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Ask HN: My 56-year-old father is a developer having a tough time finding a job
318 points by luisivan on Oct 23, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 216 comments
Hi everyone,

My father, who is a 56-years old software engineer and introduced me to software development, got unemployed some months ago and is having an extremely tough time getting a job here in Spain.

In his whole life he has worked as a developer, businessmen and executive at various companies such as Xerox. However, he went the developer path these past decades instead of moving on to something more 'senior oriented' such as being a project manager.

He has been always learning new stuff, so right now he has a MongoDB certification and is totally fluent in Django. But most of the companies he applies to just see his age and step back. And I'm also worried because here in Spain large companies are seeing the crisis and the really high youth unemployment as an opportunity to hire youngsters under really poor conditions, and they can actually hire five young developers for the price of one senior dev.

So I'm not really sure how I can help him, I actually know a lot of people in the startup ecosystem but startups usually want people in their 20s and 30s. I have also read a lot of posts regarding 'old developers', and he has read them as well.

He has a fresh mindset, wants to move to another city/country if it's required, and has tons of experience, so it's very hard for me to see him having this tough time... Any tip would be very helpful

Thanks a lot




"Spain" seems like the magic phrase here. Unemployment in Spain is 24.5% right now.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&e...

Meanwhile unemployment in the UK is 6.2% right now.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&e...

I suggest looking for a job in London. A lot of tech companies are hiring there.


I'm working as a SW Engineer in Spain. None of my acquaintances in the sector (with relevant experience) have any problems in finding a job.

Even people that got laid off were able to secure a new position in a relatively short time.

My guess that the problem is more related to prejudices about his age, as the op says.

I have a co-worker that is 50+ years old and entered the company a couple of years ago. He is a brilliant engineer and an incredibly nice guy.

Still, my boss had to fight with HR in order for them to hire him, since they considered him "too old" to still be a developer.


Your HR people could be exposing your company to huge legal risks. They should be treated as any other employee who tries to take illegal actions inside the company.

It is illegal under EU law to discriminate against age in an employment context. And well played for the EU for taking this stand.

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/age_and_emp...


Legal risks... it is Spain.


...which is a member state of the EU


Fight with HR to hire him: Is age discrimination not illegal in Spain?


The legalities of age discrimination is one thing, and what actually happen on the ground is an entirely different matter. They don't even have to give a reason why he is not hired for the positions he has applied for.


Even in the US. If you feel like you've missed out on a job based on discrimination you still have to prove it and no employer is going to actually put "too old" in writing.


I might be naive, I just feel like the HR department would be unlikely to shoot down a candidate for being too old. A big part of their job is making sure everything is at least documented enough to justify in court if it came to that. Rejecting every old candidate seems like it would make their job a lot harder.


You are right, the practical side is a bit different. Another angle: which unemployed person would like to take the drudgery of a legal action when she has all kinds of other problems? It's easy for us to say he can take legal action but it's great emotional investment in the process, which might be used in job search instead. For society it's best if we sue, but for the individual it's very straining.


> They don't even have to give a reason

Yes they do.

There is a lot of legislation about employment and documentation of the processes. Lots of smaller companies don't bother but larger companies are obsessive about it because they wouldn't risk exposing themselves.


yeah, and those large companies won't write "too old" in the documentation. there are a million reasons not to hire someone, including you simply found someone else you liked better. the case is pretty much unwinnable, why would anyone go through the hassle?


Which is why people need to expose stuff like this from within their organisations. Like the op.


It is subtler than that, I think.

It´s not really age discrimination as much as a particular (stupid) view of what carrer development should be for a technical guy, in some places.

That is to say, it is expected that in your late carrer you moved into a management position of some sort, and not stayed "simply" a developer.

Again, stupid and counterproductive.

BTW by "fight" I mean metaphorically, of course.


This. Our UK office has hired and relocated two developers from Spain over the past year or so. EU employment law makes it easy to move to a new country and work there and low-cost flights make it cheap to visit home.


Many Spanish young developer do this because salaries are substantially higher in UK, and an experience in an English speaking country is highly valued by companies in Spain (if they ever plan to come back), and of course for the experience itself.

I have at least three ex coworkers that moved to UK for these reasons, even if at the time they were (more or less) happily employed in Spain.


I know a bunch of people from the UK moved to Spain because of various reasons. They are earning less, but enjoy the other parts of life there.


>Unemployment in Spain is 24.5% right now.

Yes, but AFAIK developers are exceptions - at least in Catalonia. Especially experienced ones. Depends on how much salary is acceptable. As I researched, for senior devs, it is 35-45K EUR/annual, which is rather low... He may as well consider consulting.


Unfortunately it seems to me that consulting is not really a thing in Spain.

There are a lot of consulting jobs, but they are usually the domain of consulting companies (known as "cárnicas", meat factories, among developers), that do little more than acting as a middlemen between the hire and the actual company, pocketing the substantial difference between the consulting fees and paid salary.

But I work in a more traditional environment and possibly this is different in the case of web development.


> There are a lot of consulting jobs, but they are usually the domain of consulting companies (known as "cárnicas", meat factories, among developers), that do little more than acting as a middlemen between the hire and the actual company, pocketing the substantial difference between the consulting fees and paid salary.

This also describes the situation in Portugal almost perfectly with the difference that we call those companies "negreiros" (slave traders).


