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Are You Too Old For IT?
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hobbie1
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hobbie1,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 12:20:56 PM
Old Dog
Adaptability: Maybe you can't teach the old dog a new trick because the old dog recognizes that the trick is neither new nor worth doing....

Bet there were not many "old dogs" working on the gov health site. The old old dog knows better - under promise and over deliver. Test, test - pilot - and then test some more.

And the Zuker comment is self serving - then again his legions will be "old" someday. All the money in the world will not stop that from happening.
BillS20101
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BillS20101,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 12:04:45 PM
Re: Similar Dynamic
Ageism exists where hiring managers focus on skills rather than values, abilities, and skills.  Plenty of older technologists value learning and advancing their careers and have the abilities to do so.  Focusing on a particular skill, e.g. Ruby on Rails, eliminates some of the best, most consistently creative people out there.  Here's a specific example of where "experience" trumped the willingness to work 80 hour weeks. 

A particular company had a system that required constant, I mean 7x24, babysitting.  They had run this system the same way for many years and considered production support the "trial by fire" for their developers.   One "experienced" hire, worked on the system for 6-8 weeks and reduced the 52 hour weekend batch to 6 hours and the overnight 12 hour process to 90 minutes.   His values, doing things effectively and efficiently, resulted in far greater benefit than 5-6 years of people who valued "working long hours". Sure this "could" have been done by a younger person if they had the same value system - but I contend those values are developed through experience.  It's experience that results in true appreciation that 80% of a system life cycle is maintenance; that you need to manage productivity which drops with extended hours; and that a great technology department is a reusable resource to be nurtured rather than burned through.  

http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~eroberts/cs181/projects/2004-05/crunchmode/econ-crunch-mode.html

TBC - I love the enthusiasm, the new knowledge, the desire that new blood brings to a department. Without new ideas the tech department will wither.  Not all "experienced" people have the right value set - continuous learning, doing things better, adapting to paradigm shifts - but those that do make an invaluable resource. 

 

 

 
BenCronin04
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BenCronin04,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 11:20:59 AM
Re: Can't Wait
I see both sides. As a "younger" individual in IT, I have been passed up for positions strictly based on my lower age. "We think you'd do a great job in this position, unfortunately we are not sure if our clients would feel comfortable with having someone of you age in this high of a position."  Once I have enough equity to branch out and start my own business, that will be one factor I WILL NOT allow to influence my decisions.
Alison Diana
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Alison Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
11/20/2013 | 11:03:50 AM
Can't Wait
I believe there is a lot of ageism in tech -- and tech firms are depriving themselves of a lot of wisdom, savvy employees, and running into problems these workers could have helped them avoid. Some of these young-oriented companies will make missteps in their efforts to focus on "culture," and I hope these more seasoned applicants catch them in the act, take them to court for discrimination, and win. Heartbreaking to see so many potentially strong employees put out to pasture.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2013 | 10:11:19 AM
Similar Dynamic
There's a similar (though not the same) dynamic in the legal industry, where big firms hire lots of young people fresh out of law school and expect them to work 70-hour weeks, all while the leathery partners punch the standard clock. The big difference is that the lawfirm employers aren't suggesting that the young lawyers have the fresher skills. (Meantime, the Zuckerberg comment is just nauseating.) 
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