Posted by : Amber Marfatia

IT Industry is surely for the young blood but what happens when blood starts having cholesterol - synonym for getting old!! So, what happens when one gets old?

The harsh reality is that if you are middle-aged, write computer code for a living, and earn big salary, you’re headed for the challenges! 

Your market value declines as you age and it becomes harder and harder to get a job.




First reaction could but in denial mode. But, sadly, this is the way things are in the tech world. It’s as competitive as professional sports. Engineers need to be prepared.



This is not openly discussed, because employers could be accused of age discrimination. So is there something call 'age-discrimination'?

Although salaries increased dramatically for engineers in their 30s, these increases slowed after the age of 40. After 50, the mean salary fell by 17% for those with bachelors degrees and by 14% for those with masters degrees and Ph.Ds. 

And salary increases for holders of postgraduate degrees were always lower than for those with bachelor’s degrees (in other words, even Ph.D degrees didn’t provide long-term job protection).

It may be wrong, but look at this from the point of view of the employer. Why would any company pay a computer programmer with out-of-date skills a salary of say $150,000, when it can hire a fresh graduate — who has no skills — for around $60,000? Even if it spends a month training the younger worker, the company is still far ahead. The young understand new technologies better than the old do, and are like a clean slate: They will rapidly learn the latest coding methods and techniques, and they don’t carry any “technology baggage.” The older worker likely has a family and needs to leave the office by 6 p.m. The young can easily pull all-nighters.
What the tech industry often forgets is that with age comes wisdom. Older workers are usually better at following direction, mentoring, and leading. They tend to be more pragmatic and loyal, and to know the importance of being team players. And ego and arrogance usually fade with age.

It can be difficult for some companies to justify paying the age premium. For tech startups in particular, it always boils down to cost: Most can’t even afford to pay $60,000 salaries, so they look for motivated, young software developers who will accept minimum wage in return for equity ownership and the opportunity to build their careers.
So, whether we like it or not, it’s a tough industry, and the onus is on employees to keep themselves marketable. I know that many people will take offense at what I have to say, but here is my advice to those whose hair is beginning to grey.
  • Move up the ladder into management, architecture, or design, and diversify your experience. Work with business executives in your company, in areas such as sales, finance, marketing/product management, legal, and operations. Develop a broader set of skills that make you more valuable to your employer and that differentiate you from others with just coding skills.
  • Become an entrepreneur. Despite what some investors say, older age is an advantage in the startup world. You know more about industries and markets, and have ideas for products that the world actually needs and a better ability to motivate and manage than a kid out of school does.
  • Keep your skills current. This means keeping up to date with the latest trends in computing, programming techniques, and languages, and adapting to change. To be writing code for a living when you’re 50, you will need to be a rock-star developer and be able to out-code the new kids on the block. Top developers are always in demand and companies will readily pay top dollars for them.
  • If you’re going to stay in programming, realize that the deck is stacked against you. Even though you may be highly experienced and wise, employers aren’t willing or able to pay an experienced worker twice or thrice what an entry-level worker earns. Save as much as you can when you’re in your 30s and 40s, and be prepared to earn less as you gain experience.
What I then figured out is that one has to be SELL-able to grow and be acceptable!!! 
Smart - should know what to say, how to say no, be politically right when needed and be blunt when OK
Enthusiastic - about the work one does and be passionate about it.
Learn - things as they happen and be learned always
Lingual - rocks. One good in communication will even sail against the odds / currents.
able in above 4 qualities i guess, things are rosy all the way!

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