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Discussion on: Why Older People Struggle In Programming Jobs

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Giorgos Sarigiannidis

In my opinion, it's a more generic issue, regarding the adaptability of older people to new situations and learning new things.

Personally, I attribute it more to a lack of willingness to change their views of the world and challenge their beliefs. Younger people usually know that they know nothing and that they have a lot to learn, so they are more open to new information. Older people, on the other hand, learned a few things that proved to be efficient at some point in their life and they are not easily willing to reevaluate them and test if they are still relevant.

In my opinion, the fewer certainties you have, the easier it is to learn new things. And younger people tend to have fewer certainties in their lives compared to older ones, that's why they learn easier.

Apart from that, some people view the learning process as something that you do once in your life (school/university), acquire the knowledge that you need, and walk with it for the rest of your life. Others, on the other hand, realize that education never ends and that learning is a part of their everyday life. The latter should be able to adapt easier to change and they probably enjoy the learning process, the same process that makes the former category feel uneasy.

I'm 40 but I never felt that learning something new becomes harder as time passes, and I attribute it to the fact that I actually enjoy the learning process. Doing the same thing for a long time might make my job easier, as I can do it faster and more efficiently, but at the same time bores me to death and after a while, I want to learn something new to extend my knowledge. Not always for practical reasons, but sometimes just for the fun of it.

In fact, I feel that I learn faster now than when I was in my 20s, because now I have the experience to easier identify the garbage from what seems to have some real value and potential. In discussions with people of my age, I often see a pattern where they seem to be afraid of the changes in technologies, and they get frustrated and even scared when a technology that they use and rely on seems to become obsolete. The idea that in 5-10 years they might do something entirely different than the thing that they do now, seems to terrify some of them. I, on the other hand, still find the very same idea fascinating. I don't rule out that someday I will get tired of it and change my views, but I hope that this day will not come too soon.