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I know some a few programmers at my work around 40 years old. I don't remember seeing a programmer at work who is 50+. We have 600 people, of which probably 100 are programmers. Is it uncommon to still be working as a programmer at 50+?

One can argue, you would be better off managing people, but not everyone is good at that, and some people just want to do the actual work because of passion, etc.

Would it be weird if you are still trying to work at 50, or even 60? I imagine it could create all sorts of social issues, i.e. working in games where most people are very young, straight out of college, etc. I feel it would make it hard to form friendships, due to age difference.

Or how would your expertise be considered compared to others, etc.

Anyone has experience or opinions about these?

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closed as not constructive by Justin Cave, James McLeod, Loki Astari, gnat, mattnz Mar 9 '13 at 7:52

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I work with plenty of developers that are well north of 60. This is really more of a survey question, though, so I would expect that it is going to be closed. –  Justin Cave Mar 9 '13 at 6:04
That's good to hear. Then I guess the industry you work in also affects the age difference. –  Joan Venge Mar 9 '13 at 6:09
possible duplicate of How old is "too old"? –  gnat Mar 9 '13 at 7:18
I'd guess there are fewer old programmers since there were fewer computers when they were young. Many of them might also work maintaining systems written with old technologies. –  CodesInChaos Mar 9 '13 at 18:32
I'm 50-something and still coding. I'll code for as long as I can do it. I probably won't be working for a "cool" company like Google or Apple but I'll be able to find work. My grandfather and father, who weren't programmers, didn't retire until they were in their 80's because they loved their work. I plan to do the same. –  jfrankcarr Mar 9 '13 at 20:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is no maximum? Providing someone is capable of doing the job, there is no reason their skills can't be employed.

Personally I've worked with programmers up to their retirement which is 65 in Australia. Given that software development isn't an old industry, I would imagine that is why you've not seen many "old timers", but they do exist.

If I can generalize, the ones I've worked with tend to be slower but more thorough. It's amusin when you put them next to a 20 year old.

I made friends with "old programmers" out of uni, and indeed mature age students. It's no differ to any other occupation in that regard.

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Age of industry (to have been a programmer all your career and to be retiring now, you had to start in an era when there was a lot less programming work) and the fact that a number of common career paths for programmers take them out of programming. –  Carson63000 Mar 9 '13 at 10:10

Competency is far more important than age. I'm currently working with a contractor who is north of 50, whose every check-in makes me want to slam my head against my desk.

Nothing to do with his age though: my predecessor was, in the words of our help-desk team leader 'older than the grave', and his code is just beautiful.

Heck, I'm 29, and my preference would be to work with more experienced programmers any day.

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