Although that's correct, IT opportunities depend a lot of on businesses having plenty of activity and, in a sense, an expectation of having to scale up in the near future. That's definitely not the case in Spain.

When I was young(er), a lot of dev work in Spain looked like just building business database interfaces. My hunch (based in practically zero facts), is that many devs have been stuck there until those jobs ran out, and their skills may not fully align with more generic app problem solving.


I agree, I don't think there is crisis in IT in Spain as a whole, but our recent banking industry restructuration is dumping into the market a good amount of middle-age experienced developers and analysts.


Don´t believe this figure. Spain has a huge black economy. Some estimations says that it is about 20%[1] of our GDP.

It is in Spanish, but this [2] is a good documentary about it.

[1] http://www.antena3.com/noticias/economia/economia-sumergida-...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5FRGu_W_6g


Spain is not unique in that sense. All the countries in the world have an informal sector that is not accounted for in statistics. According to a paper from the World Bank [1] the size of the shadow economy in Spain in 2007 was 22.2% of the GDP, whilst the average for the OECD countries was 16.6%. In the UK the figure was 12.2%.

So while it is true that the informal sector is somewhat larger in Spain than in other countries, the difference does not seem to be enough to explain such high unemployment rates.

[1] http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/I...


[deleted]


> A 56 year old man with a family is going to struggle to just up and leave Spain and move to London though, isn't he?

No more than a 30 year-old or 26 year-old with a family. It might even be the case that he's in a better position becasue his kids are grown up now. We don't know - so we should take the OP at their word that they're willing to move.


Market in London is pretty good at the moment.


Dublin too. Even while Ireland's unemployment is quite high, there's a large amount of dev positions available.


Confirming this


The advice is the same to everyone. Work hard on personal projects, get them online and live and running and impressive. Join a well known open source project and do 200 commits. Tweet, blog regularly. Prove you know your stuff.

Same advice for everyone. Almost no one does this stuff and those that do greatly increase their chance of getting work.

People sit around hoping not to have to do the hard yards, hoping they'll somehow be given a job. In 2014 you have to make it happen through active, public work.

If you build enough of an online reputation then you'll get work without even meeting people and they wouldn't know if you were an 80 year old giraffe.


The thing is, if I have some interesting personal project that is useful for some group of people - I'd make a small business from it rather than dumping it online and just mentioning it on my CV ;)


No! - You likely won't, because of Spolsky [1]

And... your parent commenter is right: "When it comes to hiring, I'll take a Github commit log over a resume any day.", jeresig [2]

[1] The development abstraction layer (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/DevelopmentAbstractio...)

[2] John Resig on Twitter (https://twitter.com/jeresig/status/33968704983138304)


At least you should try. Maybe start small (and stay small..), there is always some path to escape from cubicle nation.. ;)

As for "github is your CV" hype:

http://www.ashedryden.com/blog/the-ethics-of-unpaid-labor-an...

https://blog.jcoglan.com/2013/11/15/why-github-is-not-your-c...


god, the things Ashe Dryden writes are toxic, regardless of her popularity (or , perhaps, vocal-ity).

> "So that we're all on the same page, let's take a look at what the landscape of open source contribution looks like. Someone's made a handy gist of the most active GitHub users (from Nov 10, 2012 through Nov 10, 2013) (thanks to @jclermont for the link). A quick glance through the list shows that the overwhelming majority of these users are white men."

Just to clarify, these are pictures of users she's looking at.

meanwhile at the bottom of the page..

> "I hesitate to break down actual percentages because attempting to discern someone's race or gender identity from their photo and name is dodgy business."

Ugghh, I wish she'd write honestly: "I know that I can't reliably estimate things by eyeballing them, but I will anyway. As long as I cite my indiscretion later on, I can write whatever the fuck I want to."


On "the ethics of unpaid labor": YOU haven't been to a good university ?

And on "Why github is not your CV": Your animated gif is not advancing the discussion AND nobody said that github=yourCV.

You can bend reality (to your favour) but just not too much!


> Your animated gif is not advancing the discussion

Hmm, sorry, when I opened it used to be an article actually (and it is not mine). Here is the cache:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yFBroqO...

>You can bend reality (to your favour) but just not too much!

This might be reality in some hipster web startup scene. I'm glad I'm not in that domain.


The URL is valid (copy and paste or type it in).

BUT: If you go there from HN he dispays just the gif

Wow, ... he seems to protect his article from the HN-crowd :-D


Github isn't your CV but one of the realities of human nature is that public recognition increases your standing in the eyes of job interviewers.


Europe is very conservative: Standing out might be even a downer.

But generally good public (e.g. on github) standing should justifiy you a job (maybe even a highly paid one)

EDIT: Wow, thanks for the downvotes: Just to let you know: I LIVE (and work since almost 10 years) IN Europe! I have 2 (relevant!) projects on github and usually don't talk about them at hiring situations (though they are mentioned in my CV and are actually used (and appreciated) by people out there)

But look... you may just know better (and I am eager to hear your reply) !


I didn't downvote you, but I found some of those statements odd. What exactly did you mean by "Europe is very conservative: Standing out might be even a downer."?

I live in Europe too, in the UK, and know it's important to talk about personal projects if you're not entering a super-corporate environment. That you choose to downplay your experience is up to you, but I wouldn't say it was sound advice for others.


This is excellent. To it I will add: help beginners wherever possible.


