Getting a Programming Job When You’re Over 50


Ageism in tech is a much-discussed problem. The issues surrounding it are often less about skill-sets and more about the attitudes and perceptions of tech-company hiring managers, who are often younger than the middle-aged programmers they’re interviewing.

If you’re a programmer or developer who’s over 50, and you feel like you’re living through a tech-industry version of “Logan’s Run,” take heart: you can overcome prejudices and continue to do what you love.

Take the case of Linda Kukolich, a full-stack software engineer with a passion for machine learning, who was downsized after 27 years at Lincoln Laboratory. She hadn’t interviewed for a new position or updated her résumé in three decades, and the thought of looking for gainful employment was daunting.

After nearly three years of unemployment, Kukolich sought out help from reacHIRE, a company that works with older, highly-skilled women who are seeking reentry into the workforce after a long hiatus (or in Kukolich’s case, a career disruption).

“I had no idea how one got a new job in the current environment,” Kukolich said. “A lot of women in my cohort (at reacHIRE) were short on tech skills but they had all the human relations skills. I was the opposite. I have the tech skills but was lacking the how to get a job skills.” She started her process by learning to build the kind of résumé that gets a hiring manager’s attention.

According to James Stanger, a Web technologist and security consultant who works at CompTIA helping to develop its certifications, a solid résumé is a critical piece of the puzzle for older technologists. “It’s so much about learning how to rewrite a résumé and getting it to reflect your achievements,” he stressed. “Focus on your most current problem-solving skills, successful projects and new accomplishments and if you have an older win, show how that project demonstrates your creativity and flexibility.”

By successfully updating her résumé to feature challenges she faced, actions she took and the quantifiable results gained, Kukolich began to reorient her job search. Next, she focused on the interview process, another aspect of job-hunting that’s changed dramatically over the past few years.

Kukolich had no idea how to finesse the kind of in-person meetings that are largely behavioral, where employers look more for cultural fit than exact skill-set. “The whole idea of doing a behavioral interview was new to me,” she said, “so practice was really helpful. We did peer-to-peer interviews and covered all the things we were most afraid of being asked. If there was a negative story, it’s what you learned from it to make you better.”

As Stanger observes, employers are increasingly seeking employees who are not only flexible, but also capable of learning new skills. “One of the big raps of the industry,” he noted, “is that when an employer looks at people over 50, they assume that they’re set in their ways in terms of their work habits or how they think about work.” He’s often found that the opposite is true: older programmers use their experience in ways that make them more agile when problem solving.

“During an interview, you have to be able to communicate that, over the years, you’ve been able to listen carefully and understand the requirements and business analysis of a project,” Stanger advised, “and you then have to demonstrate how you were and are able to meet requirements, by adjusting how you think and use your skills to solve a problem. This proves that you can learn and change.”

Fit and flexibility may count more for an older worker than having the exact skill requirements (although your skills do matter—a lot). “A tools match was not the thing that worked for me,” said Kukolich, who, after interviewing at two companies, landed a job as a QA engineer at Fidelity Investments. “What worked for me was basically that my background matched the background they needed and the people at Fidelity were willing to accept that I was capable of learning.” Kukolich found that she didn’t have to know every detail of every tool, but did need a track record of being able to learn new things.

Stanger emphasizes that active, in-person networking is essential to finding the right job. “Work with fellow programmers to get introductions,” he suggested. “Get to know as many groups as possible and get as many introductions as possible.”

Don’t forget to line up your letters of recommendation, as well. “People that you know well, tell you things about yourself that you think are ordinary and they turn out to be special is a marvelous thing,” Kukolich said. “That was part of what gave me the confidence to succeed.”

No matter what your age, when you find yourself in front of the right hiring manager, you can succeed by leveraging the considerable breadth of your experience, and showing an aptitude for learning.

48 Responses to “Getting a Programming Job When You’re Over 50”

  1. Surak

    I am thoroughly disillusioned. I have a Ph.D. in math, and was an adjunct university instructor for years. After that opportunity dwindled away, I completed a M.S. in applied statistics (including programming in SAS and R) and graduate business certificate, and began accumulating numerous additional certifications in SQL and other areas.

