- Where have all the 50-year-old software engineers gone?
- It seems software engineers struggle to find new employment by age 35. Can I work as a software engineer at age 50+ without moving to management? What options are there with a computer science degree?
- Where do all the old programmers go?
They quit. Here’s why.
They leave because they struggle to find learning opportunities. Learning another “hard” skill is not a growth opportunity. Once an individuals is agnostic of Tools, Platforms and Languages their learning mindset begins to stall.
The industry embraces a disruptive youth who are willing and able to gain experience at the cost of “undercut” their senior colleagues. Age and experience is not highly prized.
It’s not easy to quantify the value of Coaching others. It’s also often not appreciated, when peer learning is easier to implement and embrace.
The industry is not formalized in the way Law or Medicine is. Without standardized certifications or metrics there’s very little security in knowledge.
Life experience often promotes a slower more measured approach. This clashes with a culture of “rush and disruption”.
Very little genuine computing innovation has occurred since 1937 with Turing and Von Neumann. The Digital Revolution, Distributed Cloud Computing, Machine Learning are conceptual ideas around these older data structures and algorithms.
They sees to be relevant with a continually changing technology landscape. What was useful 5 years ago, is now obsolete. People skills endure and transfer to other industries.
Where do they go?
They leave and explore something creative and unrelated. Gardening or parenthood.
Others with more patience shift gears, take their hands off the wheel, and go into the “trust building” world of people management and deadlines.
Subsequently the craft of engineering stalls. Knowledge is lost. Mistakes re-emerge.