Have you experienced Ageism?

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20 Replies - 6233 Views - Last Post: 31 March 2011 - 01:56 PM

Poll: Anonymous Poll (10 member(s) have cast votes)

Have you experienced Ageism (too old)

  1. I have been subjected to Ageism (7 votes [70.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 70.00%

  2. I have been ageist to other employees (1 votes [10.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.00%

  3. I have been ageist in my hiring or promotion decisions (2 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

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#1 Programmist   User is offline

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Have you experienced Ageism?

Post icon  Posted 30 August 2010 - 12:44 PM

Reading this topic on Slashdot made me wonder how prevalent this is. I'm talking about discrimination based on being too old, not too young Anyone have experience with this?
http://developers.sl...-All-About-Age?
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Replies To: Have you experienced Ageism?

#2 Raynes   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 02:25 PM

Surprisingly, I don't deal with this much at all. People tend to be impressed with me because of my age and skill set. The only time I've experienced ageism is during heated arguments where it isn't uncommon for older developers to throw age in your face.

Edit: Oh. You explicitly pointed out that you were aiming for "too old". I am on my crappy cell and didn't see all of it. Sorry. :/

This post has been edited by Raynes: 30 August 2010 - 02:29 PM

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#3 KYA   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 02:28 PM

View PostProgrammist, on 30 August 2010 - 12:44 PM, said:

Reading this topic on Slashdot made me wonder how prevalent this is. I'm talking about discrimination based on being too old, not too young

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#4 Ahmedn1   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:03 PM

Interesting topic
Ageism is a big problem here in Egypt
as most of dumb people think that the older you are, the more experience you have

it is totally wrong
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#5 Programmist   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:43 PM

I suppose not the best forum in which to ask this question given the number of kids younger folks who frequent the site.
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#6 macosxnerd101   User is online

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:57 PM

There are the old geezers too like pbl, n8wxs, and Martyn.Rae (no offense guys). ;)

In my experiences, ageism usually isn't a problem. At my internship, my coworker treated me as an equal and my boss commented to me that he felt like having me on was like having someone with 10 years in the field. It was really flattering. On a couple rare occasions, a troll here and there has tried to use my age to define my skill. But that's generally not the interactions I've had with people, both in real life and on DIC.

At the family business (which is not IT related), my dad and cousin employ predominantly senior citizens. More employees draw social security than not, and most of them have been there 20+ years. They have a lot of valuable experience, and it'll be sad to see the face of the business change over the next 5-10 years. In the IT field like any other, the older programmers have a lot of experience with older technologies. I've heard pbl talk about assembly programming, COBOL, and working on stackless machines. I doubt a single person will debate his expertise with programming. I believe the hangup with employers is their willingness to pickup newer technologies and keep current.
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#7 Luckless   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 06:37 PM

I think it is more a matter of adapting than age. In a realm where technology changes at a drop of a hat, knowledge is great if you can carry it over and make it applicable to the current state of programming languages. I wouldn't know first hand though.
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#8 n8wxs   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:48 PM

I ain't ready for geezerhood. :rockon:
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#9 WushuMonster   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 12:35 AM

Depressing article :( I'm already 30 and have about 2-3 years left before I graduate. I'm always be looking for ways to be self employed though, as I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out for the corporate rat race long term, and I certainly won't last long pulling all nighters on a consistent bases. I have been subjected to ageism in the retail industry when looking for new jobs, and also in sports. It's a pretty rotten feeling when you've worked hard at something for a long time, and people suddenly start treating you like you're worthless and all your experience has 0 value.

This post has been edited by WushuMonster: 31 August 2010 - 12:46 AM

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#10 moopet   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 01:12 AM

I think there is probably a level of ageism in computing, but it's definitely offset by a certain respect for wisdom. If someone is a programmer in their 50s, for example, then it's uncommon but they've usually gotten there by being good at it, and have amassed a truckload of experience. Whether that experience is out of date and will hinder them learning new technologies is unanswerable in the general case. Every older programmer I've worked with has been pretty good, though.