    Two years and 200 job applications later, I haven’t been able to land a job in industry, even at entry-level. They say I’m “overqualified” or “underqualified”. My significantly less qualified – but younger – classmates have six-figure paying jobs. The reason is clear.

    Consulting has not – yet – been as lucrative as I’d hoped. I’m likely headed back to academia. Meanwhile, lots of companies have lost an employee with a huge skill set and passion for learning, integrating, and communicating.

  2. I concur with Surak on every point. It is frustrating to be considered overqualified – does wisdom and experience count for nothing these days? What is with the trend of “we want someone with experience but not that much experience”?

    People, go watch the movie, “The Intern”.

  3. It appears that there are too many people for the number of jobs on earth. Since the political economic infrastructure does not seem to be able to adapt and create enough jobs, and people don’t want to change that, it’s clear that we just need fewer people. A world war, pandemic, or epic natural disaster that wipes out half of the human population should do, so support pro-war and anti-public health politicians and maybe in 5 years there will be enough jobs for all the survivors. There were lots of jobs in Europe after the plague passed through in the 1300s.

  4. I am a youthful 56 with 37 years of experience in Aviation, project management, research, data analytics and life. Can’t even get a response from UAS companies.

  5. Jacques Gambu

    The problem is that there are too few jobs. Entrepreneurs are not benevolent. They do not create jobs to help their fellow citizens earn a living, they create jobs in the hope of becoming rich or richer. Progressive taxation creates a disincentive to create jobs. The only way to get out of the current economic stagnation is to make taxation less progressive.

  6. dwfAustin

    I have empathy for anyone on this post or in fact the U.S. ( that hasn’t just moved here with a STEM Visa and had a job before they even arrived in the last 5 years ) that are looking for work for any length of time. It’s daunting. (Fill in blank) People from _____are immigrating to the U.S. in droves and the blame should be placed on the shoulders of the 100 + companies that have a permanent recruiting office in their country. The competition is stiff, there is no doubt about it, and although Elisabeth wrote a lovely article it doesn’t help when someone writes about how you should dance for a 25 – 30 year old in an interview. Convincing said person that despite someone’s geriatric looks that, yes, this over 50 person, with a M.S. or Ph.d in respective tech field, can actually learn and not wear a drool bib. I know everyone has some and this is my bit of advice to anyone over 50 looking for a job is stay away from companies where the hiring manager is less than 30 years old, the age spectrum for 95% of the employees is between 24-30, and finally it is an exciting tech company where everyone wants to work. There are some good programming and IS jobs out there for people over 50 they just might not be glamorous. Surak, MC, Mike and Tim God Bless you guys. Good luck.

  7. gotoman

    I am 52 almost 53 have been out of work as a computer tech/help desk/network admin. sense Aug 29th. I have a great resume’ that has been reworked by several people to help me. I have been on approx 25 in person interviews. The experience I have a across a broad range of tech support. I have personally actually seen an interviewers chin drop when I walked in. This person continually stated they had people of all ages but as I was walking out they were having a Thanksgiving pot luck and not a single one was over 25. I have went back to get some new certs like Comptia Security+ and soon CCNA. However I fear for my future. I don’t like it when people ask a wide variety of questions that elude to age. Can you bend down to pick up this several times a day. What kind of physical activities do you do when not at work, what do you think of working for a manager or with coworkers that are less than half your age. I do my best to not say anything that would make me look bad however I show my emotions through my skin color. My fair skin turns bright red when agitated even if I don’t say anything. I had to contend with interviewing with people from India after loosing my job to offshoring to India. DON’T let this to lead you to racism. I went to my friends and discussed this and realized I had to address it and I now have no anger towards the people. But hiding the angst towards my former company is a different matter.
    I guess what I am ranting about is does anyone know of a support for males that have been displaced in this manor. I am really happy the person in the post was able to get support but is it there for us males? God bless everyone.

    • dave click

      ha, then dont complain, you have been indoctrinated to believe that letting foreigners take your job is racism. You and everyone else defending the mass immigration of third world workforce only have yourselves to blame when youre thrown on the scrapheap in your later years.