I don't know if his will help:

I am 63, and I realize that I might not be as effective as I once was. What I do is offer a really low rate for telecommuting from home, and a much larger rate when working on site. So, for the last many years, I work cheaply from home and occasionally work on site (most recently at Google) for a much better consulting rate.

I don't know if your father has the financial flexibility to follow my plan, but it works for me.


Like other responders, I question your statement "...I might not be as effective as I once was.".

Judgement based on long experience can be enormously valuable. You may see in your client's current circumstances a dynamic you worked through 30 years ago. As a result, you may save your client a month or two exploring solutions you know won't work for them.

That's incredibly valuable. Consider that when pricing your services.


But how do you sell judgement? People don't want to hear, "That won't work" type of advice. The culture rewards "I can do the impossible" overconfidence. When you find out the project is harder than you thought, you just work nights and weekends to make up for it because you have no spouse or kids to neglect. (Yeah I've used that advantage myself when I was in my 20's.)


Put yourself in situations where "I can do the impossible" overconfidence leads to running up against the brick wall of the impossible and having to start over. Usually that means some form of consulting. A lot of older developers have a lot of luck specializing in fixing problems that have previously been fucked up by junior developers, often using older more-stable technologies or working in tricky problem domains where there are a lot of gotchas.


Don't undersell your experience. You might not realise it, but occasionally an insight to use a particular approach might shave days to weeks off the development timescale.

It's not all about how fast you can hammer out bits and bytes.


"Weeks of programming can save hours of planning."

This is where experience really counts. Younger developers who don't know any better will invent another logging framework, I guarantee it.


Haha, I did this (created another logging framework) at 23. It was a plugin-driven Python framework and it was beautiful (at the time), but was it necessary? Most probably, certainly not. Ah but I loved writing it. Really made me a better coder.


Wwwwwdzdd


Are you really less effective? I would assume that experience would be a big help in making a developer more effective? Or are you saying you may be as effective, but not as able to work the crazy hours that still seem to be far too common in the industry?


Yeah I get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time at 42 than 19, but the 20 hour days are really punishing, although offset by being able to work some of it remote, but for companies that chart success by sheer number of hours and face time clocked rather than projects completed these are in general a poor match for any effective developer.


I'm 29, and I have already started feeling this. Just a few years ago, I could do 12-14h coding days sustainably, but now, anything above 11h sustained for weeks really shows in my output quality. Luckily, my overall productivity is still rising due to learning and experience, despite the degrading mental capabilities. I don't know what me at 35 will look like. I now see where the ageism comes from.

I find it incredibly sad that I even need to think about this. I regret that I even participated in this circus in the first place. I now only work for companies with don't have the ass-in-seats-for-80h policy. It's actually interesting that in startups where this works, people self-select and end up there. It's amazing how much more you can achieve if you can afford to take a step back, and not worry how you can run in circles even farther and faster.


Don't work 20 hrs; that's 8hrs productive, 6 hrs at 50% and 6hrs probably making a big mess. Followed with 8hrs at 50 % and 12hrs making a big mess.

Have the courage to stop, sleep, eat and then come back with a fresh mind.


This. I am willing to work fewer hours a week now. For most of my career, I set a maximum of 32 hours a week to work (not counting writing activities). I now work much less than that.

There is a lot of value in having someone who is always available. That is not me since I work in spurts, with long breaks. I think lack of always on, immediate availability is important for some projects, and I am unwilling to do that.


With age you can become more effective! As a 64 year old Developer I tell clients that my USP is 'grey hair'. Younger developers may produce slicker code and better SQL structures - but having run businesses I can look at the requirements from a Directors/Owners point of view and guide them on how to get the most benefit for their organisation from the technology.


Not to mention avoiding organizational problems that younger developers will blithely lead them into?


Youngsters these days can't do SQL. Its all MongoDB and Node.


That's rubbish. I'm young and know SQL fairly well, it's still a very valuable skill. If you base your opinions of young developers on HN articles then that's your problem.


Mark, I think you're undercharging. May I ask you, have you tried higher rates and had problems with finding clients? i.e. how did you arrive on your current rates...


Well, I do charge a good rate when I work on site. Also, sometimes people pay more than what I advertise if they want a lot of time and instant availability. In general, customers who are willing to work around my life style get a low rate. This seems fair.


Remote work online is absolutely going to be his best bet, and it will pay better.

Check out:

https://weworkremotely.com/

http://hnhiring.com/ (search for "remote")

http://remotenation.co/blog/top-5-sites-for-finding-a-remote...


This is what I did; I live in central France but work in the UK (fully remote; I fly up once or twice a year normally for social gatherings).

I found the company where I'm not CTO via HN "who's hiring" in 2010.

My colleagues are scattered as well, and I don't know their ages. I haven't even met several of them in person, though we know each others' voices quite well by now!

Note to OP: it's worth posting a bit more about your father's experience; we're only sort-of hiring (and so haven't been posting to the threads on HN) but we're not doing Django or MongoDB... so it's hard to say if we'd be interested. No hard in sending a CV my way, anyway (see profile).



Ditto here. I was going to post the same thing. We Work Remotely is where its at. Also hit up ODesk and post on there for side work until full time work comes to play.


That's really awesome, just showed it to him. He will try his best there, thanks a lot!


Are those sites good for those looking for part time remote work?



Drop me a line at my username @gmail.com if he would consider working for a startup based on SF but with its engineering team based on Guadalajara, México. We mostly do django, flask and angularjs and are not worried on getting someone with his experience on our team.


