Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Facebook Google Technology IT

Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274 432

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-of-it-as-365-vacation-days-a-year dept.
theodp writes "The 1976 science fiction film Logan's Run depicts a dystopian future society where life must end at the age of 30. So, it's a world that kind of resembles today's Silicon Valley, where the NY Times reports that the median age of workers is 29 years old at Google and 28 years old at Facebook. The report that technology workers are young — really young — comes on the heels of other presumably-unrelated stories that Silicon Valley execs can't find enough skilled workers and no one would fund Doug Engelbart in the last four decades of his life. On the bright side, at least old techies don't die in Silicon Valley — they just can't get hired."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274

Comments Filter:
  • by A Huge Loud Fart (2975425) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:25AM (#44208621)
    29 years old is young now?
    • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:32AM (#44208659)

      At 55, it sure *looks* that way.

      • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:31AM (#44208977)
        At 35 it looks that way too. I regularly refer to people in their twenties as "kids", much as someone your age might refer to me.

        On topic, no wonder Google's services are going to shit. Every single change that has been made to those services in the past five years has been annoying and unnecessary. It's indicative of the youth mentality of change for change sake rather than actually improving upon the old. Google Search, Gmail, Google Talk and YouTube have become utter jokes compared to what they once were.
        • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:33AM (#44210131)

          I've noticed that. They skip necessary, but boring, features to add something more interesting.

          For instance, Google Tasks still doesn't have any method for adding recurring tasks, they expect you to add an event for that, but the problem is that these aren't events, I might have it on my to do list for a week sometimes, and want it there until it's been finished. And, it doesn't require me to do it at a specific time either, just sometime during the day.

          And then there's the features on my Nexus One that are in the phone physically, but that they never felt like enabling in software. Or at least they hadn't as of the time when I switched to CyanogenMod. Did they ever choose to enable the colored scroll ball for user customization or enable the FM tuner?

          • And then there's the features on my Nexus One that are in the phone physically, but that they never felt like enabling in software.

            Sometimes device manufacturers work out a deal with component makers that the device manufacturer will get a discount on a particular component if certain features of the component are disabled. This is especially common with royalty-bearing technology such as circuits that perform MPEG video encoding and decoding.

          • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

            by pwizard2 (920421) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:59PM (#44212513)
            That, plus the new Gmail interface looks like it was beaten with an ugly stick. Useful text labels are gone, everything is represented with an icon. Are people illiterate these days or something? Some changes are downright impractical. For instance, what's with the tiny editor pop-up window when composing a new message? I have all this screen space, so why not use it? I really don't need to look at the contents of my inbox while I'm writing. Replies use the full-size interface, so what gives? They even manage to get that wrong since essential features like Forward are hidden in menus that are not immediately obvious. It's been over a year since they rolled that UI out and I still want the classic interface back.
          • by TWiTfan (2887093)

            I've noticed that. They skip necessary, but boring, features to add something more interesting.

            They also don't want to deal with boring long-term tasks like maintenance, incremental improvements, etc. Google is notorious for that. Make a big splash with the debut of some new project, then slowly let it become abandonware as you move on to newer, sexier projects.

        • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Interesting)

          by datavirtue (1104259) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @03:48PM (#44211821)

          Google recently acknowledged that their hiring practices were not yielding any significant advantage. Specifically referring to hiring only people from Ivy League schools with 3.5+ GPAs. This had been my guess for some time and I often thought it was the root of their stagnation or lack of innovation recently--hiring only people who are proven conformists. Working in education I don't have anything really good to say about those with advanced degrees. My overall conclusion is that it rots innovative areas of the mind and turns those people off to engaging further education, resulting in intellectual laziness and low self-esteem.

        • As someone just a few years ahead of you (37), I've noticed the creeping signs of "old age" (as I'd have defined it in my 20's): The music I grew up listening to is being played on the Oldies station (Billy Joel is NOT Oldies!!!!), I refer to college students as "those kids", and the hairs on my head now include some grey members. 20-something me would refer to me as "old", but 30-something me knows I'm not nearly old yet. (I'm sure 50-something me would laugh about 30-something me's ideas of what constit

          • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Insightful)

            by jrumney (197329) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @10:20PM (#44213461) Homepage

            Billy Joel is NOT Oldies!!!!

            Sorry to burst your bubble, but as a 41 year old, I consider Billy Joel to be music my Mum would listen to.

            • by Macgrrl (762836)

              As a 45 year old I remember going to Billy Joel concerts in my late teens, early 20s. IT was an awesome show.

              On that front I also saw Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and INXS around this time - give or take a few years.

      • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Insightful)

        by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @01:05PM (#44210727) Journal
        At 40 I still run circles around most people, younger and older. I never understand the 'young tech' thing.
        • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @02:30PM (#44211317)

          "At 40 I still run circles around most people, younger and older. I never understand the 'young tech' thing."