  8. I concur with commenters here. I am 56 (almost) and have been searching for tech work for five years. I graduated among the top people in my class and have a passion for computers that is unmatched. My skill set is no less than others half my age who have gone on to outrageous fortune.
    One thing that is under mentioned here is the fact that our industry is saturated with MS types who now have to accept entry level positions to survive. Let’s face it. If you have the choice between a BSIT and an MSIT for the same money you will go with the higher degree every time. So here is a good solution.
    VOTE! We have a golden opportunity this fall to usher in a new era for America. To expand business to sectors that are yet unexplored. We can provide a way for us to help ourselves to a better future. It is all up to you fellow citizens but you MUST make your voice heard. It doesn’t matter who you vote for so long as you vote. It DOES make a difference.

  9. I was out of work 5 months in 2015. I took classes at the local community college given by Damian Birkel, author of “Job Search Checklist” , and joined his support group “Professionals in Transition”. I also used the excellent resources that GOODWILL provides for the unemployed. The last resource I would recommend is the social media site LINKEDIN where I published my resume after I polished it up using the guidance of Damian and the GOODWILL professionals. I was contacted through LINKEDIN and hired at an increased salary. I just turned 66.

  10. This article is misleading and does nothing but promote false hope. I have a triple major which includes computer science, recent CISCO certifications, all of the available CompTIA certifications, and am a certified MENSA member. I can get through all of the phone interviews and be a finalist for almost every position. As soon as the company learns I’m 56, I am disqualified. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice. This is the “new normal” economy. The only places for a worker over 50 Is at Lowe’s or Walmart. They want someone in their 30’s or an H1-B guest worker from India. Any hiring manager would have his head on a platter for hiring someone my age.

  11. Harder to connect with people 10+ yrs younger then yourself. Different views, different experiences, different sense of what’s important. Focus on the connection .. that thing which gets one person hired over the other.

    Tech has changed in that the knowledge and capabilities required have dropped significantly … though people may pretend it’s the same … but it isn’t. In my view tech is no longer a worthwhile pursuit in terms of a career. Lots of people are becoming aware of that.

    My suggestion, if you have a lot of experience … dumb yourself down a bit. If the job doesn’t require a higher level of expertise … no point showing that off.

    Tech jobs, especially computer science … is history in terms of a career … best to stay away from it.

  12. Kobe Mauz

    Agree the story is misleading. Even over 40 you are rejected as a developer. No indian manager will hire you. Their caste system considers developers failures if their not in management by that age. Nobody really wants to write code anymore really. Over 50 lets be honest we are not as quick as we were or have the energy to work long hours. In these modern times we should be ready to change careers a few times. Everyone is looking for C programmers now… Go figure. Not even the indian firms know what a device driver is anymore

  13. Don't feel Old

    I’m 58 and I have been a contractor at a large energy company on and off for 15 years. After a VERY long hiring freeze, a position opened up and I was eagerly encouraged to apply for it by the group’s manager. I did, interviewed and was told, “You’ll hear by next week.”
    What I heard was they hired the young man with a B.S.for a position that has been reduced (by corporate) to an entry level customer service position. This gentleman will be bored to tears when he discovers that there will be no network trouble shooting nor any Active Directory work. That’s what happened after they hired the intern with the B.S. in System Engineering eighteen months ago. This is his replacement.
    Interns are considered employees and get first crack at any position opened.

  14. Dave McLoughlin

    52 here. I get sick of puff pieces like this article that tell you to modify your resume and get a recruitment managers attention. They give some heart warming examples of a couple of people who got a job. It’s great giving this advice to people who could out-think you in their sleep, like they never thought of their resume or interviewing technique themselves. It’s quite patronising really. Ageism, like sexism and racism are firmly entrenched in the ITC industry here in Australia and if you haven’t moved into management roles by 40 you are going to find the going harder and harder. I am sick of being interviewed by children with NO understanding of anything I talk about regarding tech telling me they will submit my resume, but If something else comes along they might put me on that instead. I can have a great interview and then get told later I am too senior or I don’t have enough Linux (just one example) or some other BS like that. That is what I have to listen to when I have been doing System Admin in Linux/BSD for 20+ years an can run circles around most young guys and gals using these operating systems. I think what happens is although I do well in the interview with the people there, I will get shut down because of my age after other people (hiring managers and higher management) find out my age.