Any chance I can shoot you an email too? I'm currently living in Guadalajara and looking for a new gig.


> I'm currently living in Guadalajara and looking for a new gig.

Drop me an email; we're hiring.


I'm currently living in Mexico City. I'm surprised to see these many startups in Gudalajara, and yours are not certainly the first ones that I read about. Is Guadalajara becoming the Silicon Valley/SF of Mexico? What are the reasons to establish your startups there?


GDL has a thriving technical community and getting bigger every day, the founder of the startup for which i work for has an special interest on making Guadalajara Mexico's technological hub and wants to create success stories to bring more inversion and companies to the city.

I think a big advantage of Guadalajara over Mexico City is that it's a big enough city without the downsides of a huge metropolis, and is very affordable for engineers to live on pretty good areas, i bike about 10 minutes to work every day and love it.


I'm hiring in Guadalajara, too, and would be happy to chat. :)


awesome!, how should I contact you?


We are hiring too (GDL). My username @gmail.com


Please do!


Cool, he just mailed you :)


I'm not convinced that 56 is that old for companies, especially large ones. I'm not sure this is anything more than the current financial problems that Spain is experiencing. There is 25% unemployment and many banks have purportedly been teetering on collapse. There simply may not be jobs available for him in Spain, unfortunately.

His best bet is to move around in the EU, and go to a country that is willing to hire him. Place like UK, France are likely doing better than Spain is, and will probably have more jobs.


I think that will depend on the country you are working on.

I work in Malaysia, and by that age, you will have hard time finding work as a developer, since people are expecting you to start manage other people after a certain age.

The economics are different, most jobs here are based on projects, there is not much product work. Even if you get infinitely better over time, there is not much economic on leveraging the knowledge, especially if you are the only one on the team that can be that good.

Companies tend not to keep people long and people are keep moving on companies once projects are done, unless new projects are on the line.

Since the turnover rate is high, it will only make sense to keep thing simple, hence there is not much use of much advanced knowledge of anyone.

Because of that, up to a certain age, you very much reached the plateau of the max knowledge expected at the market. Keeping your development skill better may help you with your job, but it may not bring much to the negotiation table. That also means, it make sense to hire cheaper, younger talent if both have reach past the plateau, no matter which one is better. I am guessing this is a reason that people are expecting you to move "up" to the management ladder past the age.


Hey there, I'm from Malaysia but have been studying and working in Australia the past 7 years. Am really keen to get to know some Malaysian devs and find out what the software industry condition is like back home. My email's me@jonathanchua.com if you're keen.


Totally agree, the thing with countries like France is the language barrier. But he is fluent with English, so I may tell him to apply for UK jobs as well. Thanks!


Berlin may be worth considering as well. Opportunities for developers in Berlin are comparatively plentiful, and while it would be nice to know German if you live there, many tech companies in Berlin use English as the official language because employees come from so many places around the EU and the world.


That's good to know, weren't aware of that


Tell him to learn another language. He is a developer after all. :)


I may be able to help. As a fellow Southern European (living in California), I make it a point to try to help people from that region with employment where I can.

I employ people (fully remotely) all over the world, and I help several other companies do the same (I assume basic professional/IT English). I'm not actively hiring right now, but I know a few companies who are.

My email is in my profile. Best of luck regardless.


He just emailed you, thanks anyway :)


This is crazy. Were I hiring, I'd kill to have someone that experienced and with likely far fewer "life liabilities" (I'm doubting he's going to start having babies or go absolutely insane over some girl he can't get out of his mind... or disappear playing video games for two weeks straight)

Have him keep at it. Someone will appreciate what he's got.


Your intention is probably admirable (reassuring someone about a rough situation), but your list of life liabilities basically appeal to other prejudices based on age, gender, and possibly relationship status.

I'm not particularly impressed by this logic.


Its reality though.

The age group of my current workplace probably averages early 30's, and we have a lot of people taking time off to have babies. I seem to be the only person that does any work a lot of the time.


I bet you pay more tax than them too for the benefit of doing all their work. But the world needs more babies! Um... no it doesn't.


The continual growth economic paradigm requires more babies.


The logic is actually the best part of my post.

The worst part is the fact that if I were to actually hire like that, it'd be illegal. That's what sucks.

Land of the free though, right?


Yeah, but most companies don't want to pay for someone with that sort of experience. I think most people think of developers/IT staff largely as 'resources'.

There's generally no career path for a developer that involves still doing a lot of development.


Everyone's going to advise leading-edge technology options.

Consider the other extreme: long-established businesses are desperate for developers capable of working on old systems like COBOL, 370 Assembler, etc. His "tons of experience" mean he is familiar with old-school tools & mindset, things which new developers can't fathom in a world of smartphones & clouds. Such developers made a pile of money 15 years ago when a burst of manpower was needed to solve the then-looming "Y2K bug"; those talents are still very much in demand, and there's a lot fewer developers able & willing to work on those systems.

Mainframe developers are still needed. Society isn't creating any more of them. Supply + demand = write your own check in this niche, so long as you'll work on anything anywhere.


Your father should try to find development work online. Nobody cares about your age, or even your qualifications. It's all about your track record and your capacity to get things done. It takes a while to get your first few gigs, but once you build up a small client base, work goes smoothly.


He had a local client base, but he started to loose all of them because of the crisis... so I should probably suggest him to start working with clients from another countries, totally agree. Thanks!