          It's nothing but club mentality. They think that young people are the ones who have fresh ideas. When in reality, it tends to be the people with experience who see new, better ways to do things. (Which makes a lot of sense, if you think about it.)

          Study after study have shown that older programmers are on average more productive.

        • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @02:41PM (#44211411)

          It's got everything to do with the fact that the majority of young people don't realize what they're worth, so they'll take substandard pay, work longer hours, take fewer benefits, and are much less likely to complain or fight for their rights. They're the perfect human resources in the corporate eye. Even better if they're foreign H1B holders who can be threatened with deportation.

          • As far as I can tell this is it. In software it's 'round the clock coding. In hardware it's "people willing to travel and basically live in China". I know some design engineers in Apple, while they may "design in Cupertino", they live 1/4-1/2 of their lives in Shanghai. People in their 30s and 40s with children young aren't going to be very willing to do that, particularly in two-income households (which in California, is virtually a requirement).

            It's better to flee the valley and find a more traditional jo

        • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:52AM (#44214401)
          It's quite simple, younger workers are easier to mold into the latest fad development management methodologies (agile, etc.). Older workers have been through those attempts before, fell for it at one time, but don't anymore..
    • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

      by imunfair (877689) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:38AM (#44208689) Homepage

      I'm not sure if you're a silly troll or just too young to realize that most people don't retire until 60-65. vThat makes 29 less than a quarter of the time someone will work if they went to college.

    • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:45AM (#44208705) Homepage Journal

      29 years old is young now?

      well.. .com reporters are hitting forty and fifty now. so of course 29 is young, straight outta school and whatever.
      but imagine that, being in the middle, first being too young to hit the .com boom of '00 and then "old". I'd just reckon that the job market sucks no matter what the age even in SF. and fb and google medians... aren't most of their a lot of their workers technically just phone answer droids working low wage customer support, with high turnaround? that explains how average fb guy is just 1.1years at the company.

      "Younger companies tend to have workers with less time at the firm, according to Payscale." am I stupid but does this sentence just mean that young companies don't have guys who have worked at there for decades? how the fuck could they have???

      the article is pretty much just total tripe though if you finish reading it - fuck it. "One reason for this, she said, was a function of skills. “Baby Boomers and Gen Xers tend to know C# and SQL,” she said. C# is a software language, while SQL is a database technology. She added, “Gen Y knows Python, social media, and Hadoop,” which are newer versions of those things."

      it's just so fucking stupid.

      • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rakishi (759894) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:53AM (#44208749)

        I'd just reckon that the job market sucks no matter what the age even in SF

        Hahaha, keep thinking that if it makes you happy. Everyone I know who actually is there or NYC thinks it's about as close to the dot com boom as you can get. Maybe better because the giants have a lot more money to throw around this time. Everyone I know who was looking for jobs had better offers than their old jobs within a few weeks and usually were booked solid with interviews. Usually people have interviews at decent companies the next day if they put themselves on the job market.

        aren't most of their a lot of their workers technically just phone answer droids working low wage customer support, with high turnaround?

        Neither one has much in the sense of tech support or call centers from what I understand.

        that explains how average fb guy is just 1.1years at the company.

        Are you even in tech? Promotion in tech means you find a better job somewhere else and everyone wants to hire ex-fb people. The shorter people stay in a tech position the better the job market.

        • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:08AM (#44208853) Homepage Journal

          good people get jobs anyways, that's not a sign that the job market is good or in .com shape.

          and fb has plenty of people working on app support, going through requests from nsa&whoever, working with people to get them back to their accounts, sorting out if the apps are scams, sorting out spam, selling adverts.. you name it, plenty of stuff that is essentially email or call support - if you think about it, it's only natural for these positions to out-weight every other department.

          yeah, sure, I am in tech. in Helsinki and employed and could probably get an interview for another job in days or instantly, I'm hitting nearly 10 years doing mobile development. I know a bunch of people who can't though - and a lot of people who work in tech but don't code who could use a job. what, you think everyone at facebook codes? fuck no, most of them do the menial crap that's associated with having hundreds of millions of users...

          • Silicon Valley is fine, the overall unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and for programmers, starting pay, right out of college, is typically $100k. For a programmer with the right skills, $160k is within reach, and $200k is not impossible. Getting a job is as easy as putting a well-written resume on Linked-In, you don't have to apply. There aren't many industries like that. Most people actually have to look for a job.

            The people who complain about the job market in Silicon Valley, or wor
            • people who haven't figured out how to look for a job

              But there seems to be a mentality in certain circles that "if you don't already know how to find a job, you don't deserve to learn."

        • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:08AM (#44208855)

          Are you even in tech? Promotion in tech means you find a better job somewhere else and everyone wants to hire ex-fb people. The shorter people stay in a tech position the better the job market.

