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kurisutofu
kurisutofu

Posted on

Age of programmers, have you experienced drawbacks?

Recently, I've stumbled upon a company that seemed nice and with a good product.
I often bookmark those for the day I decide to really try to go back to a programming role and may decide to apply.

When I bookmark a company, I usually add notes about the position and what attracted me in the first place so I read the details.

I saw in the section "Preferred", listed with desirable skills, that the maximum age desired is 35 years-old.

I was a little shocked because I'm 37 years old and also because I thought and still think that older people can program as well as younger ones.

That was the only instance I saw but I was wondering, have you seen this kind of things in open positions at your company or other?

Do you think age is important?

I agree a younger mind could understand new things faster.
However, I think that a lot in programming comes easier with experience and if you'd need to update your knowledge, you can usually do it quick enough by drawing on what you've seen in the past.

Top comments (9)

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

Ageism's a thing. IBM got caught recently trying to specifically push out older employees to make room for younger replacements, for one, and having a harder time landing an individual contributor role seems to be a common experience among older workers looking for jobs although I don't know of any hard figures on the subject offhand.

The idea that younger people learn faster is an excuse; there's a reason experience commands higher salaries, after all. Companies like younger employees because they're cheaper, more tractable, and tend to have fewer external commitments such as relationships or children.

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kurisutofu profile image
kurisutofu

Good points, I didn't think of the salary and commitment.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited on

If they require 35 year max that's definitely age discrimination, in a pretty shocking manner. Borders on unethical and in some countries this would probably even be illegal.

IMO this is very similar to discrimination based on gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc etc ... but those would be completely taboo (in other words you can't get away with it so easily), discrimination on age a bit less so, probably. But still.

I've rarely seen this form of explicit ageism/age discrimination, in most cases it would probably be more subtle (e.g. they reject your application as soon as they know your birthdate/age, without telling you the reason).

Just one word, ridiculous.

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kurisutofu profile image
kurisutofu • Edited on

I live in Japan and what is considered racist/discrimination/sexism or not here is different than somewhere else. For example, it's totally fine to refuse to rent an apartment because you're a foreigner.
They would tell right to your face: "no foreigner", not even something they don't say and we all pretend this is not the reason ...
Another one would be refusing to employ a woman because "she can get pregnant" even though this one is changing these days. They don't outright say it anymore so I guess we are going forward, slowly.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited on

Well I'm sure that Japan is not unique, all over the world if people want to discriminate then they will find an excuse, or maybe they don't even try to conceal it. But what matters is if a country has laws and enforcement in place, for instance giving you the ability to file a complaint somewhere. Are there no laws in Japan that prohibit discrimination against women for the reasons you mention? Or maybe the laws are there but the enforcement is weak.

By the way, part of the solution (or the job applications) would be if people can do the first part of their application anonymously, so without having to mention their age, name (which often gives away ethnicity), gender etc in their resume, and after that a skills based "blind test". If the outcome of those two things (resume and test) are (very) positive then a company would need a very convincing story to subsequently reject a candidate during the rest of the process.

I understand that this is not always possible, but IT/development is an area where it might work. Maybe people will call this not realistic but in our age of increasing focus on 'inclusiveness' there may be a point when applicants or society in general start demanding this kind of thing.

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kurisutofu profile image
kurisutofu

For the question asked to woman, I believe it is forbidden now so that's why they stopped openly saying it.

I always thought that if I can have employees, I would implement an anonymized resume review system so managers would not be tempted.
Of course, that does not solve the issue after the face-to-face meeting but still, it would be a start.

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leob profile image
leob

Exactly ... I read yesterday that there's a party in the UK (they have elections coming in December) that advocates anonymized job applications, exactly what I was thinking ...

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yashsway profile image
Yash Kadaru

I don't think age is important at all. What is important is: do you fit what the company is looking for? I think in general, to be a great programmer, you have to be open to learning and be able to challenge yourself constantly.

That being said, I agree with what @DianFay says... younger people do have less commitment in life, and tend to be slightly cheaper labour, and easier to 'mould' in their eyes.

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kurisutofu profile image
kurisutofu

Yes, I agree, fit is more important.
However, when the position description restricts the age, you can't even appeal to that :(

Timeless DEV post...

Git Concepts I Wish I Knew Years Ago

The most used technology by developers is not Javascript.

It's not Python or HTML.

It hardly even gets mentioned in interviews or listed as a pre-requisite for jobs.

I'm talking about Git and version control of course.

One does not simply learn git