Have any good resources to suggest? (aside from oDesk, where I sense it's become a race to the bottom price-wise.)


Don't think in terms of offering the lowest price. When you are selling your services online, price also tells the client how much your work is worth. Never compete on price, just ask for whatever you think is fair, given your knowledge and experience. I work on oDesk, and I've always obtained well-paid work. Just a question of patience and establishing a reputation.


Getting a reputation would seem to invove doing at least a few projects at a crappy rate from what I gather.


You can start off at, say, half your target rate, and/or on smaller projects than you would usually take on. Once you have two or three decent recommendations under your belt, then your online career will take off.


You don't have any contact info in your profile. I would like to run some questions past you, if you have the time?


Ask him to email me. I have 100% success rate to find people like your father jobs, and I do not charge them anything, in fact I will pay him $1000 if I can't find him a job. zq@nemcv.com. I have helped other people on hacker news and never failed yet

How do I do this? Because I change the mindset away from looking for a job based on skills to showing the value your father can add to a company


Wow that sounds great! Could you maybe provide some examples of how you did that? It might be really useful...


Sure. You or your father are welcome to join the Google Group and we can work through until your dad has a job. I will post my phone number in there so that I can talk to your father directly too:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/nemcv


We, Lifesum, are located in Stockholm and are looking all over the place for a senior backend engineer that can work with Python / Django! Please have him take a look at: http://jobs.lifesum.com/jobs/1103-senior-platform-backend-py... and see if it's a good fit.

Feel free to contact me (info in profile) regarding any questions. :)


Spanish market is really tough these days, but it is possible to get a job. - there are many possibilities in Madrid and Barcelona. Consider relocation. - knowing Java or PHP can help further increasing possible job opportunities. I hardly hear that someone is looking for MongoDB developer. - person with such experience is probably considered by HR to be demanding in terms of salary. I would not advise asking for more than 35k€. - Also there might be a question: why still developer. I suppose there is a convincing explanation for that! (I also know many >40 years old people beeing developers). - have a look at banks. santander & bbva usualy have some job offers. either directly or through some consulting company.

I hope your dad will finaly get some nice job!

-


I would suggest he start contributing to open source. Write a fea utility libraries or even a few general purpose applications. Being able to point people to a github with work to show off some skills can be integral to how employers view your technical aptitude.


I'm all in favor of free(dom) software, but you still have to feed your family, and until farmers (1% of the population) and transporter (another few percentage of the population) can work and deliver food for $free, us programmers won't be able to provide (all) our software for $free either. Not counting the taxes that also have to be paid.

For this reason, I'm in favor of the universal revenue, lifetime income, citizen income, whatever you call it.


He actually runs a free software association and is very active in the open source scene here, but yeah, I already said to him that he should contribute more on GitHub. Thanks!


This whole thread made my day. It is heartwarming to see so many people trying to help here.


Has he looked into finance? The UK banking scene is predominately in his age group (not that it matters). I'm 24 and worked in a team of people ranging from 30-60 i suppose. Also the sector is moving towards noSQL so it could be a good fit


No, he has not! Didn't know about that, but I'll tell him to definitely look into UK banks and apply. It might be a great match as he knows all the old tech banks are based upon but also the new stuff they could use to make their systems better. Thanks for the insight :)


Drop me a line, I work in a bank that's always looking for python devs. Contract rates in London are excellent too (easily > £500/day).

I'm ben <squiggly a> perurbis <dot> com


But uprooting and relocating to such a long distance, especially in his age (with regard to nostalgia, I mean..), is it comfortable for him?


Please tell me that the banks are not running Mongo?


Banks are running MongoDB. The issue is not the industry, the issue is the problem they are trying to solve for in the app. I am sure banks have social applications too. Clearly, they won't be using it for financial transactions, as those probably are running on some mainframe.

Just like I hope that [your favorite social startup] does not have my user information in MongoDB. I don't want to lose my [points | badges | messages | likes | some other mundane detail that I cannot live without in my first world problem kind of way.


I worked at a pretty large bank (one of the biggest in the world and US) and I was working with MongoDB there. It was for a non critical reporting system for a configuration management tool.


Actually some are..... 10 gen have a very effective sales force I guess!


Better, I'd like a list of the banks using Mongo, I wouldn't want to risk having eventually consistent money balance during the day xD.


Contact me if you want me to show his CV around HP's lab in Barcelona. Hope it works out well for him!


Can I contact you? Only just turned 40, but I am based in Barcelona and looking for a new job.


Of course!


He'll email you, thanks a lot!!


I don't understand the reluctance of the industry to hire old people. I am young, and I love working with old people. They know their craft so well, they have so much experience, they have seen everything; they do stuff.

For comparison, I don't like working with young people. Always excited about new technologies, but they usually have no experience in anything and manage to delay every project and make a mess out of it. And there's also the meta-activities associated with young age. We don't just work, but we do all kind of meaningless forced social crap and boast about life and show our gadgets.

With older people, it's much more professional. It's just professional work, which gets done, and doesn't expand into our private lives.


What about freelancing ? Try and connect with people you know who might be looking for a developer like him. If he knows Python/Django, I am sure there are lot of freelance opportunities. Also ask him to post in the Monthly HN thread of freelancers.


Yeah, that's what he's trying to do, but at least here in Spain both Python and MongoDB are still considered as 'young technologies for startups' that aren't usually seen in the enterprise or in the normal freelance jobs.

