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Education Programming IT

Ask Slashdot: What Training Helps Older Programmers Most? 435

brown.dragon is an older programmer moving to Australia. He writes: I want to start an online solution that other programmers find helpful, and right now I'm wondering if I should go with "learning new technologies" or "getting really good at the basics". Both are targeted towards giving a career boost to older programmers...

Would you like to keep in touch with the latest technologies because that's what makes it easy to get jobs? Or would you like to be really good at answering (Google/Facebook/Amazon) algorithmic interview questions?

He asks programmers looking for an online educational tool, "which of these (if any), would interest you?" So leave your answers in the comments. What training do you think would help older programmers most?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: What Training Helps Older Programmers Most?

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  • Write software (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:43PM (#53181771)
    that's you're best bet. Just keep writing software. The best way to learn is by doing.
  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:43PM (#53181777)
    Most programmers I know can pick up a new tech in about two weeks and be average at it automatically then gain mastery of it over time. There's no need to have a tutorial because there are plenty out there already.
    Personally, I do so much hands on coding and software engineering that I forget the terminology they used in college. I know how to do the stuff, but I forget the definitions they used. Its kinda embarassing in an interview to not know what they're talking about because I forgot the word they use for something super basic. There's webpages for this too. Not to discourage you, but older programmers can train themselves in just a few days if they want to.
    Its not like older programmers today haven't been exposed to OO or something game changing. I'd even imagine older coders can pick up new techs faster than kids out of college just because of a lifetime of experience.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:30AM (#53181941)
      Yeah. You and I know it. Just tell it to HR when they find out you're over 50. : (
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        50? I'm in my mid 30's and have personally seen the aversion from HR folks to the idea of a developer very skilled in several areas being able to pick up a new areas in others.

        • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @06:43AM (#53182811)

          I've seen HR reject because I had experience with similar products from other vendors. I've seen HR reject because my experience was with a newer verson of a product.

          HR is brain-dead when it comes to understanding technical qualifications and abilities. And they don't care. There's always someone willing to lie and claim to be a perfect fit despite the fact that HR routinely publishes laundry lists which are statistically unlikely to have anyone on the planet be a point-for-point match.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Just tell it to HR when they find out you're over 50. : (

        If you are over 50 and you are trying to get a job by going through HR, then there is something wrong with you.

        Someone with decades of experience should have a deep network, and plenty of ex-coworkers to tap for opportunities. If they don't, that is because those co-workers don't want to work with them again. So why should I hire them?

        • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @07:11AM (#53182887) Journal

          Some people are not good at networking.

          And frankly it goes both ways, asking an ex colleague about job opportunities (when I'm vacant) is probably the least thing I ever would do.

          Also, it is probably a culture problem, but in Germany it is often impossible to bypass HR. So a network would not help. And another culture problem is "friendship". My colleagues are not my friends. Regardless of job I had. I never would invite one to my birthday e.g. And for the same reason: I don't see any point to stay in contact with a colleague after he or I leave the company. Sorry, I'm a developer, not a marketing droid or Dilbert like manager who *needs* a network and is nothing without it. I don't nourish colleagues to have a network, for that I have linkedin and Xing.

          If that makes me "non hire able" for you ... I wonder what else you miss :D

          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @09:47AM (#53183569) Journal

            Some people are not good at networking

            Networking is a form of communication. If they're not good at this form, what others are they bad at? Code monkeys are cheap and plentiful, people who can communicate their designs, collaborate with others, and work on a team where everyone benefits from the specialist expertise that each individual has are rare. The latter are the ones worth hiring.

            Also, it is probably a culture problem, but in Germany it is often impossible to bypass H

            Bypassing means different things. If a company wants to hire you, then they'll put out a job ad that has a checklist of things for HR to approve that happen to be exactly the same things that you have on your CV.

            My colleagues are not my friends. Regardless of job I had. I never would invite one to my birthday e.g. And for the same reason: I don't see any point to stay in contact with a colleague after he or I leave the company.