          Ummmm, that's not called promotion. Promotion means you move up in the same company. Jumping ship to another company only works for so long. For instance, before too long, you find that you are 30 in Silicon Valley and evidently nobody wants to hire you. Hopefully in all of those jumps you develop some management skills along the way because by 40 you'll need them to keep your job from going to some kid.

          Just saying...

          • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Rakishi (759894) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:32AM (#44208983)

            Ummmm, that's not called promotion. Promotion means you move up in the same company.

            *Woosh*

            For instance, before too long, you find that you are 30 in Silicon Valley and evidently nobody wants to hire you.

            The people who can't find jobs at 30 are those who spent 8 years working at one company on dead end technology only to get laid off with no current skills or connections. I've had friends hit that wall and it's not pretty to be playing catch up while burning through savings. You know those co-workers I mentioned in my previous post? They're not 20 year olds and yet they find jobs without difficulty.

            Hopefully in all of those jumps you develop some management skills along the way because by 40 you'll need them to keep your job from going to some kid.

            Hopefully? I plan for my future, I try to not rely on luck and good fortune.

            You think you're more likely to be promoted to management or to find a new job in management (or a lead of some kind) at a different company? I've found the former an utter crap shoot to pull off (and most who I've seen do it were ass kissers foremost) and personally I prefer not to gamble on my future.

            • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Informative)

              by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:56AM (#44209143)

              Ummmm, that's not called promotion. Promotion means you move up in the same company.

              *Woosh*

              For instance, before too long, you find that you are 30 in Silicon Valley and evidently nobody wants to hire you.

              The people who can't find jobs at 30 are those who spent 8 years working at one company on dead end technology only to get laid off with no current skills or connections. I've had friends hit that wall and it's not pretty to be playing catch up while burning through savings. You know those co-workers I mentioned in my previous post? They're not 20 year olds and yet they find jobs without difficulty.

              Hopefully in all of those jumps you develop some management skills along the way because by 40 you'll need them to keep your job from going to some kid.

              Hopefully? I plan for my future, I try to not rely on luck and good fortune.

              You think you're more likely to be promoted to management or to find a new job in management (or a lead of some kind) at a different company? I've found the former an utter crap shoot to pull off (and most who I've seen do it were ass kissers foremost) and personally I prefer not to gamble on my future.

              No, I don't think I'm more likely to be promoted to management. I already am in management and do the IT hiring for a very large entity. Here is what we look for in our employees: the ability to work as part of a team; the ability to communicate well with customers (internal/external) and others; the ability to eventually lead a team; knowledge of the business/industry; overall attitude; stability; project management and eventually the IT skills in question.

              Why are the IT skills so far down the list, particularly behind the soft skills? Because we can train the right people to give them the skill set needed for the task at hand. It's a lot more difficult to train for the soft skills.

              We work with several local colleges and tech schools and encourage them to add non-tech courses to their IT curriculum. Why? Because we aren't hiring just programmers or network administrators or whatever. We are hiring people that represent our company. Many of our IT personnel do not even have CS degrees but come from a varied background of degree programs. Why? Because, diversified backgrounds lead to better solutions.

              Just like most people get their impression of their bank from the tellers, our customers get their impression of us, by the people we send to them. Technical skills are easy to obtain and at the rate that technology changes, we have to keep retraining anyway. People and soft skills, that is what we value most.

              BTW, if you are interested, we have very low turnover, we are good to our employees. We have found that if you treat your employees like the valued resource they are, then they stay. It's good for them and it's good for our customers and good for us.

              Then again, we are not a Silicon Valley company, so maybe that's the difference.

              • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Interesting)

                by expatriot (903070) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:27AM (#44209297)

                At the coal face programmers are often young, we have a lot of graduates or people with only a few years experience.

                I am near retirement (at 65) but my companies wants me to stay on as long as I want to. I manage a small team and focus on documentation.

                We do have some designers over 50, and they are brilliant, but most younger coders either need to get very good at architecture and high-level design or extend sideways into other skills.

                • by JWSmythe (446288)

                  You're lucky.

                  I've seen a lot of people edged out of jobs. With age and seniority comes a larger paycheck. It's easier to bring in someone young, who's less business savvy, and willing to work for much less money. Many places haven't made the relationship that it takes a fresh face twice as long (or longer) to do the job of an experienced person.

                  I've seen plenty of people make lateral moves to other companies, trying to learn new skills along the way. That s

                  • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Interesting)

                    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:01AM (#44209913)

                        You're lucky.

                        I've seen a lot of people edged out of jobs. With age and seniority comes a larger paycheck. It's easier to bring in someone young, who's less business savvy, and willing to work for much less money. Many places haven't made the relationship that it takes a fresh face twice as long (or longer) to do the job of an experienced person.

