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atosniper

Hire Older Programmer?

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Quick question: Would you hire an older programmer that is actually a new programmer? That is, someone in their early 40s who completed a computer science qualification (let's say Uni degree), and was now looking for a job without any experience.

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No experience is always a risk. But also something you can use to negotiate a lower price?

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Depends on the role in question.

 

To me the age is virtually irrelevant. The lack of experience will be what is important. Does that lack fit in with the role? If so...

 

Cool.

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Someone who's done 3 years university will practically always be over 21 or not far away from it. So, the so-called "junior wage" situation won't necessarily apply.

Advantage of the older person is they'll probably have the work ethic and social experience that the younger one doesn't.

Disadvantage of the older person is that learning curve is generally steeper for many things.

Older person is probably more established in life and more likely to stay with the organization. Less likely to have dependants who might provide reason for unscheduled days off.

 

The thing with programming though is that it's not something where you just do a course then hit the ground running in a work situation. Practical experience counts, but often both applicant types will have fairly even footing there.

 

All that shit aside, you're not supposed to discriminate based on age anyway - what it comes down to is who'd be better able to carry out the duties of the position.

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When I started as a mature aged apprentice in a kitchen back in '06, I not only got the job but the position I wanted was made for me, because I was older and had world experience and problem solving skills to bring with me, and would take the job more seriously than thinking it ok to turn up hungover every weekend. I was in my mid 20s and not mid-late teens like a lot of kitchen apprentices. I still got a shit first year wage, but it was less shit because I wasn't a junior.

 

It's probably a good idea to see what other skills their life experience will bring to their role, whatever it will be.

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The downside of an older programmer is that they may not have the spare time to keep up to date with all the changes.

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Thanks for the replies. You've given me something to think about.

 

Apologies for the vagueness.

 

@Rybags: about age discrimination, is it illegal in Australia? It's been a long time since I've worked there. Here in Japan, I think it is illegal but would need to double check that. However, almost nobody, including government offices, seems to abide by it. For example, there are many job advertisements in many fields that clearly state they are only hiring younger than 35!! O_O Considering how quickly the population is aging here, and the largest population exists in the older groups, I wonder who will be employed in a few years if they keep it up.

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atosniper, age discrimination is illegal, as is gender and race, but it's really hard to prove if a person feels they were discriminated against. Then there is "Cultural fit"...

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I'm not sure why age is actually a factor?

 

You should base employment on skill set, if they fit the company profile ect...

 

We haven't really been given any other facts apart from age. It seems like the 40 year old is the best (maybe only?) candidate. If he/she is the best candidate, fits the company profile and you have a good feeling, then age is really nothing to think about. I'm surprised it even came up.

 

If this person is the best candidate and you're just worried about hiring a graduate who is 40, then just base your decision on the facts. If the person fits the bill, why let a measly 40 years make you change your mind. It's not like that person is going to retire any time soon.

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Well, smakme, the person in question is actually myself >_> I've been thinking about a bit of a career change, but dunno... Over the last couple of years, due to my main interest outside of work & family I've taught myself Python and (a version of) C++. I'm enjoying the programming aspects, and I'm becoming quite proficient, so...

 

There is quite a bit of age discrimination in regards to employment here in Japan though, which is why I threw the question out there. Anyway, just something that's on my mind atm...

Edited by atosniper

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If you can demonstrate your skill with personal projects and/or significant open source contributions you shouldn't have a problem.

This.

 

Being active on Github and stackoverflow seems to be a good way to stand out above other applicants.

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