            Maintaining a professional relationship with someone doesn't mean maintaining a close personal relationship with them. Can you name 10 people that you've worked with in the last decade who you'd want to hire? Most competent people know which of their coworkers are also competent and which aren't. If they're given the choice, they'd rather work with someone competent. If you moved jobs, who would you want to come with you and who would you want to leave behind? If none of the people you've worked with recently seem competent to you then either you're in a job below your ability or you're the incompetent one on the team.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I, sir, am a bona-fide computer geek. I don't have a deep social network. That would require that I actually be social! Did you want to hire a social person or would you rather hire someone who isn't social, but gets the job done?

          And when I get laid off, the entire department scatters to the winds and never contacts each other again.

        • by WalrusSlayer ( 883300 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:18AM (#53183139)

          If you are over 50 and you are trying to get a job by going through HR, then there is something wrong with you.

          Someone with decades of experience should have a deep network, and plenty of ex-coworkers to tap for opportunities. If they don't, that is because those co-workers don't want to work with them again. So why should I hire them?

          Unless they've spent a large chunk of their later career keeping their small startup venture alive and generating revenue, effectively keeping them cloistered while they apply their skill set. Yeah, I've got a small network from when things were more robust and I had to hire out some of the engineering work, but most was done by yours truly. The one thing I could have done better was keep more of those contacts alive, as a lot of them are pretty stale. But that time period coincided with kids showing up on the scene, which triaged that pretty far down the list.

          So sure, the side-gigs I've gotten over the past 5-6 years have been solely through my small network, that's a good thing. But as the startup slowly winds down, my small network is not as lucrative as I'd like it to be. I haven't had to go the head-hunter route yet, but that's probably the next stop on this train.

          All that said, when/if I'm to the point where I'm considering opportunities that involve an HR dept, then I'd say things would be in a pretty desperate state

        • This basically amounts to getting a job through favoritism and has been frowned upon in every place I have worked. People get labeled as'trying to go through the back door'.
        • by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @09:02AM (#53183325)
          Not everyone networks well. You can be a good programmer and a poor networker.
    • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @03:25AM (#53182281)

      They don't. My Powers of Programming have not diminished as I grew older (and by now I have reached the magic age of 45, i.e. I am entitled to tell you all how I was chased by dinosaurs uphill in my youth - at least that's what employers believe anyway).

      But the problem is not that you somehow become less capable technically. The problem is that you become less accepting of bullshit. When I was 25, my boss asked me to fix a problem that required me to _stand_ (not sit) in a cooling cell (4 C; 39 F) for a day because there was a program running there that needed debugging. I did it without asking questions. All around me were guys wearing warm clothing who were carrying boxes in and out of the cooling cell, but noone thought to offer me any protection from the cold. When I walked out to warm up a little every once in a while they would in fact comment on my obvious lack of stamina and suggest I work harder to stay warm (again, this was a programming job).

      And a few years after that, at a different employer, they hung a computer from a crane and had me stand next to it for a few days because that was the only way we could reach the relevant hardware - although moving it to a desk would only have been a few hours worth of work. I stood right next to a 10m drop for day, without any kind of safety in place - one wrong step and I would have fallen about 3 floors down.

      Would I still do these things? No f'ing way! It's not that I _cannot_ stand for a day, or that my body feels the cold more, or that I'm scared of heights now, it's simply that I no longer think of myself as the lowest peon in the organisation - if they want my services, they need to at least marginally accomodate my needs as well. Also, I discovered somewhere along the line that my job is essentially a mercenary position: I rent out my skills for money, but there isn't any loyalty either way beyond the short term. There are in fact things in life I rate higher than spending hours in the office.

      Employers very much prefer someone who only cares for proving himself to the big bad world, and is happy to do idiotic jobs without asking any questions - and has those things as the highest priority in life. Those people are generally speaking below 40, so someone over 40 finds it harder to get a job. And no amount of training or online courses will change this.