Anyway, thanks for the tip about the Monthly HN thread - he will definitely post there :)


That advice is generally valid for all devs. In a poll (sorry, can't find the source right now) the older devs that were freelancers were the most happy ones. The market valued their experience, while employees in companies would be punished for their age.

I guess owning the customer relationship is key here.


Hi where is Monthly HN thread of freelancers? Can you please share?



Unfortunately if he can't get a job that pays what he's asking for based on experience, he'll need to lower his rate. Outside of getting into a more "senior" orientated industry as joshcrowder has suggested, banking, finance, etc.

However Xerox itself is a very senior-orientated company, at least here in New Zealand. Has he reached out to his network to see if there are any positions going where he'll get a palm greased?


That was really funny because he almost went to work to Xerox New Zealand when he was an executive. He has been trying to contact people from his network, but they have all changed from company, role and even industry (most of his contacts are from a couple decades ago)


Haha, well the work environment at Xerox here in New Zealand is actually really good. Too bad he didn't, I've met with a lot of their senior engineers (also at Konica) and they're extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

Unfortunately the pay would likely be why he turned it down.


A coworker is doing a project in New Zealand and he loves it. It seems like the overall work environment in New Zealand is pretty good. When he told me the office didn't have free coffee a thought it was terrible. Until he explained you actually have time to take 15 minutes and go and buy a cup of coffee and take an actual "coffee break" a few times a day. That's kind of rare in the US. We usually get free coffee and enough time to walk over to the machine and back to your desk.


I think it was more the fact that he got married and had two child than the pay


Perfect reason to move here. :P


>most of his contacts are from a couple decades ago

There is a big lesson here for everybody.


I left Italy because I was looking at a future in which I would have been one of those 5 young devs that got hired instead of someone like your dad.

I am still young and am always relocating to find better projects and conditions, and its been working for me in this past 5 years. But now I know that there is also a lot of companies out there that are willing to hire people from across the globe and let them work remotely.

Those jobs are not easy to find, and are a small minority in the job market, but they are a beacon of hope for really good devs for which relocating is not an option. You (royal you ... which means potentially your dad) will generally get good money but might have to set up your own taxes, insurances and benefits, so it's not as hassle free as just being a normal employee.

Relocation, IMO, is always an option. Just speaking English is enough ... and English is not hard.


Yeah, these kind of jobs are hard to find. Well, he is actually willing to relocate and he speaks English, so let's hope that works out


I can totally understand how hard can it be. I`m 28 years old from Romania and looking for an IT related job. Its difficult and for me because i never had a 9-5 job. Always worked from home as a freelancer since college so i got no past experience and no one hires you without 2 years or more experience :(


So you've been working since 20? That sounds like 8 years experience to me. Maybe you just need to sell it differently.


Self Marketing. Age is definitely a road block, it might be worse in spain, but it happens everywhere else.

The thing is that if you provide nothing for potential employers to see, then all they would see is resume and eventually your age. Make him get out there, make friends, build connections, show case what he has done online, get potential employers to see past his resume and age. When you provide nothing for them to see, they'll see what's in front of them. That is an older man trying to live in a young man's world.

When you are an older developer, it'll definitely take more work to get hired. You have to do more to stand out. Just sending out resumes isn't gonna do much good in this day and age. Your connections is what going to get you hired. It's true in Spain, London, EU, Asia and everywhere else.


>"they can actually hire five young developers for the price of one senior dev"

I'm sure your dad's experience warrants a premium over others but anybody asking 5x what other devs make are going to have difficulty finding a job unless they have exceptional reputation, contacts and some luck.


In practice, you can get five young devs in Spain for any arbitrary number you may suggest. Many of them are still landlocked due to lower English proficiency and lack of valuable experience.


Well, the thing is not that he wants a premium salary, he actually is below market price, the problem is that there is too many people willing to work almost for free


If there is a significant supply of people willing to work almost for free then market price is almost free.

This would also mean that the problem is not specific to his age but to the whole market for devs in your area.


Unfortunately, if lots of people are willing to work almost for free, then that's the market price. Sucks, though.


You have to consider that in some countries devs with no experience are willing to work for $300-400 a month...


BTW I forgot to add it on the post, but this is his LinkedIn profile just in case https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=75046358


I visited that link but only see a minimal box with very little info:

    Software Architect & Developer
    Madrid Area, SpainInformation Technology and Services
    Current	Proyecto Asturix, Asturlibre
    Previous	MeetPays, Yestilo, UPTA España
    Education	10Gen
May want to correct that, and/or set up his own microsite as a first link of reference (GitHub pages is convenient if he is already using Github).

General situation in Spain is quite shitty and age / gender discrimination is unfortunately still rampant here. My advice would be to keep his eyes open but definitely look for options in UK / Germany.


He's not currently using GitHub, but this is his personal webpage: http://cuende.net


Maybe include his github/bitbucket profile instead of linked in.


Not everyone works on open source projects.


I simply suggested that it might also be helpful to include a link to github or a repository where some work/project examples would be contained. It seems pretty reasonable to suggest that it might be a good way to showcase some Mongo projects or other things he is working on while teaching himself a few new pieces of technology.

Most coders have a much larger github repo than Linked In page. Guess everyone disagrees with this...


