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    I’ve met enough old programmers that were miserably bad. Age is really a poor description of why you should or should not do something. Instead you should define what characteristics you want in your engineers and hire people that meet them, be them old or young.

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      Age is really a poor description of why you should or should not do something.

      Thinking that age is the dominant factor in determining skills for a position leads to seniority lists. Granted, older programmers are more likely to have more experience and knowledge, but age alone doesn’t imply that they do.

      That said, I’ve learned more good practices from older programmers than I have from younger programmers.

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        The worst “old programmers” I have met are those of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mind set…. ie. Refactoring and unit tests are a complete anathema to them.

        Sadly I have met quite a few “old” young programmers too…

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        We can estimate properly…

        Being an old programmer, maybe he can teach me. :)

        If by “estimate properly” he means “mostly avoid it”, then I think he’s correct.

        Other than that, what he says here is true of some old programmers, at least.

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          I appreciate the sentiment, but at least in the US biasing for age in hiring is explicitly prohibited.

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            That’s not true–only bias against those over 40 is prohibited by federal law (cite). (Some states may have more restrictive laws.) It’s entirely lawful to discriminate against employees younger than 40 on the basis of age, and to favor older employees over younger ones even among groups of employees who are all over 40.

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              Woah that’s so weird. Let’s only hire people who aren’t 32

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                True enough–my reading of the article was that the author was promoting 40+ hiring.

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                  Best not to assume it given even people that are 30 are considered old in the Valley and many companies trying to go cheap on labor. If looking for experienced, I call older at least 10 years experience since they’ll have probably done a bunch of stuff.

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              I’m not sure how accurate this actually is (then again, I’m 18…)

              But surely age is not an indication of experience? Not all programmers have been programming since they were 8, that 45 year old may well have started in their late thirties - and it seems like this would negate most of the benefits, while the slight drawbacks still remain.

              Besides, can’t you just hire the best person for the job, who cares how old they are.

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                This is an article about the advantages that come only with age, like experience in communicating, or wisdom about priorities. Most programming jobs have writing code as only a small part of the ways you contribute business value.

                When you’re older, hopefully you’ll appreciate that :)

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                  Age is only a marker of how many days you have seen, it is a bit like exams, they prove you are good at exams, knowledge and time does not equal wisdom, its how you use that knowledge that shows wisdom. If you are willing to learn from your experiences, then that will be valuable, to you if not your current employer.

                  Hiring the right person for the job is difficult, that is why there are so many recruitment agencies, hiring websites, and systems offering to find you the best staff for your needs, but we all bring bias to our hiring decisions and often unwittingly exclude the best candidates for all the wrong reasons. Hiring processes are often about whittling down the number from thousands of applicants to 3 or 4 to call for interview - and then choosing who appears to be the best interviewee on the day - and as a result not about the right person for the job. How do you know that the right people have even applied for the job?

                  I’m currently re-reading my 1999 edition of What color is your parachute by Richard Bolles because I want to find employment that is more than just a job, but also leaves me enough time to do all the other things that interest and excite me.

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                  I think one could instead say “Why one should hire experienced programmers”. While realizing that this is one of the reasons mentioned, all the other reasons seems to be based on this and I am pretty sure that you will find more older experienced programmers, than young experienced programmers.

                  Still, I don’t think it has a lot to do with age, cause I have seen many 20 year old people outperforming 30 year old programmers, simply, because they got interested into programming/IT at a very young age.

                  Also when I say experience I don’t mean how long I sat at a chair in an office. That’s not (necessarily) a way to gain experience. Experience in engineering (maybe in other occupations too) seems to have a lot to do with knowing how things may go wrong. That’s also why a good mixture of professional and hobbyist experience seems to be good. It will show you many ways of things going wrong in the small and in large.