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      The problem is not the basic language. The features in different languages are often surprisingly similar, because useful features are ported fast and often. Sometimes you get the features by adding libraries, sometimes it's a useful header file, but in general, it's mostly syntactic sugar. The problem is the set of libraries in a project, the frameworks and the little quirks. This can amount to a lot of arcane knowledge, which you don't get within two weeks. You learn it step by step whenever a problem occ
    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @06:14AM (#53182745)

      The thing is - as an older programmer (which I am very much) it is no longer about programming. but more about other skills, like knowing frameworks and design patterns to a high level of expertise, leadership or even (heaven forbid!) management. I have been listening to a lot of science podcasts recently (not the "Aw, look at that, ain't it awesome" kind of thing, but proper science; they do exist) and one thing that stands out is the growing need for what is loosely called Big Data: the handling and analysis of huge amounts of data. One that I heard about this morning is the experiments they do at CERN - apparently they have something like a million proton-proton collissions per second to analyse in real time, and they expect to find 1 Higgs boson per hour - or was it day or week? Both a huge amount of data, very few events of interest and very little time to analyse it in because there is no realistic way they can store that much. And of course, CERN are not the only ones that produce vast amounts of data - all sciences do, from biology to medicine to physics to just about anything. When you reach my advanced age, you begin to have an outlook on life that makes real science look very, very attractive, I think.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Most people do not go in that direction. The ones that do notice more and more with growing experience how the pseudo-scientific answers doe not cut it. The others just cling to their (usually mistaken) beliefs harder and harder over time, because the magnitude of their error becomes larger over time and hence harder to admit.

    • Most programmers I know can pick up a new tech in about two weeks and be average at it automatically

      We all *say* we can. I'm not sure it's quite that simple.

    • You may be an excellent and perfectly competent developer in your day to day job, but by not knowing (at least certain) terminology for your field, you are lacking a certain degree of professionalism and are certainly restricting yourself in the broader field as you are lacking the ability to effectively converse with others in it.

      All different fields have their own set of terminology and at some level it is arbitrary as to what things are called, but when it comes to communicating with others, it is abso
    • by skids ( 119237 )

      Most programmers I know can pick up a new tech in about two weeks and be average at it automatically then gain mastery of it over time. There's no need to have a tutorial because there are plenty out there already.

      One thing I'd point out is that older programmers are more used to learning either directly from printed manuals (which used to be thorough) or other print material.

      The trend, in contrast, has been towards videos. These can't be easily searched or cross-referenced.

      I'd say improving documentation of newer systems to match the quality of documentation older programmers expect would be a great project.

      To the point about vernacular, older coders would probably find enjoyable a mildly sarcastic resource that cr

  • by tomp ( 4013 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:44PM (#53181783) Homepage

    Older programmers know the basics and they know how to learn new technologies. Matter of fact, that's precisely what they know. Those who don't move into management before they become "older programmers".

    There's always a need for better learning tools. But tools for "old programmers" doesn't make any more sense than tools for female coders.

    • Specialties are important. Depends on what GP wants to do for a while. Specialties are easier for older programmers to pick up, but to be good there is always lots to learn.

  • Wrong question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:50PM (#53181807)
    You should ask "I've got this bunch of folks with 10-40 years experience. How do I make them most productive?"

    I've been around for, jeez, 38 years now. I'm really good at C, C++, Java, RTOS systems, embedded systems, device drivers, talking to hardware in general, and meeting avoidance. I'm not good at "team building", "Agile development", "Synergy", "open office", "ping pong", "free cokes".

    Tell me what you want me to do. I'll give you feedback on how reasonable your desires are. I listen to you, you listen to me, you give me a nice quiet place to work, and stuff happens.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:34AM (#53181955)

      But... How will the product owner stay in the loop as you work through your backlog items so they know what to put in the plan for you to do during the next sprint?

