Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

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#1 insanepenguin   User is offline

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Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 30 July 2011 - 05:41 AM

Wanted to ask out of curiosity :D

I started University last September so will graduate at 29. I've played around with computers (hardware) since about 16 years old but only really got into HTML at around 24 and moved on to programming before starting my degree.

Do you think the fact I'm older will affect job prospects when I graduate? I was surprised how many older students I found in my Uni classes, there's guys in their late 30s, 40s and one 57.

Cheers

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Replies To: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

#2 Aphex19   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 30 July 2011 - 06:11 AM

Your age shouldn't be an issue when it comes to employment, you don't need to disclose it necessarily. Employers look for relevant skills and experience (and other things like your personality) before your age, at least, I would hope so.
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#3 Viske   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 30 July 2011 - 07:29 AM

I'll be starting a degree later this year and won't be graduating until I'm 26. Sure, I'll have less experience than other CS graduates that are the same age as me, who may have had some professional experience, but that means that I'll be looking to get involved in Open Source projects, finishing my own projects, essentially doing more than your typical CS student in order to be a 'better candidate'. I imagine this will make up for the lack of professional experience, if only partially.
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#4 Nightfish   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:27 PM

Yea, I was older, too. (and kept getting older as well) As long as you can make a decent case for yourself, it's not much of a detriment. That's all there really is to it. It's not like you could go back in time and make yourself younger. The only thing you can (and should) do is have an answer ready when people ask you about your age. "I was chilling for a few years until I ran out of money and my parenty finally kicked me out at age 26" is not a good one, for example. And people will ask. It's somewhat unusual and people ask about unusual things.
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#5 elgose   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 30 July 2011 - 05:23 PM

I won't be graduating until I'm 26, and if anything I feel better prepared than my (younger) classmates. At the very least, I'm far more focused than when I was fresh out of HS, and it has set me apart in some good ways. I 100% believe I am a better student and a much better CS professional because I had to wait.

I wouldn't worry too much about competing against people your age that graduated at 22 - when you graduate and are looking for a job, your real competition will probably be all the 22 year old grads, and your life experience might be a good way to differentiate yourself.
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#6 NickDMax   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 31 July 2011 - 11:13 AM

I was in the Navy for a few years and so I went to school at 25 and got my first real professional job at about 32. So yea I guess you could say I came in a little late.

However I learned to program when I was 16. In school I didn't really learn a lot about programming - I did however fill a lot of gaps in my knowledge.
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#7 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:58 AM

I started university at 28 and will graduate computer science later this year at the ripe old age of 32. If anything, my age has put me ahead of other job candidates (and I say that with the vast experience of having applied for and gotten 2 "permanentish" internships). Employers see my age, wife and kids as a sign of stability and/or desperation (they know I can't afford to take a day off here or there), and I can also use all the other types of work I've done before to add to my experience base.
I really don't think your age would work against you, maybe if you're pushing 60 or something, but at your age, it's probably more of an advantage than a detriment.
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#8 darek9576   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:46 PM

I completely disagree with all the responses. Although it is a good thing for the employer that you might have the stability - wife, kids - thye might not be interested in putting money to train you because you are older. Only if you go for junior/graduate jobs, then you are ahead. If you aim higher, you loose.
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#9 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:49 AM

It's not like he's going to retire 5 years from now, he'll be under 30 when he graduates, and without seeing any statistics, I'd guess that a newly hired 30 year old grad is likely to stay with a job longer than a newly hired 22 year old grad, who is still young and stupid and may want to travel or live somewhere else or take a year off to find themselves or whatever the hell it is that young people do these days.
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#10 insanepenguin   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:07 AM

hookiethe1 you are right there, once I get in somewhere they'd have to drag me out kicking and screaming I'm hoping for a 30+ year career in computing if I make it to my 60s :D
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#11 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:11 AM

I think that most employers see it that way too, a fresh grad who has never been in the real world doesn't really have a clue what they want to do, but someone who has been in the world for a while and is your age is more likely to be thinking about buying houses and starting retirement plans etc etc and that equals stability.
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#12 insanepenguin   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:41 AM

Definitely, I've been into computing since my teens but only started higher education (excluding a BTEC in 2006) after I was made redundant as a Fork Lift driver in 2009, after 8 years. Probably the best thing to happen to me! That lead to University last year. I know what the real world is like and what a dead end low paying job is like <_<

A lot of my fellow students (the 18 - 20 year olds) don't appear to put 100% in, it's like they think after bumbling through Uni they've hit the jackpot as long as they get a degree and life will be sweet.

