IT Employment

IT is best suited for the young? I don't think so

Toni Bowers addresses a controversial blog by Jack Wallen in which he says that IT is better suited for young people.

Last week, one of TechRepublic's freelance writers, wrote a piece for the 10 Things blog called, "10 things you gotta have to succeed in IT." This piece caused a mini-furor among its readers, as evidenced by the discussion following it. The part that most people objected to in Jack's piece was his assertion that IT is better suited for younger professionals. Here's what he said:

Although I like to think IT is a field not affected by age discrimination, it really is best suited for the younger professionals. There are numerous reasons for this. First, there are the hours. IT often requires far more hours than the usual 9-t0-5 job. When a company goes down, the administrator must respond - and this could easily mean any time of day, night, or week. Those hours add up and (generally speaking) only the younger workers can keep those types of hours up week after week. Add to that the energy required to keep systems and networks up, and it should be obvious the best IT workers tend to fall into that 25 to 45 age range. The good news? Even if you start at the age of 25, there's a 20-year career waiting for you.

First, I would like to tell everyone what I told those people who wrote to me to take me to task for "letting" something like that get published on TechRepublic. I can see where many people would assume TR would have to approve of a message in order to publish it. That's not true or else I'd be out of a job (ba dum dump!!). Blogs tend to, in general, carry the personal opinions of their writers. The internal editors may not always agree with the writer but we leave it to our excellent readers to point out issues with viewpoints they don't agree with.

However, from a personal standpoint, I feel the need to have to a go at Jack's logic in this particular instance. In my blog, I have long argued for the importance of experience in the job. IT is no exception. Here's my point-by-point rebuttal:

Hours - Wouldn't long hours actually be more of a burden on a younger IT person? Seems to me the 25-45 age group he cites would be somewhat busy starting their lives, e.g., getting married, raising kids, laying the groundwork for a lifetime of alcoholism. Speaking for my old, decrepit self, I'm more willing to work longer hours these days (now that my kid is 21 and embarrassed to be seen with me) than I was when he was little. Energy levels - The day I don't have the energy to sit upright at a desk and look at a computer is the day I call it quits. I had a problem with his statement, "Add to that the energy required to keep systems and networks up, and it should be obvious the best IT workers tend to fall into that 25 to 45 age range." First of all, it's not like "keeping the systems running" requires you to manually generate electricity on a stationary bike. Again, when my son was little, I had to fix his meals, get him to day care/school, go to his games, help with homework, do the grocery shopping, work full-time, clean house and, at various times, take classes myself. With him being grown, it's like semi-retirement. I have more energy (and more focus) now than I ever did.

And last, speaking from a strictly editorial viewpoint, one should avoid statements like "it should be obvious." The implication is that if the reader does not agree then he or she is "missing the obvious" and is perhaps somehow deficient. And that tone may have been what put people off. My fear is also that Jack's point of view might be adopted by osmosis by some hiring managers out there and that is WAY unfair (and illegal if said managers decide to state that viewpoint in an interview).

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go. Matlock is on.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

75 comments
Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can't retire his experience. He must use it. Experience achieves more with less energy and time. - Bernard Baruch Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. - J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2003 (I think Jack Wallen may be guilty as charged!) Age to me means nothing. I can't get old; I'm working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you're working, you stay young. - George Burns (1896 - 1996) When youre my age you'll thank me. (Unknown) "Youth doesnt beat Experience at IEM Masters" http://www.karthickgopal.com/2011/01/in-online-gaming-youth-doesnt-beat-experience-iem-masters/ Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut (O'Rourke, P. J.) Enough of the cliche`s. The point is, while a young person may be the subject matter expert on the latest and greatest thing in I.T.; the odds are, that's all they know. They don't know anything in detail about alternative technologies, or the pluses and minuses between them. Give a young person a tool box, and they invariably reach for the the hammer, every damn time; instead of considering the situation and chosing the most efficient tool in the box. Which of course translates into time and money wasted. Your older workers have decades of experience. Some of them have been around long enough to see the newest generation making the same mistakes first made by the first generation; mistakes who's record and solutions only reside in the brains of those grey hairs you're trying to push out. Here's a better solution. Those young subject matter experts, use them in a consulting mode. If you're a big enough company, plan your I.T. division with a cradle to grave production line where you hire the young person with individual new technology or application integration projects in mind. After a few years of that, move them into other positions where their experiences can accumulate. Aim to retain that corporate knowledge until your oldest workers can retire. Make sure you rotate tasks amoung all your older workers. That keeps them interested in the job, exposes them to newer tech, ensures they maintain currency. Show me a company made up of only young I.T. workers, and I'll show you a company with no staying power that won't be around in 5 years.