      And what do you mean you just turned off your phone, mail, Slack, Basecamp, Skype and HipChat?

      Oh, you just established the requirements and then built something to meet them? Already? Never mind, then.

      • Actually I was modding but if one writes bullshit like this I thought I had to answer:

        But... How will the product owner stay in the loop as you work through your backlog items
        He has no need to.

        so they know what to put in the plan for you to do during the next sprint?
        That is not the job of the product owner.

        If you have problems with agile methods the main reason might be you don't even grasp the basic nomenclature ...

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      >> I'll give you feedback on how reasonable your desires are.

      Lesson one: the customer is always right.

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      "team building" -- silly meetings that are a waste of time but better then traditional meetings
      "Agile development" - every day a little meeting where you say what you did yesterday, and a couple of meetings every pay cycle where you plan what you are going to do that pay cycle
      "Synergy" - tell someone their idea is great, nothing will come of it anyway
      "open office" - sit where you want
      "ping pong" - pass, when someone starts playing there will be a complaint about the noise
      "free cokes" - what a horrible burde

  • by ndykman ( 659315 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:52PM (#53181809)

    It's about the increasing biases in the industry that assumes that older programmers just can't possibly pick up new technology without a lot of help. It's quite the opposite in many cases. As if somebody that started programming hasn't moved from language to language multiple times. They understand the fundaments, and they don't just chase one trend after another. They have a good sense of what is mature enough for consideration and what isn't.
    They know that programming all the time not only isn't necessary, it is detrimental in the long term.

  • Give up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gussington ( 4512999 )
    The simple fact is that as we age we become less able to pick up new things easily. This is a biological limitation that no amount wishing is wasn't so will fix.
    But what older people are better at is considered thought, strategy and leadership, so your best strategy is to be fresh and dynamic when you're young, and as you age, play to those strengths.
    • Re:Give up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:43AM (#53181981)

      The simple fact is that as we age we become less able to pick up new things easily.

      I've yet to see much evidence of that. I see a trend for more experienced people to be less willing to learn lots of new things all the time, but that's partly because they better at recognising potential. They know that a lot of the heavily hyped new things in the tech industry aren't really new at all and/or probably won't last five minutes. They know there will be plenty of time to learn the ones that do have staying power, if and when they need them. In the meantime, they tend to prioritise using and learning those things that will actually help to get the job done or done better. This, grasshopper, is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. :-)

      • The simple fact is that as we age we become less able to pick up new things easily.

        I've yet to see much evidence of that.

        You've never seen an old person on a computer or smartphone? Compare that with your average teenager, there is an obvious pattern there.

        • The average teen is using Snapchat or whatever this year's trendy messaging app is. The old person is using the phone as a phone to talk to people. Neither has any technical knowledge.

          We're not talking about them. We're talking about old programmers and young programmers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In my case, I can say that the main issue for me has been having a child. We have children later in life nowadays and I think some of the problems that people associate with older employees may have less to do with age and more to do with family.

        When I did not have a child, I was an extremely reliable employee. I could work the whole weekend in an emergency if something needed to get done. If I told you a problem was going to be solved come hell or high water, it would get solved. I could stay up all night

    • Re:Give up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:04AM (#53182043) Homepage Journal

      I find that older people are better at picking up new things. They have a lot more experience and context than someone still wet behind the ears, and if old enough, are also used to figure out things on their own, because there was no training. In fact, they may have a harder time with training than without. Give them a man page, not a teacher.

      The main problem I see is letting older people do something new. They tend to be experts at things that requires experience, and which is vital for the business. So they aren't allowed to move away from that.

    • I just turned 55, yet in the last 2 years or so I've managed to learn to read and write a couple thousand Chinese characters.

      It's amazing the things you can do with 30 minutes a day and a brain that's been properly schooled in how to learn things.

      • I just turned 55, yet in the last 2 years or so I've managed to learn to read and write a couple thousand Chinese characters.

