your ongoing success in the market:

1) Continuously invest in your skills 2) Constantly improve your storytelling and communication skills 3) Network relentlessly. Make it habitual. Follow up. Care. 4) Be fanatical about taking care of your clients 5) Nourish your sense of curiosity about technology. Eliminate toxic projects or jobs which feel like they are burning you out. 6) Have a value proposition beyond "I can write code". Develop some domain/industry-specific expertise.

For each of the above, apply the 10X Rule. Execute at a level of 10 times the effort that you originally think you'll need.

37, leaving previous startup (sold 2 years ago) on Friday, starting next on on Monday. This'll be #6. I code.

42 happily being a grunt dev (front/back in web) ... after being consultant, project manager, my own boss, sysadmin and failing quite some times.

I sometimes wish to do something real for improving humanity well being, but all my attempts failed so far :)

I am telling people that if you want to make money, you should avoid competitive fields and since crisis is there, and devs are still excessively well paid, it gives an incentive for all kind of people tied by whatever pressure (social, debts, financial) to become a coder to make money fast, and for bosses to put more pressure.

If things worsen, I think I am gonna try to propose the funding of my own sect on kickstarter (rael is my model), or coin the term factorer instead of developer which purpose would be to decrease the costs of having stupidly non reliable/deterministic technologies (mongoDB, hadoop, cloud, systemd, USB, oauth2) and excessive costs (big data that are useless for making money, the costs of cloud that are non linear thus non predictable...) to bring back some sanity to this world and more money to the workers really add values to our existence. Or maybe, just stay what I am : a troll :)

Speaking for my mom, she's switched a few jobs in the past few months, after a stretch of about 10 years at the same government contracting company. She's a ColdFusion developer by training, and even though there seems to be constant demand for CF developers, she feels frustrated that she can't pivot out and work on new things as much as she wants. She's been asking me recently things like, "What's node.js?" and "What's angular?" She takes notes on what I say, does her research, and tries to pull it off in job interviews.

I think what she views as optimal now is finding a job that will let her explore any new technology. She got excited about an opportunity with the .NET stack, until they lowballed her with an offer about half of what she's currently making (developing a same-old jQuery website).

She's getting calls from recruiters every day, so it's surprising to me she's having such a hard time finding the right job for her. Also she doesn't think she's competitive with the younger crowd, so she's not even looking at certain jobs on the West Coast.

More than 35. Actually more than 35 years in the business. Work in Software Security day, a startup in the evenings/weekends. There is not a day that goes by that I don't program. Job title is Chief Head Prod, owner.

They don't give out equity in LA for most of my career and the equity I did get got destroyed by dot bomb so I seem to be damned to work 20 hours a day until I drop dead at 45.

38. Senior Software Engineer in Seattle. Writing Scala code to do realtime analysis of voice calls (we also analyze voice recordings). Team is probably all over 30 (I've never asked).

Previously a developer at zulily building their supply chain software. When I first started the SC team was all around 30, it was only right before I left that the first under 30 was hired. There are a couple now.

67, still developing, still inside game console audio DSP engines.

How is that? Is it interesting work? Is it in demand?

How is that: a bit different, possibly the closest is a music synthesizer for signal, and for controller response time.

Is it interesting work?: Games _are_ different, so the past 6 years have been quite interesting. What I do relates to the games as does, say, CoreAudio relate to music Apps on iOS. And then, one is working inside a company that makes game consoles. Playing them is in the job description. As is breaking them.

Is it in demand? I honestly have no answer for that. But - there are not many game console manufacturers any more. There's the behemoth surrounding us, but I believe they recently downsized a bit, no idea about PSP at all, and us - Nintendo. Specifically, Nintendo Technology Development. We're small.

There's a good thread on this on Quora:


Founder of Wikipedia, Whatsapp, Craigslist, Pandora, Zipcar, etc. responded

41, Software Engineer at a start-up. Most of our team are above 35 (8 of us) and they're all seriously A-team. I'm the weakest link in the bunch (though I make up for it in other ways).

I am 52. I bill out consulting doing data science (stats, data wrangling, algorithms for weighted fusion of data into a single source of truth). On my own projects I combine my customer and market research background with web development (self-taught in the past 3 years). I have also maintained an interest in and developed techniques for automating text analysis in the last 15 years. Technical life doesn't have to be over at 30 or 40. Just keep experimenting and learning.

52 independent contractor/consultant. Currently developing machine vision software for determining golf ball direction and spin immediately after the ball is struck. Fun stuff.

41. Job title at day job is "Senior Consultant". Job title at startup is "Founder / CEO". These days I focus on "big data" at the day job - stuff like Hadoop, Storm, MongoDB, etc. At the startup I kinda do everything, but from a development standpoint I work with a lot of Semantic Web tech - Apache Jena, Apache Stanbol, etc., and write a lot of Groovy / Grails code. Live and work in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.

44, Department head. Still write some code, but mostly work on budget issues, staffing, project planning, vision, target architectures, etc.

40, CEO of a startup in SV. Since we're small I'm still writing code, mostly Python, JS, and lots of other stuff. We've only got one dev who is in his 20s and the rest of us are 35+.

One thing about doing development at this age is that since you've stuck with it, if you didn't get stuck in a rut in your career, you should have some pretty serious technical chops.

I'm 34.

As an entrepreneur, there's no expiration on my work life that I don't set myself.

The last six years of my life have been the most productive, by far, in terms of churning out value and being good at what I do. I can't work as long of hours any more without feeling it, but I'm vastly better and smarter now; I know a lot more of what not to do and where not to waste my time.

I'm 40. I create zero-day exploits at a government contractor. People like me have tame lives and families, so we don't live anywhere near San Francisco. We live in places like Texas, Florida, Utah, and Nevada. In some of these places you can get a suburban house for 5 digits.

P.S. you're pwned.

37, Sr. Manager. Still write code but mainly to POC stuff the team will be working on 3+ months down the road. Currently in fraud analytics. Still hack on my own side projects and solo startups in the evenings after the kids gone to bed.

Almost 41. Just started a new (gaming) company in SF and code the MVP myself. Will transition in a CTO role once we secured funding. I know a lot of developers 35+ and I enjoy working with them.

42 and working on a Clojure web framework:


Thank you for your work in this area.

44, CTO of my own little IT company. Mostly managing. Some coding - backend - in Java and Lua. Missing Turbo Pascal days.

36, running my first company as CEO. First time not 100% tech focused. I only code dashboards.

37. Write code everyday and loving it. I run my own consultancy - www.heptaxel.com.

35, enterprise consulting, I write code every day

40, Freelancer, Developing web applications

40. Still developing. Freelancer.

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