daniel.timmons
daniel.timmons

It depends on your definition of young. While in my 50's, with over 30 years experience in this field, I count myself amoung the young. If ever I fell like I might be getting old, I go ask my father, who just turned 81, and he lets me know if I am or not.

kevin
kevin

"Jack Wallen has been a writer for more than 12 years. Covering nearly all facets of technology as well as writing fiction, Jack's primary focus is on the Linux operating system and its effects on the open source and non-open source communities. Of course, Jack doesn't limit himself to just Linux! He also covers the Android mobile platform as well as Windows." In other words, he doesn't have a real job, but is qualified to write about those who do? hahahaha

Harry.Hiles
Harry.Hiles

...it's the passion for your work that keeps you going. Plus, with age (usually) comes wisdom, which means you work smarter, not just harder. Toni made a good point about available time. When I was younger, there were kids to take care of (thank goodness my wife did this!). As the kids grew older, we had more time to devote to other things, both work and leisure. The only issue with age I can see is the ability to learn new things. IT is continually changing and requires new techniques, knowledge and skills. If you are unwilling or unable to keep up with the changes, then perhaps it's time to let the younger crowd handle it. ;-)

supperboy
supperboy

Well i've seen enough of laziness. It takes one v energy drink for an 18 year old to come and try to attack an 8 year old for about an hour. After that he banishes into... somewhere. how u if you are a parent checked where he he/she? I have and i have my answers. Do you. Energy is no used the way it was desired to be. Laziness has been created by a virtual world that may not ever help human kind. Where are you hun?

schmidtd
schmidtd

IT often has a lower barrier to entry because technology keeps changing. If you need someone to implement the next Wiz Bang technology (which really may be Wiz Bang btw), someone who just took a class on Wiz Bang 2.5 will likely get you up and running faster than the smartest and greatest COBAL programmer on the planet. Also, sorry to say, as you get older, you learn slower typically. This IS balanced out by the fact that often there isn't anything new under the sun, so some of that stuff you learned from COBAL may well help you understand Wiz Bang 2.5 a little more thoroughly. I don't want to be a downer for older IT workers, am becoming (am?) one myself. Experience matters, but IT is very different than many other professions. Compare IT to say, being a captain of a fishing boat. Who is more likely to get the big catch, the 20 year old who took a fishing class or the 60 year old salt who has been fishing in the same waters for 50 years. Or a new plumber vs. an experienced one and so on.

gechurch
gechurch

Thanks Toni. I always enjoy your writing. I only half agree with your assertions in this article. Your comments on hours I definitely agree. I'm 29 now and I struggle with time and tiredness. I have two young children and being a dad neccessarily impacts on my work. Kids need picking up from daycare, books read to them at night, they need nappy changes in the middle of the night etc. The list goes on and on. I just don't have the time for work now that I used to. I used to love staying up til all hours of the morning researching the latest trend, or learning a new programming language or whatever. I just don't have the time to do that anymore for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I can't wait until I'm 45+ and again have much more time for learning. I don't agree with your comments on energy though. Clearly sitting at a desk is not what Jack was referring to. There are many facets of IT life that drain our energy. Most are mental. IT workers are generally very busy, when problems occur there are pressures to fix them immediately, and there is stress because of he importance of the systems. These can all wear us down over time. That said, I don't agree with Jack that age is a big factor. Sure, younger people on the whole are probably affected by this less. But that's because they tend to be in more junior positions and are shielded from the stresses by those higher up who are paid to deal with the stress. If you get rid of those higher up and asked the juniors to take responsibility for the major systems, they would be worn down quickly too. In fact, much quicker I expect. I know that I am much better at dealing with stress than I used to be.