        It's amazing the things you can do with 30 minutes a day and a brain that's been properly schooled in how to learn things.

        Question is, how does that compare to a Chinese school child?

      • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

        Now you've done it - mentioned a personal accomplishment on /. which will then be denigrated by those who haven't so much as attempted such a thing.

        • Now you've done it - mentioned a personal accomplishment on /. which will then be denigrated by those who haven't so much as attempted such a thing.

          By someone who went to the trouble of looking through my posting history to find something personal they could drop in, hoping that this would get to me.

    • The simple fact is that as we age we become less able to pick up new things easily.
      That is a myth. Especially in programming ...
      With lots of background information every new thing is easier to pick up and much faster to learn and master than it was when you where younger.

      This is a biological limitation that no amount wishing is wasn't so will fix.
      That is a myth, too.
      Body and mind degeneration starts a few years before you die ... and plenty of people are in perfect health till their last days. It is a mat

  • by xvan ( 2935999 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @11:58PM (#53181833)

    What Training Helps Older Programmers Most?

    Physical one. Running or even walking would be a grate start.

    Disclaimer: didn't RTFS

  • I believe it doesn't matter how awesome you are at the latest and greatest programming language, or how skillfully you can apply a binary search to an interview problem, if you cannot understand why you are applying technology to help someone. If you can understand the need for software, then all of those other points are much easier to improve on, and apply.

    For me, what made me a better programmer (past the bachelors, masters, in computer science, and six years of hardcore, full time, programming) was sell

    • The problem with that idea is that salesmen are scum.

  • Sorry, I couldn't resist! And this is being said as somebody who programmed in Fortran many decades ago...you have to be able to laugh at things.

  • ... how to deal with younger software managers. Stroking their egos to make them think they are God's gift to the software industry when really not much has changed in the past few decades.

  • Improving the basics improve your overall ability with most programming languages. Learning new technologies doesn't have as much payback, considering how many new things fail to take off..
    • In other words, "basics" are mostly the things that the new technologies got right (because people learned their lessons, such as proper lexical scoping in languages, for example), the things that aren't basics are often things included for the sake of being different that are much more likely to be superfluous, confusing, and often even just plain wrong.
  • Assuming your "older programmers" are indeed programmers with two or three decades of experience under their belt, rather than older people who would like to become programmers (not an unreasonable thing, but I don't know anything about how to train them), they already understand the theory and lots of practice, so all they need to pick up new technologies is to dive in and do stuff with the new technologies. Read books, practice, build stuff, etc.

    For being able to do well in the sort of interviews that G

  • Older programmers that are worth anything already know far more than you, dolt.

    If they don't.at this point there's no point in hiring them in the first place; they were probably incompetent younger programmers as well that never got any better.

  • As an older person, I would like to suggest that training I would appreciate would be in knowing when it's time to trim my nose and ear hairs. As it is, I don't notice it until my wife offers to braid it for me, and by then it's really too late.

    Wait, what were we talking about again? How 'bout those Cubs, huh? Did I ever tell how we used to have to punch rectangular paper cards to write programs? Believe you me, those were the days. You had to be half-stoned and drunk to program computers back then wit

  • I want to start an online solution that other programmers find helpful

    Have you considered rosettacode.org [rosettacode.org]? It has almost 1,000 little problems and puzzles in multiple programming languages.

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:52AM (#53182125)
    I am shocked at the number of 20 somethings that are a decade or more out of date. I am not talking about jumping on the latest and greatest, node.go or whatever, but simply aren't using the latest version (often off by years) of their existing tools. I am not talking religious wars such as C++ vs Java, but programmers who aren't using testing, not using any code analysis tools, not using patterns properly, using globals like they were bicyclist in a performance enhancing drug mart, and all the usual bad practices.

    Then to make it worse they will use "modern" techniques like they are some magic spell. If you way-over apply the technique, then it will magically make up for the lousy choice in just about everything else. Let's use multi inheritance OOP on our single SQL call to the single table in the single database. Or let's use the factory pattern for what should have been a single function that takes one parameter.