                        I've seen plenty of people make lateral moves to other companies, trying to learn new skills along the way. That simply makes them chronologically older, but with the same skill set as the young. Since they have to hop between companies to stay employed, they also end up getting paid the same. Unfortunately, everything suffers.

                    Replacing experienced workers with inexperienced and lower paid workers has been shown time and time again to be more costly in the long run. We call it the MBA effect, where beginning the 1960s with the emphasis on MBAs focus shifted to maximizing short term profits. Often, though this is at the expense of long term growth and stability. Since at the time MBAs were in high demand, like IT is now, there was a lot of job hopping, so the "experts" pushing this approach in the organization weren't there to suffer the consequences. They had moved on.

                    Often, when decisions are made along those lines, nobody is looking at the total cost involved, including the cost of hiring and training or the lost productivity as the less experienced worker needs to be brought up to speed and become part of the team. (Obviously, if the experienced worker left by their own choosing, these costs have to be borne, but that is not usually the case).

                    One of the real problems is that today's IT managers often are highly educated and trained in computer sciences but not business, and are totally project focused. That works out fine for the company as the bubble is expanding, but on the downside, many of those companies cannot survive because they have the wrong people, not just in management but on their teams.

                    Currently IT is in the midst of another bubble. Unlike the bubble in the 1990s with the .coms, this one is fuelled by federal monetary policy holding interest rates abnormally low, which means there is excess money coming in from venture capitalists. Once interest rates return, which the Fed keeps saying will happen, so that investors can get a better, safer return elsewhere, that money will flow out again. Companies focused on only short term profits will be in a world of hurt because the money wasted on the continual retraining and hiring caused by high turnover and the loss in productivity cannot be made up. That money is already gone.

                    Smart companies realize that their employees are not an expense, but a resource. After investing money in shaping that resource to best add to the company's value, why would you want to throw that all away and start over?

                    • by hedwards (940851)

                      You said it yourself "long run."

                      The point of MBAs is to get things going as well as possible in the short term so the executives can get their golden parachute just before the business goes under, and it becomes somebody else's problem.

                      Which is the same reason why they require people to have all the experience they'll need for an entry level position and don't want to pay people who know what they're doing to stay.

                    • Re:29 years old (Score:4, Informative)

                      by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @03:41PM (#44211789)

                      Currently IT is in the midst of another bubble. Unlike the bubble in the 1990s with the .coms, this one is fuelled by federal monetary policy holding interest rates abnormally low, which means there is excess money coming in from venture capitalists.

                      Can someone please explain to me why the Fed's QE means there is excess money coming in from venture capitalists/

                      It's all about ROI. QE means low interest rates which lowers the overall ROI required to take on an investment. Bond yields are too low because of QE, so money isn't going there and stocks are too volatile, plus they will plummet once interest rates rise. The only market left is the venture market and money has been flooding into it just like before.

                      Even established companies aren't using the low rates to expand production, which was the intent, but instead to buyout other companies. And why not? The can borrow for 2%, which adjusted for inflation is basically borrowing for free. QE is basically giving free money to banks and businesses. If they aren't going to expand, they have to do something with it and there are only three types of investments: equity, fixed income, venture.

              • by jedidiah (1196)

                > Because we can train the right people to give them the skill set needed for the task at hand. It's a lot more difficult to train for the soft skills.

                Sounds entirely too good to be true. Corporations gave up on that kind of thinking a long time ago.

                • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:29AM (#44210103)

                  > Because we can train the right people to give them the skill set needed for the task at hand. It's a lot more difficult to train for the soft skills.

                  Sounds entirely too good to be true. Corporations gave up on that kind of thinking a long time ago.

                  Actually there are quite a few corporations that still believe and practice that. They just aren't the Googles and FB of the world. But the corporate culture in the US does make it harder for that kind of thinking to persist with the demand being short term profits to keep shareholders (which really mean board members) happy.

                  However, most corporations in the US aren't the major conglomerates, but are actually family businesses that have grown in size over the years. These corporations are no different than any other family owned business. The values of those at the top are what set the tone for the rest of the company. If those at the top value the employees who work for them, then the company culture will mirror that. If those at the top value profits above all else, then the company culture will mirror that.

                  Unfortunately, what has happened in many of these family corporations, the parents have not instilled the same value system in the kids or the kids aren't really interested in the business and hire others to run it for them. In doing so, however, a whole new company set of values is put in place.

                  I also do consulting for companies all over the globe, specifically on the topic of hiring and there are reams of data to show CEOs and CFOs that in the long run, it is in their company's best interest to minimize employee turnover. It is simply pouring money down the drain. I also work with companies to turn their company culture around, because the two are inter-related (see, our firm does much more than just IT).