Yeap, he runs a free software association but he doesn't usual code on GitHub


I am 10 years younger than your father and had a though time finding a job too. I have a bachelor in Information Engineering, founded and sold two successful startups in the InfoSec space, have raised venture capital and love programming, but still took me about a year to find a job. Granted, I wasn't ready to compromise too much, but heck, as the months go by, it becomes more and more frustrating, especially when age seems to be the #1 discriminating factor.

I am moved by all the support shown here to your father: hopefully it will help him boost his morale. I encourage you to keep digging too - it's payback time.


I think startups usually want young employees because they usually don't have families. It's not really about age, it's about time commitment. All those startups with "epic snack rooms", beer coolers, ping pong tables, pool tables, etc. have all that crap because they expect you to live at the office. They want you to work 12 hours a day. Not all of them, but a lot of them. It can't really give that many hours if you have a spouse and kids to take care of. Most people can't, anyway.

It's not age discrimination, but it's still crappy.


My suggestion would be for him to learn FORTRAN or COBOL, if he doesn't already know. At least banks still need programmers for these languages, and I can assure you that not many youngsters learn those languages anymore. The work might be monotone, and he'll be fighting a 40 year old mainframe, but chances are that he won't have a problem finding a job.

He should send his CV here: http://www.geoban.com/es/estaticas/index.asp?wm=320&id=95


Does he have an up-to-date portfolio on what he's been working on? how are his side projects?

I think that's one of the most effective ways to convince someone that you haven't been resting on your laurels/are still innovating.

Also, he could take the chance (assuming you guys are not 3 steps from being on the curb) to try and bootstrap a small startup -- 56 years is a ton of experience, he has to know some pain points in some markets/communities that he can fix (maybe his own?) and charge people money for.


That's an interesting point. He's been working for some months on his own project, that is an app for managing SMEs' salesforce. He has some experience on the enterprise so he really understands the problem.

The thing is that he is actually 3 steps from being on the curb (I live alone and am economically independent)


wow, sorry to hear that... that makes things way more difficult.

In that case, I would suggest that he applies to some of the bigger companies (like... real big), like HP/Dell, and market himself as a "tech-lead" -- it's got more hope of being near code than a project manager, and they value experience (and it's relatively easy to get into big companies)... Though I don't know which big companies are in spain (AFAIK that's where you are?)


I am software Enginner from Colombia, I move last year from Spain to Dublin, at least 25% of the staff in the company where I work are in ther 50s, my suggestion, move to UK or Ireland


My advice is to apply his engineering skills to the job hunt itself. Send out CV's every day, network, hunt, analyze data, look for patterns, etc. As he is discovering, job hunting is a full time job.

In Canada, there are organizations for older job hunters that help with resume preparation and cover letters, job hunting techniques, how to network effectively, etc. Working with others in a similar situation is great for your morale. I wish him good luck.


I would recommend that he jump on Guru.com or eLance.com and start looking for projects. It is not ideal but it will keep him active as he searches for work.


The situation for developers in Europe currently isn't good. Forget those nonsense 'skilled worker shortage' articles. Europe's economic recovery does not proceed as fast as expected, forecasts are even lowered due to the sanctions against Russia. The 'best' you can do is sit and wait until next spring because spring usually is the high season of the IT job market.


Feel free to contact me if you want to move his CV in a couple of companies that I know are hiring (Salamanca and Valencia).

Good luck to you and your father


This may or may not be something that would interest him, but OpenStack is written in Python (no Django, but parts of it use MongoDB), and pretty much nobody who is deeply involved in OpenStack development has any shortage of recruiters trying to employ them.

http://www.openstack.org/community/


Forget the job adds, they will only attract a lot of competition. What he needs to do is finding firms which are growing and send them a letter. This way he will sidestep that whole hiring process and the firms appreciate someone who takes an active approach.

And those who points out how important it is to be active on the net are right. At least set up a nice LinkedIn account.


I have to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the overwhelming support, I never thought he would get all this help.

I'm an avid HN reader and a somewhat active member but never imagined this could go up to the frontpage, you all are awesome.

I told my father about all the opportunities and interesting comments here, and will continue helping him get a job. Thanks :)


Maybe he can edit his resume/CV and remove the date from items that would hint toward his age. This way the companies might give him the chance to show his experience in Django during an interview.

How about remote work within the European Union? I am in the US so I am not familiar with how common that is in Europe.


Is moving to somewhere like London an option for him? There's a lot of demand for good developers in London and the companies tend to not discriminate. I'm talking about more established companies especially. Source: I previously worked for a company that hired a 55 year old developer.


There are a few conferences coming up in Barcelona, he could go to network? http://www.papis.io/ http://velocityconf.com/eu


Yeah, he usually goes to startup and software events in Madrid, but he should probably do it even more. Thanks!


Full respect for your father learning MongoDB and Django. I do not see his age as an issue with that mindset. Maybe he can work remotely? Also may I recommend joining relevant IT recruitment interest groups on LinkedIn and Python/Django on Meetup.com.


Where in Spain? The author of the Typus gem (a Ruby admin tool) lives in / freelances from Barcelona. Your dad may want to reach out to him for tips or advice.

https://github.com/fesplugas


Oviedo, in the north. But he wants to move to Madrid/Barcelona. Oh cool, I see he's a senior as well, he will contact him and let's see :)


If it helps, we work with startups/brands/agencies that primarily hire remote developers across a range of languages at FlexDevs: http://FlexDevs.com


Is he willing to move to San Francisco? Flightcar needs a fullstack Django dev.