Something mentioned in /. was that people move up to management positions. Personally, I can't stand this idea: programmers generally make poor managers, just as managers generally make poor programmers. I hate that it's seen as career progression to change your role so completely to one where you usually have to work a lot less hard for a lot more pay :/

Full disclosure: I'm over a decade older than most of the people I work with. Nobody seems to mind.
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#11 Amadeus   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 08:34 AM

You're right...career progression is not for everyone, at least not into the management ranks. For some, however, it is the right thing to do. I began my career as a developer, and by all accounts was quite adept. I moved into the management side of things when I realized I wanted to provide more influence for the corporation at a strategic level as opposed to implementation. I do sometimes long for the days of writing code for a living, and have on occasion wistfully wished to return.

I'd have to debate the 'work less hard for more money' postulate however. :)
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#12 baavgai   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:34 AM

View Postmoopet, on 31 August 2010 - 02:12 AM, said:

I think there is probably a level of ageism in computing, but it's definitely offset by a certain respect for wisdom.


Among fellow programmers, sure. Real programmers respect knowledge, if you've kept current you've generally amassed more. Programmer to programmer, age is rarely an issue. Unless some nit says "I miss COBOL..." in which case we beat them. ;)

However, the suits... Work quality is nebulous in all fields. Most managers have no clue what programmers do. In a "just make it work" environment, it's unclear what an experienced programmer saves until the tail end costs of dealing with novice code come back to bite you. I have friends who've played the independent contractor game who seem to feel the bite of ageism. If you're a free agent long enough, but the time you're ready not to be no one wants you.

I'm one of a handful of programmers that keep the custom software humming, in addition to being the DBA. People have panic attacks when I plan my vacation. So, happily, no ageism here.
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#13 Jstall   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 10:48 AM

As someone who is just entering the field at 30 I felt a bit self conscious, I was older than most(but definitely not all ) of my classmates. I am now working full time at a small company so there is no corporate structure to deal with, things are going well. There are people that are five years younger than me with five years more experience but they don't seem to mind, I'm just another noob in their eyes :P
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#14 moopet   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 11:24 AM

View Postbaavgai, on 31 August 2010 - 03:34 PM, said:

However, the suits... Work quality is nebulous in all fields. Most managers have no clue what programmers do. In a "just make it work" environment, it's unclear what an experienced programmer saves until the tail end costs of dealing with novice code come back to bite you. I have friends who've played the independent contractor game who seem to feel the bite of ageism. If you're a free agent long enough, but the time you're ready not to be no one wants you.


This is true. But it's just one area where non-programmers don't see what's what. It's like when you're trying to get a job but all the posts are being flooded by recruitment agents who specialise in computing but don't understand that Java isn't Javascript.
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#15 baavgai   User is offline

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Re: Have you experienced Ageism?

Posted 31 August 2010 - 11:39 AM

View Postmoopet, on 31 August 2010 - 12:24 PM, said:

But it's just one area where non-programmers don't see what's what.


Quite.

I like it when companies are looking for five to ten years experience in tech that's only three years old. This happens a lot.

My favorite buzzword for a while was XML. None of the sales guys knew what it was, but they knew it was hot ( but not why ) and their product had it ( but usually not in any meaningful way ).

While that may not seem apropos, it does highlight something every programmer should know, regardless of age. The buzzwords are usually silly and meaningless, but you're expected to know them. Know both what they really are and what people think they are. You can tell someone a JVM runs p-code ( which is true ) and they'll tell you you're wrong, it runs bytecode ( also true ).

People generally have little historical sense when it comes to computers. Even if you know better, it's usually best not to burst their bubble. "Yes, of course, Model-View-Controller is a new concept ( 1979 ). It was invented by Ruby-Rails? You don't say..." :
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