                  Look back to when import vehicles first started coming to America from Japan. Nobody paid much attention, particularly the major American auto makers. The cars were small, they weren't reliable, they were uncomfortable and a whole slew of other negative things. But Japan was in it for the long haul and had a different corporate culture than the US makers did so that today, they are the number one selling vehicles in the US.

                  Likewise, in the IT business, or pretty much any business. The company that will be here tomorrow needs to have a culture that ensures it's existence for tomorrow. Just like young people today need/want instant gratification, too many companies and their board do the same.

                  Here is one last tidbit. Often, we hear from managers about having employees that are dead wood, just taking up space. So we ask them why they hired them if they were that bad. They always, and I do mean always, say they weren't that way when we hired them. To which we respond, well, if they weren't dead wood when you hired them, what did you do to turn them into it?

                  The companies that will be the leaders of the 21st century are the ones that realize that their employees are their most valuable assets and treat them accordingly.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                I realized that the career "advice" I've been reading on Slashdot all these years was worthless.

                For years, I thought it was my tech skills and I kept pounding away at them - but still no job after several years. Yes, I've been out of work that long and from the feedback that I (rarely) get, I am unemployable - in any field, now.

                I've tried changing careers but when folks see that I was a software engineer, they look at me funny and wonder why I want to do what they do. Folks in 2013 still think it's 1999 a

        • by AngryNick (891056)
          I think a twenty-something media age is pretty normal in any large company, tech or not. I work for a large non-tech firm and our average is closer to 28 and the average lifespan of a new hire is around 4 years. Those who stay (i.e. make the 4th year cut) tend to stick around for 25+ years and gobs of money.

          Most people start their careers in places that can hire in bulk, train in bulk, manage in bulk, and promote in bulk. You do your time, decide what you want in life, and move "up or out." Assuming y
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "C# is a software language, while SQL is a database technology"

        Last I checked, SQL was Structured Query Language .

        > SELECT * FROM article_writers WHERE clue >0

        0 rows returned

    • Re:29 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:17AM (#44208907) Homepage Journal

      You're a kid, kid. You're my kids' age, and I was five years older than you when I had kids. I'm twice as old as you; compared to you I've lived two whole lifetimes so far. Having served 4 years in the USAF before school I was just getting my Bachelor's at your age.

      My daughter's your age, and in college.

      You're just getting started.

      I do understand your thinking, however -- I was your age once. When I got out of the service, having gone to Thailand, I thought I'd lived more than most 70 year olds.

      I was wrong. So are you.

      • You're my kids' age, and I was five years older than you when I had kids. I'm twice as old as you; compared to you I've lived two whole lifetimes so far. Having served 4 years in the USAF before school I was just getting my Bachelor's at your age.

        So if Aunt Ethel is twice as old as mcgrew's daughter and weighs fifteen pounds more than his son, how many of the people seated at the third table arrived in the silver taxi?

    • by Kjella (173770)

      In the sense that you have a long way to go to retirement, yes. I'd worked what, six years back then? With 38 more to go until public pension kicks in here. On the other hand, you'd already be on the "old boys" team in snowboarding. It's all about context.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      It's young enough to not be protected under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. [ca.gov] Interesting loophole there -- it's illegal to discriminate against people 40 and over based on age, but the 35-year-olds are, apparently, out in the cold. IANAL and I am definitely not a lawyer licensed in California.
  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:37AM (#44208679) Homepage

    "You know what they do with engineers when they turn 40? They take them out and shoot them."

  • It goes both ways (Score:5, Informative)

    by DukeLinux (644551) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:49AM (#44208721)
    I work at a technology company on the opposite side of the Country and we joke that we will not even interview anybody under 35 years old. We have the opposite problem except a lot of us old timers have skills in system administration, programming and project management so with a very small staff and some long hours we implement some pretty cool stuff. Our biggest impediment is our CEO.
  • This has drawbacks. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:49AM (#44208725)
    I'm a IT dinosaur at 44, but I still remember when I was young and working for tech companies with an average age in the high, sometimes even the low, 20s. It creates a very specific mindset and atmosphere:
    - office drama, both romantic and tragic. I've seen a lot of love affairs, even more flings, and some suicides. All those do have an impact on business.
    - general lack of empathy (people at that age are still very self-centered), especially so towards the older generations to which many customers do belong. Apart from relational issues with customers (50 yo don't empathize with/trust 20 yo that much), it creates specific problems such as: YOU can understand / would use this, could/would your mom ? your grandma ? We have tech-aware hipsters building tech-hipster stuff for tech-aware hipsters, and a huge lack of stuff for the mature and senior markets.
  • It's a trap! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:54AM (#44208759)

    Those three words describe Silicon Valley. Really they do, I've seen that and heard that description for decades from people working there, and more to the point from people no longer working there. Silicon Valley is a trap for the young, once you hit 30 you are no longer employable and either have to move out or scrape by on temp job to temp job.