sboyles
sboyles

If you look at what doctors have to do there are lots of similarities to IT workers. They also work insane numbers of hours and constantly have to upgrade their skills due to new advancements in medical research. And yet you don't hear people say that doctoring is a young person's game. The difference is that doctors are respected for the knowledge they gain over their lifetime and IT workers aren't. Why this persistent age discrimination exists in the IT world is strange and hopefully it will go away as more and more people see that age has very little to do with effectiveness and it really comes down to the individuals themselves. Some people make better doctors than others based on their skills, knowledge, exposure to different experiences, desire to learn, and good work ethic. The same can be said for IT workers.

archie_t
archie_t

You just proved and validated my comment to Jack's blog, that the #11 requirement to work in IT is a sense of humor. Thanks!

rm.hutchings
rm.hutchings

1. If you are in IT, 40-hour weeks are rare. Older workers MAY have less stamina to keep putting in 60 hours, week after week after week. However, I don't think this should be a blanket statement. Each person is different.

gypkap
gypkap

The point to this thread is that experienced programmers and operators can often outthink newer people. I once worked with a group of minicomputers that were on occasionally. One night, the operators couldn't get the master computer to reboot, which involved flipping two switches. This was about the time that Oral Roberts got his lightning shot in his "prayer tower." I started goofing around after the operators gave, and gave it my best "Jeeesus, Heeel this computer!!!" I flipped the boot switches one more time and it started right up. Needless to say, I got funny looks the rest of the evening.

wordsmithjr
wordsmithjr

Assuming we are talking about IT and not contact sports. Age should not be a factor. What you know, how you work and quality of your contribution to the employer are the important issues not age.

lisa.zelazny
lisa.zelazny

I think age diversity is a key part of any industry. But not because one age can work longer hours than the other, because they have had different experiences and therefore have different strengths. Experience is a very essential part of IT management because no matter how the technology changes, the same basic constant concepts apply. For example, the most important part of a backup isn???t which tape drive technology is used. It is about the recovery of lost data and systems and the risks associated with that. I agree that people in the mid 20???s and early 30???s have a greater ability to be awake for longer hours in a day, but I can???t say that I have seen them apply this necessarily to work. I am sure I work more hours than many of them. Then again at that age there is so much more to do than work. So let???s not blame the generation, it is a right of passage for the age (and boy is it fun)! The reality of this economic time is that everyone who has a job has to work long hours if they want to keep it. So I don???t think there is an advantage for any generation. So basically it???s about ???sucking it up and dealing with it.??? Gotta go and get back to work???.

cdasso45
cdasso45

Thank you, as an independent consultant for 25 years and now a director of application development for a major financial firm, I can certainly tell you the importance of the knowledge experience alone brings to business critical applications in a fast moving industry.......'nuff said.

jj3666
jj3666

After working 15 years in IT with the 24-hour on-call emergencies, I became ill. After a grueling recovery, I went back to work and was handed a pink slip. After long consideration, I realized that companies ask the ridiculous of IT persons and usually do not compensate them enough for it. I believe once enough IT'ers start saying, if you need complete uptime ( and because your company does not have alternative plans in place like redundancy ) then you should have a consultant(s) on call that could step in to assist your IT department to help them not burn them out. I know about 8 others who have switched their career over this issue and family life, and three of them are a serious loss to the IT community as their abilities were in the upper percentiles. So stand up for yourself (and your whole department). I now can only work part time, and I have chosen to be 'the consultant' who can step in and lend a hand. I have found that when I am there, educating the managers/owners about this topic, most are inclined to help their staff out as much as possible.

gmack
gmack

Young Jack (and the comments that followed) seem to mostly have missed one important point: if you're working in such a way that you always have fires to fight in the middle of the night, well then you're not working intelligently. If you build systems that constantly go down, then you're not a very good builder. An experience is what teaches most of us how to build systems right. I've got almost 40 years in the business, I'm still innovating, doing and teaching the young too, and when I ran 24/7 operations for an international company, I had only one call per nine months ... and my bottom level techs had less than one phone call per week, and most of the problems were dealt with by the tech without leaving home. Jack, you have some learning still to do.

