Sign up ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free.

I have been doing web developmwnt for 3 years in php/joomla/jquery/mysql. I am now learning python/django/sysadmin/j2ee just to expand my knowledge.

I am 28 and I can find jobs, but I was thinking if I go beyond 40 or 45 then there is every chance that companies will look for younger people, because you can always find young people with similar skills if not experience.

So I was thinking, do I need to keep the same role as a web developer or do I need to seek a career path where age does not matter and experience is the key.

I have a relative who worked for 15 years as a programmer, and is now 38. He became the recruiter for an agency which provides IT candidates to other companies. I think that sort of position is not linked to age. I may be wrong.

The other option I was thinking of is to keep in mind that by the time I get to 40 or above, I should have enough links with clients so that I can get enough freelance work to make my living. Because then I don't have to be at the mercy of jobs, and age won't matter.

So I just want to know: as programmer what is the future after 40 or 50?

Because if we have that kind of goal, we need at least 10-15 years to get to that point.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by ChrisF Jan 30 '12 at 22:43

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you think that you're still going to be doing even close to the same thing in 12-17 years, you're wrong (well, at least I hope you are for your career's sake).

Yes, whichever company will always fill your current role and capacity with someone young, new and fresh. Your job as your career progresses is to learn and grow, opening doors for you in anything from senior developer roles (or technical director type roles if you're good enough) to management, etc. Roles that requires that experience that you've gained along the way.

Having said that, if you choose to have a stagnant career (meaning don't develop and get better with experience), then chances are that you would eventually be let go for someone who not only can do what you do for cheaper, but who is hungry and has the ambition that you would be apparently lacking if this was the case.

At the end of the day, it sounds to me like you have absolutely no idea of what your career progression should be. If you're currently working for a company, have a chat with your manager or lead developer. Find out what the career progression is within that company. If they don't have one and can't help you get better, I would strongly suggest looking elsewhere, somewhere that does have something along those lines.

share|improve this answer
If you mean changing roles but that won't make any difference . If i learn new language , then there is every possiblity to find fresh people with that skill because one company usually follows one language. so i think i need to change the jo as developer , can always find one. If u mean that i need to cnage from developer to something else which fresh poeple can't do then i agree. Thats what i want to know what are variuos options. like @V4v said to launch own product. i agree with that and that can also be the option –  mario May 26 '11 at 6:28
@osama: One company most definitely does not follow one language unless it's a hole in the wall, ma 'n pa shop that is horribly run. While you may focus on one particular language, there are always uses to introduce different languages and tech stacks into your daily work life. It's up to you to figure what to incorporate and how. –  Demian Brecht May 26 '11 at 6:33
@osama (cont'd): Does your current employer not have a developer hierarchy? Meaning, is there not a lead, maybe another tier of developers, followed by a level of new hires? If not, again, I might start looking elsewhere (as in entirely different company), as you don't seem to have any career progression, which can lead to a stagnant career. –  Demian Brecht May 26 '11 at 6:35
@osama (cont'd cont'd): I also agree that launching your own product is a great exercise and can definitely be a great move if you're business and tech minded. Be forewarned though, that to do something like this successfully (as a means of a career), you really need to know your stuff, both technical and business. If it was easy to do, developers wouldn't work for anyone else.. Every one of them would be running their own businesses. –  Demian Brecht May 26 '11 at 6:37
i ahve worked for 2 companies and i was the sole developer there , so i have no knowledge about how teirs work. –  mario May 26 '11 at 8:25

What is my goal would be the absolute first question to ponder upon. You are 3 years old now and with time you move on to 15 (at par with your relative) but what changes is the transformation of thoughts along these years say 3 -> 15.

As you work on different areas of interest so do you expand on your thoughts.It would be very likely that some years down the line you would breakup from your job and do a startup or get immersed into Open source initiatives. You may also choose to switch roles but the essential thing is with the a goal or progress path you are more likely to succeed and able to say to yourself rather than others that i have made it to this , i worked so that i could launch my own product or wanted to design a X type application.

There is always a future of programmers and most of them is driven by the experience and insight gained by him over the years of programming.

share|improve this answer
I agree with startup option. AT least i don't hvae to worry about income source when i become old. But its good to have that aim before hand so that u have enough time during job to make that happen –  mario May 26 '11 at 6:31

Jut FYI, age discrimination is highly illegal, and the penalties can be severe for a company. No company that you'd want to work for will be doing that. If you stay up to date and sharp, you should have no problems working well past 50. The question is, do you want to?

share|improve this answer
If company don't call you for interview by looking at your age what u can do –  mario May 26 '11 at 8:14
I don't put my age on resumés. Obviously based on the content, they can make an educated guess but at that stage, they should be looking at the skillset I'm selling them. –  temptar May 26 '11 at 9:29
In practice, I see wage, attitude (desire to continue growing and learning versus having a life) and speed being factors. If you are in the average or below average part of the bell curve, it gets increasingly harder the older you get. Want to survive, be in the upper part of the bell curve. However, good news, 75% of developers think they are in the top 25%. –  Jim Rush May 26 '11 at 12:39

Planning for your IT career imply you can predict how technology will evolve.

If I can predict the future, I can control it.

But the truth is that you can't predict the future. Therefore this statement, which is called Effectuation, seems more appropriate:

If I can control the future, I do not need to predict it.

How to control your future? By being a great and rapid learner. Being able to embrace changes faster than others will allow you to adapt to the future with ease.

  • So put yourself in danger.
  • Be interested in many different things.
  • Read technical books for at least 2 or 3 hours a week (more if you can).
  • Subscribe to technical blogs.
  • Each time you face something you don't know or don't understand, learn about it (you don't have to master it).
  • Don't follow the herd.

Become a real learning machine. Hungry of new knowledge. Happy to share it. Curious about everything. Passionated.

share|improve this answer
My main problem is not about learning new stuff , i can always do that . but what thing is worring me that even if i know all technologies of world , after 40 or 50 , i have less chances of job as company want young crowd and they will eventually find one as well . our manager was once reading resume and he told us that he want young people not old. So i was thinking there is no job security for programmer after 40 or 50 even if u stay upto date. –  mario May 26 '11 at 8:21
you don't have to master it i like that line. But i am confused with this how far to go in that line. Suppose i started learning J2EE , then how far i should go , there is always plenty to do even if u do for 10 years –  mario May 26 '11 at 8:28
@Osama Without Laden: if good to anticipate problems like you do, a bit, but you should really focus on investing in yourself. Be a problem solver, and you won't face any problem finding a job. –  user2567 May 26 '11 at 8:46
+1 We need more problem solvers in this industry. It is a scarce commodity. –  Spoike May 26 '11 at 12:49

I know of so many father son/daughter pairs working in the industry, in the same company. I have heard of a Grandfather/father/son combo too!

Age is just a number as long as you are good at what you do. It gets easier to stick around at the top though - So get good and grow good I guess, if you want max security.

Btw, 50 is nothing - I have worked with a 72 year old razor sharp gentleman and programmed alongside many 50's.

share|improve this answer
In the father son combo case , do father or grand father was also programmer ?? –  mario May 26 '11 at 9:52
Yes - and they were apparently on the same company's payroll together at one time. Hearsay though. –  Subu Subramanian May 26 '11 at 9:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.