    Silicon Valley is a great place to be from. Ageism is getting so bad in technology that were rapidly reaching parity with strippers. Combine that with H1B and how can anyone in good faith ever recommend a career in technology in the United States?

    • Re:It's a trap! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:26AM (#44208965)

      Those three words describe Silicon Valley. Really they do, I've seen that and heard that description for decades from people working there, and more to the point from people no longer working there. Silicon Valley is a trap for the young, once you hit 30 you are no longer employable and either have to move out or scrape by on temp job to temp job.

      Silicon Valley is a great place to be from. Ageism is getting so bad in technology that were rapidly reaching parity with strippers. Combine that with H1B and how can anyone in good faith ever recommend a career in technology in the United States?

      There are very good tech careers in the US, just not glamours ones like in Silicon Valley. However, if you want a stable tech career, banking is a good option, the large consulting firms (IBM, Rose, etc.) are another. You don't make the astronomical salaries like those in Silicon Valley, but you do make a good living that you can raise a family.

      The Silicon Valley type jobs are like being a professional athlete. There is good money to be made, but only for a short time and then your career is over. If you go that route, you better invest wisely or have a backup plan.

      • Re:It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ebno-10db (1459097) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:47AM (#44210245)

        if you want a stable tech career ... good option ... the large consulting firms (IBM ...

        What about a stable career in the US? IBM stands for India Business Machines.

  • le sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:56AM (#44208765)
    The issue of age discrimination in the tech sector comes up a lot on Slashdot. Maybe it's just a Silicon Valley thing? I've worked in Austin my entire career, since leaving school, and finding jobs has gotten no more difficult as I've aged. In my current position and the couple that immediately precede it there's been someone in his late 40s or early 50s. And not in an architect level or managerial role, either.

    In general, my experience is that employers will go with whoever presents the best value proposition regardless of that person's age. If you're only as valuable as a recent college graduate but cost 1.5x as much then, yeah, you're going to have trouble getting hired.
  • by tutufan (2857787) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:56AM (#44208767)
    Last year I was 48. As part of something like a mid-life crisis, I interviewed at several of the Bay Area majors. In some ways, it was kind of a Logan's Run sort of experience, with me in the role of Old Man (Peter Ustinov). (Maybe next time I should bring some cats with me to the interview.) I was turned down by several, but received a good offer from Facebook. After a lot of careful number-crunching and soul-searching, though, I felt that I couldn't accept it. The primary reason is that I have a wife and kids. Though the offer would have been fabulous for a single guy, it probably would have been ruinous with my financial responsibilities. I guess what I'm saying here is when discussing ageism and the Valley, one needs to be careful to pick apart reluctance to hire older people (which I don't doubt is a bias sometimes) versus the personal economics of the Valley, which makes it a marginal place to consider living for many people (and probably tends to hit families the hardest). As an aside, I think many younger managers are nervous about hiring older workers. For what it's worth, I recently worked for several years for a guy that's at least ten years younger. Best boss I ever had. We got along and got things done.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:12AM (#44208869)

      Very, very good point about the Valley being a lousy place if you have a family. Truly lousy - unless you have a bucketload of money, of course. We moved away when we were looking to start a family and haven't regretted it for a microsecond. It was a simply awesome place before kids though.

      Ageism exists, zero doubt about it, and I think that it is particularly important to note given the looming changes to immigration. If you want more H1Bs, prove that you are not discriminating against older workers (or anyone for that matter.)

      By the way, If you think that companies are bad, try a VC. I'm in mid forties, have done several successful startups (as either a founder or employee number one) and have had VCs tell me, straight to my face, that I was too old. You kind of respect those VCs. At least they are honest.

      That said, there is also no shortage of older engineers who are simply unable or unwilling (my bet: mostly the latter) to update their skillsets. Yeah, great, so you've been doing it that way forever. The world has changed. Stay current.

      And, if you are young, pay heed. If you're lucky, you'll be old someday too. Chances are you won't make that pile of cash and chances are you, too, will face age discrimination. Might want to work against it now.

    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:50AM (#44209107)

      I think 45-55 is the worst age. It's when money demands because of kids in school and getting married are the highest, and technical jobs are precarious. The combination is horribly stressful.

      I'm 63 now, working in software development after a career change at 50 from a traditional engineering field. Thank God I don't live in a dysfunctional place like Silicon Valley. I've had no problem finding decent and even fun jobs, although the names are nothing you would recognize and there are no useful stock perks.

      Once I hit 55 or so things got much easier. The kids are out on their own and the house is paid off. With the recent run up in the stock market I'm sitting on a 7 figure nest egg - if I got laid off now I'd probably retire.