    I am not leaving older programmers out of this. Usually there are subtle differences. They don't realize that things have massively changed in the last 10 years. Threads aren't bad, the GPU can do stuff, disk is pretty much free, don't conserve memory in your single purpose server with 32GB and your application is only using 2.

    My advice for any programmer, young or old, is to be flexible. A great choice may not really be the great choice, it may be an illusion. So be prepared to change. And experiment. Lots and lots of experiments. Try out new languages. Try out new datastores. Try out new OSs. Try out new IDEs. If you see the cool kids doing something that requires a fundamental new skill that you don't have, then learn the fundamental new skill. With ML you need linear algebra and some calculus to really get to the meat of the subject. So learn the libraries and if they seem like your future, learn the fundamentals.

    To be a great programmer you have to be both a specialist and a Renaissance man. So nail something like C++ networking(as just one specialist example), but make sure you can configure a database, set up a server, program in Python, etc.

    Then there are the domains of knowledge. This is where it can get tricky. Do you perfect the game industry, or do you jump from games, to banking, to engine control units? We all know that having a diverse experience will really help. I am dead certain that what you learn in games could easily bring some wildly creative approaches to engine control units; yet the HR types are "How many years have you been working with ECUs?" I have successfully leapt more than once from pretty fundamental tech to completely different fundamental tech. Not easy, but very worth it.
  • When to leave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @02:00AM (#53182139) Homepage Journal

    How to recognize when a company quietly labels you an "older programmer" rather than an "experienced programmer".

  • Let's see, so far in my life I've been a farm hand, a university computer lab monitor and first tier IT support, a soldier in the US Army, electrical engineer doing firmware development and testing, web application developer, and top tier computer support. Now I'm wanting to get back to something closer to software development I took a look at what was offered in training that the Veteran Administration might pay for. I tried those one week "boot camp" classes that would teach what you should need to know

  • Let's define old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @04:23AM (#53182451) Homepage
    I had my 66th birthday, a week ago. So, officially in the UK, I'm retired.

    However, I still program and still learn new stuff, at the moment a lot of technology around the Raspberry Pi. I'm also a philosophy undergraduate and, as such, I have to do formal (propositional and predicate) logic, so I'm refreshing my Prolog a little, because we're going to do a workshop for some of the other students.

    I don't consider myself to be particularly bright, but I do enjoy technology (and learning, in general) so I'm self-motivated by curiosity. My feeling is that motivation will probably matter more than age, if the person isn't somewhat engaged, they probably are not going to learn. It's one of the big dangers of doing something just because it's well-paid. I've been lucky, working at something I like and it's pretty well-paid as well.
  • Succinct summaries of new (but proven) technologies & techniques. For me it's less about how to learn, and more about what to learn. Having an idea of what new technologies & techniques have been developed (and/or are becoming popular), what problems they solve for me, what trade-offs are involved, and what alternatives exist, helps to direct my learning. In other words a trade or hobbyist magazine that focuses on focuses on technology in the 'early majority' area of the adoption curve, across programming disciplines.
  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @04:42AM (#53182495) Journal
    What Training Helps Older Programmers Most?

    Here's your answer: Stop thinking of yourself as older!

    When we get older, there are several hurdles we need to pass, one of them is our mindset. If we see ourselves as "older" instead of more experienced, we will often display this trough our actions and our talk with others. People will then also perceive us as "older" rather than experienced.

    If youre the "go-getter" type that will rater spend time solving tasks and problems than spend time on age related issues, you will soon forget age. Sure, the occasional aging symptoms like back pains and other irritating signs of age will remind you, but if you try to stay healthy and fit - you need not remind yourself of this and others will take no notice of your "age".

    Im in my 50s now, and people often remark how young I am, why? Its my attitude. I get things done, I have fun with my coworkers, and I totally forget my age. In my mind Im not a day over 20.

