Programmers are getting old, too

Dan_Ingalls

Programming is a young discipline but many of its practitioners are already quite old. If you graduated in computer science in early eighties you are already in your fifties by now! Your career probably begun programming in Cobol on VAX miniframes, followed by a dozen years of Clipper MS DOS applications and Microsoft Visual Basic client/server applications, and you've ended programming "web applications" using .NET framework for some (para)-government institution. With government austerity in full swing, many established software vendors went bankrupt or through substantial layoffs, thus pushing many older programmers into unemployment for the first time. I've got in touch with some of these programmers lately when we posted a job offer at a local employment service and got a stream of candidates who usually don't apply to our job listings. Keeping pace with technological innovation for 30 or 40 years is not a small feat and many senior programmers lost contact with latest tools and technology. It's very sad to watch a 52-years old unemployed programmer trying to get grip in PHP in order to improve his job prospects.

Keeping care of older generations is one of the main missions of alumni association of computer science department of University of Ljubljana where I serve as a board member. We plan to put much more stress to this problem and if you have some ideas how to help older generations of programmers let me know in the comments.

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