fhrivers
fhrivers

In IT, perception has become reality. Your typical IT worker has always been seen as a 20-something year old slender male nerd. HR goons tend to write older workers off as obsolete. The truth is that working in IT is the equivalent of working in E.R. except the pay is much sh*ttier. We're expected to respond to issues at any hour of the day with little to no pay for it. IT isn't for anyone unless you want to burn out quickly and switch careers at 40 years old. Save yourself the time and anguish by just staying clear from IT in the first place.

mcswan454
mcswan454

Here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PDP-8.jpg At age 15, I began an interesting career in a private school, learning things I'd probably not have learned at the local Public school. But enough of that... I'm fast approaching 47 (July 18), and don't regret a minute of it. As far as the youths are concerned, they wouldn't even know what that image represents. If anyone doubts that experience is valuable in this day and age; that I've met way too many MCSE's, etc., who do not know how to swap an HDD (no joke), yet have jobs I'm no longer being hired for because I'm a Tech, not a C-level (given my age), come talk to me. Here's the thing: "The problem with being 'there', or having been 'there' is that you know more than people who WEREN'T there. The trick is, getting them to believe it." Were it not for us "old folk", who simplified the PCs in a way that "point and click" is pretty much ubiquitous, what would the youth do? Anyone under the age of 35 want to parse shell scripts with me? Anyone under 35 even know what CLI is anymore? Some of you do. But I'll bet if I drop that age by 10 years to Jack's "entry-level", I'll get the "Scooby-Doo" look (head turned to one side, one ear up, as if to say "WHAT THE **** "?). Jack is so incorrect in his appreciation of the people who've brought tech to where it is, as to be astounding. Thanks Toni. I do appreciate your response. My reply to Jack's post was one of delayed laughter, after my blood rushed to my head. I understand too well age-discrimination, but I'm still sticking with it. I've got more to give than anyone young enough to be my child. Read it again: "The problem with being 'there', or having been 'there' is that you know more than people who WEREN'T there. The trick is, getting them to believe it." Isn't THAT why parents have so much trouble with children in the first place? Jack, re-think before you post again. You might regain some semblance of credibility. M.

Mike_Borner
Mike_Borner

L O L. Matlock? :) Thanks for the reminder!

nonimportantname
nonimportantname

Let me qualify what I'm about to say with a few facts. I'm a 31 year old father of 3--ages 6, 2, and 1. My 6 year old just started baseball practice this year, which means I have to spend a lot of time teaching him about the game and being prepared and thus, getting my own darned self back into shape! Juggling the other two is also no small feat. Couple the family thing with the professional thing and you've got quite a busy life, especially considering that in IT, you're expected to continue to learn and stay on top of the technology curve. I've been doing this IT thing for 10 years now and the experience has afforded me a certain trust level, a certain creative freedom that newcomers are not afforded. I say all that to say this: I think both Toni and Jack have valid points. LIFE situations dictate what you're able to give to your job and vice versa. As far as the "energy" topic goes, I don't know about Toni's job demands, but the job definitely can be mentally taxing. Sitting at a desk time after time might not be physically demanding, but it can and DOES become monotonous. We're humans and need a break from the monotony from time to time. No doubt, some of you have suffered mental fatigue working in this business. As for the age topic, it's is a rocky road because you have to take into account peoples endurance, will, and experience levels. Maybe Jack meant that the younger group is often SINGLE and thus more capable or willing to put in the crazy hours. Though I continue to climb professionally, I'm not able to put in a bunch of crazy hours because my family needs me to be there--so that would contradict his thinking that solely age would dictate my contribution level because I do still consider myself young. I would like to think that I'll be 48-49 once my youngest is on her merry way, and maybe then I'll finally start my own IT consultancy...when I have more time on my hands.

