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Employability of software engineers starts to decline at age 35 and is mostly gone by age 40.
Which of the following describes careers in software engineering?
Dan Ackerman's profile photoBill Baran's profile photoMatt Thompson's profile photoStephany Richardson's profile photo
Lol. I think there's something wrong with those unemployable 40yr olds.
There's one thing about talking about a cutting edge company like google, facebook.
I personally know 60 yr old Cobol programmers.
Also in most smaller companies the director of development is also a developer. This article wouldn't call them a 'software engineer.'
Yeah, I'm really confused at the narrow definition of "software engineer." I never considered going into my field to "code" - that's not the part that interests me really.
Very big corp centric view of the world. In that world there is some truth to these ideas, but in the SME world its not quite the same. The issue is that there is a glass ceiling for technical workers wages, and so constant pressure to move into middle management, which is a dead end in your mid 40s from what ive seen, and very difficult to get skills refreshed to go back.

I think theres lots of burn out in the industry too, long hours and a constant need to refresh skills etc. Many older developers i know work as contractors or run their own small businesses.

For those who wish to stay in tech work, constant reskilling is key. Make a concious effort to prevent being pigeon holed by your current job, make a portfolio of other "personal" project work, and keep networking with other developers. Hiring is hard, being a known quantity gives you a huge leg up.
My take is that software development is really a 'lottery' type career. You work 80 hours/week for 5 years, and if you were at the right startup, and you got the right stock options, you're a millionaire at the end of the process. You win the startup lottery. But if you pick the wrong startup, or get a bad stock option deal, you work 80 hours/week for 5 years and your reward for all the hard work is... another 80 hour/week job... and another... and another... So it is vitally important to pick the right startup and get a good stock option deal.
Working in startups is a lottery regardless of who you are in the company, and you know what the odds of winning the lottery are... plus theres probably no real way to pick winners from losers, because its based mostly on luck and timing.

Plenty of people dont work at startups and just do standard professional working hour jobs. Of course if you do that you wont ever become a millionaire.
Not in my experience, +Jon Roder. In my experience, software companies keep the long hours after they are out of "startup" phase.
I did some long hours projects in my early 20s, before i figured out it would never pay off. I dont know any professional coders locally who work more than 50 hours per week (regularly, we all have deadlines from time to time).

Maybe its different in the US, but personally I would never work like that again for something I didnt own.
The games industry seems to like people with low level skills regardless of age, and most new grads haven't experienced enough os or assembly idioms to really grok an original and good solution. Or maybe I've just been really lucky and shouldn't push it any further...
I'm already almost 40. Oh no!
This is sadly very true. As long as you are interviewing with people your age you are ok. Put someone in their late 20's in the room with any sort of power of the decision and it's over.
The kids always think they're so smart - don't listen to them! ;)
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