    Those companies who miss out just because of ageism - will lose big money on it, not to mention sour up their own work-culture as everyone will be afraid of becoming older rather than embrance this valuable experience. Those companies have a tendency to fail in other areas too.

    Your best training - is your mindset.
  • I'm an "older" IT guy (systems engineer) who doesn't really want to move for a job at this point in my life. From both our branches of the IT world, I do think that the only technical people who will have jobs in the developed world will need to be big-time generalists. And yes, that means the dreaded buzzword DevOps. Otherwise, the future isn't pretty -- IT project management, "architecture" (hand-wavey diagram writer) or remotely managing a set of offshore coders 8 time zones away.

    I'm not a straight IT op

  • by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @05:29AM (#53182611)
    Apparently to code with kids these days you need to deserve the title of "ninja". So I recommend ninjitsu training.
  • ... treat them like grown-ups. They know what they're doing.
    And if they don't,I doubt you're gonna help it.

    My 2 cents.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @06:55AM (#53182845)

    Based on my observation of "older", (I'd prefer to use "senior" or "experienced") programmers, I'd say they fall into two camps:

    (a) The guys with 20+ years of experience, who is comfortable with his technical competence and does not want to move into management. They stay current on what they need automatically, and get the job done.
    (b) The guys with 1 years experience 20 times. They stopping learning a long time ago, and you cannot help them.

    So the first group is your target; what I've often observed is that their meeting and PM skills could be improved; hence their contributions (direct and indirect : how often have you seen a "senior guy" make a quiet suggestion that headed-off disaster?) are persistently under-estimated...

  • I read all the comments. Not a one of them answered the question. Rather they picked on the premise. I myself have been programming for 38 years. I can pick up a new syntax (language) in an afternoon so teaching me the latest language du-jour would be a waste of my time. I suspect that along with the others who have posted the real benefit that experienced coders bring to an organization is one of rigor. Since we learned to do things in situations where you didn't dare submit a job for compilation unti

  • As a ~60 year old developer, I've followed two major shifts since I began as a pro (in 1986).

    First, Dev tools have become much bigger and more interdependent and mastery of the dev idioms takes longer now and can no longer be learned from books, as was once possible for C/Unix. Frameworks are used a lot more now (for better or worse), and S/W deliverables now depend on mixtures of languages and their libraries / components, third party APIs, and O/S service components / stacks. This requires broader aware

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Monday October 31, 2016 @09:09AM (#53183365) Homepage Journal

    What Training Helps Older Programmers Most?

    Overall decline in health is, what threatens aging professionals the most — not ignorance of the exciting new technology of the week. Learning a particular tool has never been especially valuable — education is supposed to teach you one thing, primarily: how to learn new things on your own. If you are a developer already, you must've mastered that long ago.

    So, strength training [aarp.org] and regular walks and/or yoga (while still legal [washingtonpost.com]).

  • ... that the older programmers know more and can do more than they are given credit for. That's the training that is required.
  • Programmers suck, and projects fail, often because the person leading the team hasn't any clue about how things are programmed. It would seem logical to for successful programmers to graduate out of programming, and use their experience to actually guide projects.

    I'll never forget, some twenty years ago, as a lowly programmer, following a 50+ page specification to build a shitty web-site, that detailed right down to how to spell the word "Login", but never detailed the variable name to be used -- wouldn't

  • It doesn't matter what you want to teach an old programmer if you don't offer them dog biscuits.

  • by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @04:16PM (#53186675)
    I'm an old programmer (first computer I ever wrote programs on used punched card decks), and ideally the best training for me would actually be training for the hordes of younger programmers who have no real interest in programming except as a paycheck, and who don't have any real deep understanding of how computers work - and who also write very bad code. There was a time, a golden age in computing, where almost all the programmers were college trained engineers, scientists and mathematicians who were really interested in working with computers, and brought all sorts of deep skills to the table. Today, not so much...

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