I’m in my 50’s and have been working as a software engineer for 11+ years now. I believe you can do anything if you have a passion for it.
Let's talk about ageism in tech ; it’s rampant among hiring managers, recruiters and team leaders. That being said, I know many people in tech who focus on getting the job done - not how old their teammates are.
I’ve been out of work since this pandemic started and interviewing has been a nightmare.
Here are some of the red flags of ageism I've seen in the interview process:
First interview is a video interview
The focus is on regurgitating algorithmic computations - not on the technologies you will work with
They request a photo
The job description asks for “recent graduates”
Requesting graduation dates in the education section of the application
Its a start-up and they ask you if late night office parties will be a problem
They ask you how old your children are
The video interview includes the entire team and one person who is your age & gender
Here are a few that are out and out illegal:
Are you married?
How old are you?
Are you healthy?
When did you graduate?
When do you expect to retire?
If this sounds like I know a bit about this, its because I’ve been looking for a job for 8 months now and I’ve experienced all of it.
I have thought about consulting and freelancing as an alternative and that may be the direction I have to go in now. I’ve been successfully contributing to software development for more than a decade with some great work especially in online education and accessibility platforms.
It seems like no one values my experience. The attitude is what work did you do today? Which is fine, if you ask me to make an app; but if you want me to whiteboard some nebulous code to show you I understand a binary search - its not going to be a barometer to show what I can do as an employee.
Okay, rant over.
I love my work and as messed up as this issue is for people in my age group, I don’t let anyone tell me what I can do with my life. If I want to stick with it I will because it’s my life. No one tells me when it's time for me to quit except me. Opportunities are out there and I will find the right ones for me.