matthew.sanaker
matthew.sanaker

I think that the most important thing is really not age dependent and that is to stay flexible. In order to succeed in IT you have to keep learning and stay open to new ideas. Experience coupled with an open mind will yield the most productive results. First I hope to cut the "us vs. them" out of this, but I may end up slipping into it anyway. I've seen young and old with similar strengths and weaknesses. First about the energy required to keep your network running. IT does require off hours work, but if you're running around working 14 hours a day to fight fires you're doing something wrong. I've seen both younger and older systems administrators do this. They look really busy and dedicated, but really they're floundering and spend all of their time fighting fires instead of developing long term strategy. Better systems administrators automate and work smarter. The ability to do that can be learned in school, but years of experience allow you to automate in the "right" places that will keep your systems running smoother with less work. Experience should also help you see when you're stuck in a rut and the thing that you thought was the problem isn't and the solution that you're attempting to implement isn't making things better. You have to be flexible and work with "what is". I've see young and old who think that they know everything so they stop learning. People like this end up implementing systems that are outdated before they are deployed or worse yet botch a deployment because they failed to RTFM because this system is just another system and they've done it all a hundred times. You also have to be willing to try new things. I'm not advocating chasing down every new trend, but you have to keep your eyes and ears open for new technology or methods that will make your job and your users jobs easier or more efficient. And finally, you will also need to know about the business side of the business that you work for and how to work with your users and especially with management, for most people that also comes with years of experience. Developing long term strategy that includes buy-in from your business unit will require experience and wisdom. You can't buy wisdom in a "boot camp" or learn it in school, it has to be earned through actual life experience.

CCENG
CCENG

The way I see it: TR is BACK PEDDLING to make up for such a miserable performance by the compensated (young?) writer blog service. Frankly, it's a poor attempt at accountability. Problem is with "older" persons is that they can see right through this action of the parent agency white washing over one of their near-do-well's myopic commentary. Yeah, your "little" writer may be able to write in whole sentences; but that just makes it more clear how small the mind of the writer really is. Thank you for that. You have got to wonder: When this writer has "advanced" in age, will they remain true to their own words and step aside after "age" 45 to make way for the best IT workers and/or writers that tend to fall into that 25 to 45 age range he is speaking of. It just keeps getting more stupid and more stupid. By then maybe, JUST maybe, the writer may actually be worth his salt. Now, where is that "Unsubscribe" button.

Chet Matlosz
Chet Matlosz

I'm in my early 50's, outside the scope of that fools article - however, I am surrounded by 20 and 30 somethings. I learn about cool new technologies that may or may not be germane to our IT environment. They tap me for not only technical assists but more and more for life assists - Nothing Trumps Life or technical experiences. Not even Trump himself!

wright-robert
wright-robert

It seems like I have always had a job that required me to work long hours or to at least miss dinner, practices, school plays and dance recitals. It definitely put a huge strain on my marriage and gave me migraines. Now that I am in my 50's and my kids are in their teens and 20's there is far less pressure. And as Toni mentioned, you don't need to be Lebron James to keep the network up and running. I have also learned to better manage my time so that I don't need to be in the office as much. VPN's are wonderful!

bill
bill

First off I would like to state that I have been in IT/IS/Computing for 35 years and I only started in my twenties. I do agree that younger members of our teams have more energy, often equal commitment and most have been through "formal education" so that they are used to absorbing information. On the other hand, those of us who grew up alongside computers and had to build one to get one understand the 0s &1s. We have been having IT for breakfast, lunch and dinner most of our lives and know (almost by instinct) where problems reside. Technology certainly goes around in cycles: a mainframe with dumb terminals relates to server farms with thin clients or web server clusters with web clients. I must admit I do smile when I hear someone has just re-invented the wheel again or just found a more current name for an existing strategic technology or process re-design - must be getting old as I am getting off the point here ;-) The point is that both younger and older IT people have their strengths and if they work together IT will be a better place. I wish I had mentors when I was first in IT - but alas I was one of the first in IT....... BUT I am still learning (yep even from the yougsters).