      The idea that life is over at 30 seems to be specific to a particular type of manager who mostly lives in one small part of the country. It just isn't the case when I've been out looking for jobs. In fact some of the managers I've worked with have told me that dealing with the sub-30s is a giant pain. Giant egos and can't relate to coworkers, customers or managers.

  • Silicon Valley used to be an awesome place, but now it sucks...

    Silicon Valley's business model used to be creating jobs, and environments. Now it is about selling businesses that have no real business value. Look at Google, Facebook, and so on. They rely on free products with advertisements. With privacy and the new addon's like the one where it screws with your cookies that business model is going to go down the crapper like SPAM. Yes Oracle, and Apple do create real jobs, but they are the "dinosaurs" and how many jobs does Apple have outside of Silicon Valley?

    My point is that I actually don't look at Silicon Valley anymore as the creme de la creme of talent and ideas. I look at Open Source! Case in point NoSQL. Who had it first? Open Source! NodeJS, who had it first? Open Source! Technologies like PHP, Ruby, etc all open source. Open Source is where it is at folks! Even if you have all of the nay sayers that ask, "so where is the money?" Not in software, but in business's created by that software. Silicon Valley is IMO not a driver of Open Source, they are a consumer of Open Source.

    Sure some shops in Silicon Valley add open source to their "portfolio", but let's be real, is Google opensourcing the stuff that is runs their busines? Eff NO! Facebook is a bit better, but again I go back that Silicon Valley is a consumer of Open source, not producer.

    • Open source may be where "it" is at, but you'll notice that the dinosaurs like Apple, Google and Facebook are shuffling around a wee bit more money than even the most successfull "open source" anything.

      Yes, Silicon valley is a consumer of open source. Why not? "Never give a sucker an even break," is an adage businesspeople still take to heart.

      So, feel free. Go do some work for free on your latest "open source" project. Someone will be along to collect it and sell it, by and by.

    • NoSQL (Score:4, Insightful)

      by toby (759) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:22AM (#44208931) Homepage Journal

      "Case in point NoSQL. Who had it first? Open Source"

      Depends how you define NoSQL. DynamoDB paper was published circa 2007 but the product is not open source. What open source product did you have in mind that defines NoSQL? BerkeleyDB?

      NodeJS, PHP, Ruby are the village idiots... not really worth bragging about :) But beyond these, yes, some very impressive platforms are open source.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      NoSQL is not something to be proud of.

      Node.js is not something to be proud of.

      PHP and Ruby are not things to be proud of.

      Like it or not, they are all pure shit, and every self-respecting software developer who has any talent knows this.

      NoSQL is what happens when dipshits who don't know the slightest thing about databases try to create one. You look at their work, and you can just hear them saying thing like, "ACID? What's that?", and "Referential integrity? What's that?", and even "Indexes? What are those?"

      • by hackula (2596247)
        And here class is a fine specimen of a C++ hipster. They exhibit all of the hipster traits in the purest of forms. Note the perfect disdain for the new. Only "vintage" languages will suffice. Hand writing binary trees in assembly is a job requirement for their secretaries, and "Web Sites" are for nothing but listing plain text pages of endangered plants in the state of New Mexico.

        Seriously though, I would rather code CRUD apps in Brainf**k all day than to be involved in a community with this sort of atti
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:03AM (#44208817)

    It's a good thing Google and Facebook aren't the only employers, then. I was at a local conference lately where I met techies who work for organizations like the state police and fraternal societies (the Freemasons, Shriners, etc.). At another talk, a bank VP told the crowd "when we looked at how dependent we are on software and how much of it we develop in-house, we realized we're a software company."

    I don't mean to understate the problems age discrimination causes for tech workers. I do want to point out that IT has penetrated very deeply into the economy, creating a need for programmers and sys admins and whatnot in places you might not expect them. Look around. I don't know how salaries compare, but you can probably find a company whose culture is a better fit for people over 40.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. I tell anyone under 30 in the IT field that, if they want to stay on the tech end and not move up through the management ranks, to get a government job. (Not that many folks under 30 bother to ask an old fogey like me; I'm 48 after all.)

      In Austin a few months before the dot-com crash, I noticed that the short term contract gigs I'd been getting were drying up. Remembering that the exact same thing happened before lots of layoffs took place in the recession of the early 90s, I decided to try to f

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:41AM (#44209043)

    Need masters degree as a min for a level 1 job and or that + 1-2 years at an tech or trade school and then after working a few years you get replaced but are still loaded with all the student loans (hope you get income based ones) as then they get next to 0 out of the min wage job you get next (after hiding the degrees to even get that)

    We need unions to stand up for workers rights and to have real training / apprenticeship that don't take 2-4+ years of pure class room.

  • Nostalgic wool (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alomex (148003) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:03AM (#44209177) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Today's computer systems are essentially what we had with time-sharing mainframes in the 1960s and 70s: personal workstations connected to a large central computer system (server farm), able to communicate with each other and run spreadsheets, word processors, and apps.

