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I've been told that to be taken seriously as a job applicant, I should drop years of relevant experience off my résumé, remove the year I got my degree, or both. Or not even bother applying, because no one wants to hire programmers older than them.1

Or that I should found a company, not because I want to, or because I have a product I care about, but because that way I can get a job if/when my company is acquired.

Or that I should focus more on management jobs (which I've successfully done in the past) because… well, they couldn't really explain this one, except the implication was that over a certain age you're a loser if you're still writing code. But I like writing code.

Have you seen this? Is this only a local (Northern California) issue?

If you've ever hired programmers:2

  • Of the résumés you've received, how old was the eldest applicant?
  • What was the age of the oldest person you've interviewed?
  • How old (when hired) was the oldest person you hired?

How old is "too old" to employed as a programmer?

1 I'm assuming all applicants have equivalent applicable experience. This isn't about someone with three decades of COBOL applying for a Java guru job.
2 Yes, I know that (at least in the US) you aren't supposed to ask how old an applicant is. In my experience, though, you can get a general idea from a résumé.


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closed as not constructive by GlenH7, Thomas Owens May 2 '13 at 14:39

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31 Answers 31

There's no rational reason for disciminating programmers because of their age. In fact, even admitting that the age is taken into accout in recruitment process can be assumed as the violation of anti-discrimination policy. There are the programs untertaken to counter such distrimination, such as anonymous job applications: Anonymous job applications may help combat discrimination.

The only thing that really counts are the skills of the future worker. This is what the rational employee should take into account.

There are, however, many companies, that write that they want to hire "for the young, dinamic team". This means, in fact, that they want to hire very young people. But from my experience jobs in that companies have little value. They want to hire young people, that have little experience, weak position on job market and will accept poor salary and bad working conditions (stress, overhours, usually not paid).

I haven't yet met with age discrimination in company, that want to hire an expert (and offer salary worth the qualifications they desire). At least not in Poland.


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