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

It really is not age - it is maturity that matters. I have worked with 20-somethings who were technically competent but could care less if the job got done, and I have met some who I could trust for follow-through. We all have images of people with different ages, and those images color how we view all people in that age group. We group people - and it can go terribly wrong. When looking through 100 resumes, you don't really see the problems. For me, I like to have people of different ages - all competent, all have their own strengths to make the group stronger. I don't cut people off at 45.

daws2010
daws2010

... and I did in a major way less than 5 years ago. It was one of those death marches, but one defined by a major government deadline, so you knew it would be over by a certain date. I found myself working greater than 80 hour weeks on a regular basis, consistently outlasting piles of 20- and 30- somethings, who either had to get to their night class, or had to go home to tend to their kids, or just didn't have the practice I did at staying awake and coherent 27 hours into a day when it was do-or-die time. There might be reasons that IT is for the young (I doubt it overall, but there could be a reason or two that applies, one of which might go more like "when you first come out of college, you are well schooled in the latest buzzword technologies"... although college students come in all ages nowadays). But there are other reasons it isn't, like experience that tells you the coolest, best-marketed technology isn't always the right answer; like experience navigating the corporate world and learning how to negotiate and make computers fit the business rather than the other way around; etc. A similar thing happened in grad school 10 years ago. When the semester project was due, guess who it was who stayed up all night debugging an AI program, well after my two traditional-college-aged team members had gone to bed? I wanted the A. They wanted to do well enough to pass.

rpkohler
rpkohler

Toni, when I was first asked to speak before the IEEE, I needed to develop a presentation and this brought to light the need to consider one's audience. Since there isn't a way to be totally sure of who might be attending a speaking engagement or in this case who may be reading a blog, there is the need to state your case in a well balanced non-confrontational way. Jack appears not to have taken the time to consider this one essential point when posting his last blog which triggered such controversy. As for Age and work. One Size Does Not Fit All. A young (18 - 35) person can have health issues that zaps their energy or the older person might have financial stress, to name two, that might challenge their ability to keep up in a hectic environment. Does this mean that an entire group needs to be labeled as incapable of doing a job and meeting the demands of such a job.....NO. You see it is all a matter of Perspective. Robert Kohler

Ed.Pilling
Ed.Pilling

There was this one 20 something consultant that they were considering on making them a fulltime offer. Well one day there was a major project and was going to require everyone to work late. Well that consultant said he was a drummer in a band and they had a gig that night and he couldnt work late. Well he wasnt offered a full time postion.

keith.syvinski
keith.syvinski

15 years ago, when I started in IT, certain problems would cause me a great deal of stress. In the years that have elapsed, I have managed to learn countless strategies and philosophies which help me, not only in IT, but in other aspects of my life. I know what it feels like to be called in at any time of the day or night, working on a problem for hours and hours until it is solved. Indeed, that can lead to burnout, but there's a certain feeling about being the guy who can resuscitate a downed system. A couple of things I did to offset the frustration that comes with IT work was to study principles of project management and people strengths. My job got a lot more interesting for me once I started being able to interpret people's behaviors using flow charts. That took a lot of stress away. It took me about three years to develop the skills, but wow, what a difference. And, since it took time to refine those skills, I got older... and more useful.

12312332123
12312332123

..... then I think IT is in a spot of bother very soon...

tomlawrence
tomlawrence

There are good young computer people. However, many of the younger ones do not really understand how computers work. If one can't point and click with a GUI then many of the new comers are lost. Even though a person uses high level languages they should be aware that sooner of later everything gets to machine code and at the very least every IT guy should be comfortable at the command line interface to really understand what is happening.