Hell yeah, he would actually love to live in another country :)


Should he reach you out or something?


Just apply. I'm a friend of the CTO, so that's how I knew that they are looking. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/24829783


Thanks! He will :)


I just want to say that I know your situation and just encourage him to keep doing something and not sit in a chair waiting for something. Psychological problems come and they are not easy.

Wish you both the best of luck.



Well that position has expired, anyway just showed djangojobs to him, thanks :)


Didn't notice earlier, but what has expired is only the posting the hiring is ongoing. Will have the posting corrected. Contact me directly (email in profile).


Luis, We're recruiting for mongo experts—and happen to use django too for other parts of our system. We're an early stage co based in SF & NYC. -- Lindsay (lindsay (at) socialight.io)


A 25 years old programmer in a country similar to spain will get 1100€ per month.

A 56 yo will probably expect much more, and companies won't be willing to... I mean, they are just evil.


not sure how helpful this will be since we won't have a ton of activity at first, but Hired is about to launch in the UK. we'll be taking candidates all over Europe although we'll only have a London office until sometime next year. if he's interested in moving up there, it's worth a shot. his skillset sounds relevant. http://join.hired.com/x/WF25Mp


I just sent him the link to sign up :)


It should be easy for him to move around the EU to places like Germany or the Netherlands. We have plenty of opportunities here for senior developers.


[deleted]


Hopefully at that point the demographics of the industry will have smoothed out some.


hey luisivan, we're looking for a experienced php dev in Barcelona (working from home is welcome too) email me at my username at gmail


Cool, he will email you :)


If he's open to remote contract work, I'm always hiring freelance developers (knowledge of Python & JavaScript).

morgante@cafe.com


Thanks, he'll email you :)


Hola luisivan.

Could you somehow make me available your email? I would like to send you a couple of suggestions which I rather do in private.


Sure! me AT luisivan DOT net, thanks a lot :)


with his experience, he should set up a virtual classroom through Hangouts or Skype and make enough of a living short term tutoring people who want to learn how to code fast. Maybe he would not be able to offer certification and diplomas but there is enough interest in learning programming internationally that it may work.


https://www.liferay.com/careers

cheers from Recife.


Thanks!


He's worked as an executive, but never moved onto something more senior like a project manager????


Would not say project manager is more 'senior'.

Over here, on most graduate schemes you can straight in as developer, consultant, project manager depending on what you chose. You usually start of as assistant project manager though.

It's a separate career path, not a senior role.


In Europe the term "executive" when applied to a job title may mean something different to your perception. e.g. a Sales Executive is less senior than a Sale Manager.


Yeap, he "downgraded" from executive to developer at one point, not a very smart decision but that's how things are...


How is his English? Would he be prepared to work as a freelancer for a while? Can he code in C++??


He's hasn't a perfect English but enough to work, and yeah, he would be prepared. He coded in C++ several years ago, not sure he's up to date...


we love experience! jobs@fcflamingo.com ny/la/remote dev/design/consulting


Thanks! He'll email you :)


Start a startup with dad.


Pick up some freelancing jobs on oDesk?


abdullah


I have a friend who's about 60 here in the US. He doesn't have to work cause he's all set but he wants to. He's brilliant. Has wide ranging experience but, if he's not used your tech in the past, I guarantee he'll pick it up quick.

If you ever had eye surgery or used a vending machine, you've probably used his equipment. You've probably visited a couple of web sites he created for large companies. He's worked on Hollywood movies and you can see his face in some of them. I would almost go as far as say he's the most interesting man in the world.

Over the past year, he's gotten zero replies to any of the resumes he's sent out. Two companies complained they needed their sites updated and managed in their want ad yet, today, those same sites have changed little and are still awful.

Yet, I look out my home office window and see him working in his garden this morning.


This is really cool, you are father doing having stage of retirement. I appreciated to your father with this act, that's it.


He should start a business, it's easier than ever:

www.ProjectAmericanDream.com

Seriously, it could change his life in a major way.


You don't seem to have a history of spamming on HN so serious question, is this spam or are you being sincere?

If the former, given your experience on this site, I don't see how you can not know how wrong that is here.


Not spam at all. On many points. I'm on my iPad so I'll be brief (hate typing on this thing)

On advising he start a business. Launching a successful business is the greatest liberator. For OP's father a nice lifestyle business would provide him with security as he gets older. What happens when he is 60, 70, 75. None of these people talking about helping will hire him. That's an illusion. My statement could be wrong in this particular case but it isn't for the overwhelming majority of older engineers.

If your comment is about the link. No, it isn't spam at all. The registration period is now closed so I can no longer provide links to the content. I personally know somewhere in the range of 50 people doing this program through being a mentor for a local meetup group for members. There's an annual conference for the program. I believe the next one is in February. Sir Richard Branson will be the keynote speaker. So, no, not a scam or spam. The fact that people down-voted it or dismissed it as such is only a reflection of HN bias. I hope the OP did get a chance to consider it before this was voted down to the bottom and the registration period ended.


Here is a very meta solution, but it has to be considered. The problem of unemployment in Europe is directly linked to the European Union Treaty and the Euro ( google for TARGET2, ver por ejemplo http://tinyurl.com/salida-euro ). Entoncez, deberia promover la aplicación del artículo 50 del Tratado de la Unión Europea para salir del EU y resolver nuestros problemas.




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