[Baypiggies] Chompapps Position - from Issue 31
DennisR at dair.com
Fri Oct 30 02:47:54 CET 2009
At 12:00 AM 10/29/2009, resmith at runbox.com wrote:
> But at what point did the person [one age] start to underperform
> the another age?
As someone who has over 40 years of computer industry experience, I
have been through this several times. One point of diminished
technical performance coincides with promotion into management. Your
scope widens while your specialty focus is lost. I have found it
necessary to re-invent myself several times.
The half-life of technical knowledge was thought to be 5 years some
40 years ago. I don't think it is even that long now. Consider the
topics of the last year's Baypiggies. Are half the foundations of
those talks over 5 years old ... or more like 18 months? How old are
the tools, files, and technologies you deal with. Are half over 5
years old? ... or less?
Technical work requires an ability to re-invent oneself. For a new
programmer, this is easier than one who has acquired habits since
there is less to "un-invent". Further, the university environment
may provide access to recent tools and technologies, providing a
Old technical workers with, say 20 years experience, can have 4
distinct careers of 5 years duration each or the same 5 year career
repeated 4 times. The one who has distinct careers would be a good
bet to tackle a fifth new career. The one who has repeated the same
experience 4 times over, almost by definition is working in an area
that is unchanging. It is easy to pick up habits over time; some of
them are beneficial but not necessarily all.
I can testify that age discrimination occurs at both ends of the age
scale ... and pretty much everywhere in between. People are
constantly judging you against their internalized expectations.
Companies which advertise for "bright, young workers" or other ageist
designations seem to me to be creating a social environment, not a
business. "Young" is not an output measure; it may be trying to meet
other objectives ("cheap" heads my list).
My 2 cents, albeit ravaged by inflation over the years.
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