Mysticmayhem
Mysticmayhem

Perhaps one should watch by what metric competencies are measured. The IT field requires a lot of historical or legacy understanding. After about 10-20 years, one doesn't simply do IT work... one does it with an ease and panache unmatched by the flashiest certificate collector who can spit out every memorized IRQ setting, but can't open a computer case.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

...and our biggest issue is finding new blood that we can teach the trade to. Most youth in the area I have found lack the work ethic, reading and math necessary for the job. I will train in house for all tech skills, but I refuse to teach reading and number theory. Those youth who meet our needs either go to college or come to work for us, as our training and certifications count as college credit. The rest of the argument depends on the person. On most days our older techs (51 and 48 respectively) are a match for our youngest techs (19, 21, and 24 respectively) and no accommodation has ever been necessary.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I close as many calls (and drive twice as far per week) as do my much-younger co-workers. Oh, and I consult for them, too...

aaron.cirilo
aaron.cirilo

...depends on the person... I'm better at 33 than I was at 22

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's an attitude, and it can be missing in both the young and old.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

was the importance of proper spelling to IT professionals.

CCENG
CCENG

...More like the Taco Bell Chihuahua chasin' it's tail sayin' Muy Que?! over, and over, and over, and over...

jkameleon
jkameleon

What bothers me most is that all of my former colleagues of the same age left the profession a long time ago, and most of them are better off. Yet, at this age, in this economy, the career change is not easy, if not impossible, which means I'm kinda stuck. > They tap me for not only technical assists but more and more for life assists Sounds pretty much like my boss, a long time ago, when I was 20 and 30 something. Looked exactly like the old guy on this old poster http://media.englishrussia.com/Soviet%20Posters%205/20.jpg He was very knowleadgable, I learned most of my trade from him. He really cared about us youngsters, felt responsible for us. He was eaten by a merger&acquisition somewhere around 1990. Since then, times have changed considerably. Most of the bosses are of the pointy haired kind, and assisting your young competition in the rat race is generally not a good idea.

ideation
ideation

.... but then, people who are willing to define themselves as "limited" usually find themselves as, um, "limited". And, BTW, few people agreed with Joel, either, with the exception of the four-year-olds. Coding is like cooking; you can get the basics (and some wicked recipes) pretty quickly. But if you are motivated and have a modicum of talent (love it and are willing to improve by your client's -- your target audience's -- definition of improving), your income and career aren't really limited. Yes, few will become master chefs, but those who can stand the heat can always find a kitchen they like!

smithsh1138
smithsh1138

That discussion relates to programming, only one avenue for IT professionals, and therefore too narrow to carry much weight in this discussion. Though I do agree with the author (despite his bad prose and literary style) that standards are huge, no matter what the technology. Try dealing with security videos coming into a public safety organization from 100 various DVR devices...argh!!

lbain
lbain

I'm 46. I've worked with 25-30 year olds and I generally run circles around them in the energy and tenacity departments. Oh, and I'm a woman in a male-dominated field, too. At 25, most young men are anxious to get the heck out of the office by 5:00 PM on the dot to run to the nearest bar so they can hook up. And god forbid you call them on the weekend to come in for a downage! You would think you asked them for a kidney. I'll take someone more mature (in age and sensibility) any day of the week.

dedrizen
dedrizen

The strangest thing happened to me the other day. One of the programmers / database administrators told me that a computer was broke and unusable, that I needed to fix it. All because the mouse was unusable. I have been a hobbyist with computers since about MS-DOS 5. I knew that Windows could be navigated with the keyboard, but because the computer needed to be rebooted is all to identify the mouse that somehow it was broken and unusable. I had to laugh. I then completed the config that he couldn't without using the mouse, but he didn't see that because he had stormed off. Besides the mouse problem was really because the KVM they have me using is old and the cables are reflecting the use and abuse.... Note: I am the hardware tech at the company, and have only been in IT as a career since after I turned 30.

jkameleon
jkameleon

A Dutch, so you'll have to excuse his English. Joel Spolsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Spolsky ) owes the website. > Coding is like cooking; you can get the basics (and some wicked recipes) pretty quickly. But if you are motivated and have a modicum of talent (love it and are willing to improve by your client's -- your target audience's -- definition of improving), your income and career aren't really limited. Yes, few will become master chefs, but those who can stand the heat can always find a kitchen they like! I've been programming for a living for the last 25 years & something, and I've never coded the way you've described. Not once. I've met many people who did, though. None of them lasted long in the profession.

smithsh1138
smithsh1138

They're always amazed when you can navigate without using a mouse... :-)

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