    Oh please he has no idea what he was talking about. Mainframes had as much freedom as a Stalinist gulag. Usually you could run a single application as decided by the IT department.

    Sure, PCs are connected to the cloud which acts as a server of sorts, but I can run any application I want, connect to any server I wish. These are key differences with the centralized world of the 70s. How soon do they forget...

  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:14AM (#44209217) Journal

    There's a perspective that comes with failing (thank you dot.com bust) that frames your judgements with the preciousness of time, not to waste it and never lose an opportunity because in the next moment it may be someone else's. The advantage with age is knowing from experience that timing matters, paradigms shift and culture belongs to youth.

    Carry on Silicon Valley.

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:16AM (#44209223) Homepage

    I'm really not sure why 'The Valley' even exists anymore. It's hyper expensive and congested. Sure, the various managers and VCs like to get together face to face and synergize or whatever they call it these days, but why should the people whose names the VCs will never remember be there? Why should the servers be there?

    The kind of money they have to pay a single 20 something so he can have a decent lifestyle there is enough to allow a 40 or 50something to have a decent lifestyle with a family in other parts of the country. Poof! No more hiring problem.

    For internet companies, they're sure bad at using the internet internally.

    • For internet companies, they're sure bad at using the internet internally.

      It's ironic how people who brag about the technology that eradicates distance, think that anything outside of their little valley is too far away to do business with. Exception: India. Apparently there's a wormhole between SV and India, so that in practice they're closer than say, SV and Pittsburgh (lot of serious software talent near Carnegie-Mellon). I think Google Maps should be updated to reflect that wormhole.

      The kind of money they have to pay a single 20 something so he can have a decent lifestyle there is enough to allow a 40 or 50something to have a decent lifestyle with a family in other parts of the country. Poof! No more hiring problem.

      The only way to get the SV companies to do that, or end tech industry age discrimination in ge

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:29AM (#44209307)

    When we hire, we do not look at age. However what we notice is that if people are too young, they are not take it serious enough. They moan that they want to have time off on moments that it is not possible. They want to go out with their friends.

    When they are too old, it is very time consuming (and often impossible) to learn them new things. And yes, we DO look for the exception. We will not rule out anybody on age. They often just do not fit the profile.

    This not just for IT people, but for all staff.

  • by Arakageeta (671142) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @10:41AM (#44209759)

    I wonder if it's not so much a function of age, but rather that "older" programmers want to live in a place where they can own a home and raise a family. That is exceedingly hard in the Silicon Valley, even for someone with a well-paid tech job. The cost of a rundown three bedroom bungalow in Cupertino is in excess of one million dollars (Zillow link: http://tinyurl.com/lq2wpcq [tinyurl.com]). A four or five bedroom home is closer to two million. Purchasing such a home is a challenge for even a family with two tech incomes, harder for a family with one tech income and one "normal" income, and damned near impossible for a family with a single breadwinner. Even if you manage to pull off purchasing a home, you've still got a rundown bungalow. Why not go somewhere where you can better enjoy the fruits of your labor?

    As a tech worker in his early 30s in the Valley, guys my age talk constantly of moving to Austin, Raleigh, or some other non-Valley tech hub---some place where the idea of raising a family doesn't boggle the mind. I suggest that while age discrimination may be very real, we must also consider that "the old guys" are merely moving out of the Valley. Thus, the average employee age of any company that has the bulk of their operations in the Valley will skew towards the young side. I don't believe it's a coincidence that the average age is less than 30, since 30 is about the age many educated men start a family.

    • I wonder if it's not so much a function of age, but rather that "older" programmers want to live in a place where they can own a home and raise a family. That is exceedingly hard in the Silicon Valley, even for someone with a well-paid tech job. The cost of a rundown three bedroom bungalow in Cupertino is in excess of one million dollars

      I'm sure that's part of the reason in SV, but the survey looked at tech companies all over the country. FTA:

      According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall median age of American workers is 42.3 years old. The company with the oldest workers on the PayScale list, Hewlett – Packard, came in at 41 years.

      The other five companies with older workers, in descending order of median age, were I.B.M. Global Services (38 years old), Oracle (38), Nokia (36), Dell (37) and Sony (36).

      AFAIK IBM, Nokia, Dell and Sony may have SV operations, but they're not based there. Even HP has a lot of facilities and people outside of SV.

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:00AM (#44209905)
    I'd make a LifeLock [wikipedia.org] joke, but apparently they're based out of Arizona.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @01:03PM (#44210713)

    If you want an idea of how complex and worthwhile your industry is, look at the average age of your coworkers and whether the more experienced ones tend to have more to contribute. If that's the case, you're probably doing something interesting, creative, and innovative. If it's not the case, you're probably doing something menial like picking radishes or coding.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

Working...