I now have a house with my fiancÚ and bills to pay, no time for slacking!

I'm not knocking the young students btw some of them work hard but if I'd of gone to University at 18 I'd of just been drunk and chasing women, would probably of dropped out or scraped by with a low level degree.
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#13 Nightfish   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:26 PM

Well, let's not go overboard here. Honestly, all things being equal, companies are more likely to hire the younger graduate. Age will not work in your favor unless you have some other qualification because of it. Imho, the best you can hope for is age not being a detrimental factor. That's realistic and it's something at least. Sure, compared to an irresponsible brat, a graduate pushing 30 is to be preferred, but not every young graduate is that brat. Frankly, few of the people I've studied CS with were like that.

It all comes back to how you can make things look in your CV. That's what will or won't get you invited for an interview and once you got the invite it mostly depends on personal chemistry, from what I've seen and still see. But if your CV says you've been dicking around for 5-10 years while some kid can draw a straight line from birth to applying for this job you're probably out of luck.
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#14 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 03 August 2011 - 06:33 AM

View PostNightfish, on 02 August 2011 - 11:26 PM, said:

Honestly, all things being equal, companies are more likely to hire the younger graduate. Age will not work in your favor unless you have some other qualification because of it.



Crap. If qualifications are equal, it comes down to a choice between the kid who has never been in the real workforce and quite likely ridden on Mommy and Daddy's money since birth, and a guy who has held a job, gained experience in any number of areas such as customer service, working as part of a team or alone, not to mention a proven work ethic. Even if you bagged groceries for 5 years it at least shows that you can stick with a job for an extended period.
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#15 Nightfish   User is offline

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Re: Anyone venture into University / programming jobs a bit older?, 25+

Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:00 AM

View Posthookiethe1, on 03 August 2011 - 06:33 AM, said:

Crap. If qualifications are equal, it comes down to a choice between the kid who has never been in the real workforce and quite likely ridden on Mommy and Daddy's money since birth, and a guy who has held a job, gained experience in any number of areas such as customer service, working as part of a team or alone, not to mention a proven work ethic. Even if you bagged groceries for 5 years it at least shows that you can stick with a job for an extended period.


Ah yes, and this fictional guy was of course born an orphan and started bagging groceries right after biting his own umbilical cord? While the other guy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never had a care in the world until suddenly he graduated and is applying for a job. Do you notice how this is not "all things being equal"? Which I was taking as a baseline. You even quoted that part. How come you didn't read it? ;)

Yes, if you compare an irresponsible brat to someone who's older and also just starting to work but had to fight tooth and nail for every dime, people will take the older guy. But that is not what it's going to be like, usually. You're already biasing your example towards the old person for no real reason, other than that maybe you can sympathise with him more. Most young people that manage to pull through studying computer science actually have two braincells to rub together. Just look around the forum. Many people here are still 20 and under. They still know their shit, even if they obviously don't have the vast life experience of someone who has bagged fruit for 10 years. Depending on which job we're talking about, this may or may not matter.

Of course it depends on the job. You wouldn't make a 20 year old guy a teamleader. But then again, you wouldn't make a 30 year old guy who has just graduated a teamleader either. What are you going to do with someone fresh from the university? You're going to put him in some kind of entry level position because even if he's done well in class, he's not seen real life software projects yet and for a while he's not going to be that useful because he's still trying to write code with as few lines as possible and his variables will be named "i", "j", "k" and "l". And that goes for the groceries bagger as well.

Seriously, if you have a good reason for just starting to work around age 30, you can mitigate the negative impact your age has when you apply for a job, but you cannot honestly expect to get extra credit for showing up 10 years late to the party. Nobody cares if you packaged fruit for 10 years unless that somehow translates into tangible results with your new job. Maybe it's different in the US, though, I wouldn't know. But around here, when you apply for a job as a programmer, what you need is programming skills. Not knowledge on which fruit goes in the bag first so nothing gets bruised.

Sure, you can make a case for old people. They're more responsible and settled down, but you can make a case for youngins as well. They're more dynamic, quicker to learn and more malleable. Unless you start assuming that the old guy has all the positive traits associated with his age and the young one has all the bad ones associcated with his, honestly, you can't really say anyone would just pick the old dude.

This post has been edited by Nightfish: 03 August 2011 - 11:04 AM

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