  15. TheCorporateCriminals

    >>the only way to win, is not to play.

    That is what I have done. I quit my job (at 57) after realizing that making less money each year and “accepting” benefits and bonus cuts was the new standard business practice.
    With a commute that was 2.5 – 3 hours (round trip) every day, and $5000 a year spent just going to work, including lunches, gas, trains tickets, parking. etc.
    This just doesn’t work when you will NEVER get a promotion to the next salary grade level (this was common for decades). Each year people who haven’t been terminated, effectively make less money, as they do more work and have less benefits. Tech jobs are VERY replaceable, you have noticed.
    Disrespectful and/or dishonest managers (if you are an over-50 white guy in this environment you are pretty much laughed at) are the NORM. For me it was no longer worth mind numbing boredom and petty harassment and diminishing compensation. I am lucky to have made money for two decades as a contractor when the pay was either great or very good.

    The Tech work has changed to mostly productivity tools in many large companies (Banks, Insurance, Health Care etc).
    No one had interest in my C, Server programming, UNIX script etc. It’s all changed and one takes whatever repetitive work is given to make a salary.

    The H1B Corporate crime against american workers has driven down wages and destroyed employment opportunities, as it was intended to do. They fire hundreds of experienced and dedicated workers in a single department, replace them with inexperienced low wage foreign workers. Then your patriotic billionaire corporate CEO heroes tell the Congress that there aren’t enough skilled American workers to fill their glorious “hi-tech” positions, and ask for MORE H1B visas.
    This is driven by corporate America NOT the government.

    Open your eyes, people. If you are over 50, the American corporation sees you as trash to be taken out to the curb. They see you as useless. Sure keep saying your prayers, that will change everything.

    Find another career and fast. It’s over. Renewable Energy, Health Care, or how about plumbing?

  16. truthseeker

    Just like all the others here, being older is a hate crime against IT.
    I had only a few programming courses back in the late 90s, and I got into a training program and worked mainframe for 10 yrs.

    Then they did massive outsourcing and I got laid off. I went and got my Soft Eng degree, did an internship, but can’t get a job in IT right now.

    All I can say is get out – its like trying to be an actor or an astronaut, or a professional athlete. Its that hard.

    Go find something that THEY will let you do.

  17. Stan the man

    In my opinion, the solution is for you all get together and create your own tech companies and hire mostly people over 50. There is a solution to every problem.

    • Ryan Bassette

      Just wanted to say ‘Thanks folks’ for the deeply depressing comments lol; I’m 46 and contemplating new careers, and have always had a passion for computers and have merely dabbled as I pursued another career that simply didn’t work out (medicine…yes I dropped out of med school)….now at ‘midlife’ the advice the well-meaning layperson gives you is ‘age is just a number…hey you love computers and that is hotter and more needed than ever’ etc…this thread sucked the fun out just a tad bit. I think the lay-public (and this really includes all of us to a certain extent…we only know the niche we are familiar with) is fairly clueless regarding the true composite that is the tech industry.

  18. Anonymous

    This is why more and more American students aren’t going for tech degrees anymore. They see how their parent’s careers have ended in that field and they’re now going for something that could have more longevity in a career.

  19. Anonymous

    I’m in my early sixties and I’ve been downsized a couple of times. Last time, about 10 years ago, I was able to get employment by finding a contract. After some time, I was able to switch to a so-called “permanent” position. This time around, I came to the realization that the contracts go to H-1B people and Americans are at a disadvantage. This is because many of the hiring managers are Indian and also because there are some big Indian contracting agencies with USA branches that sponsor the H-1B workers. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the Indian workers themselves – or people of Indian nationality in general. These people are exploited by their employers and they are victims of the whole unfortunate situation, too. They work for less pay and they never stand up for themselves. Guess what that does for the workplace in general? I just wonder if government could be doing more to protect american workers. Some steps have been taken to limit H-1B visas. IMHO, it’s not enough and it’s not happening fast enough.

    • I am from india. I have been on H1B (long ago), went on to get a green card but gave it up later to return to my home country and then went on to work for a decade in IT industry in india. you have surmised and summarized correctly on the problem. Age discrimination and labor arbitrage are basic facts of life. back when i got employed, i wasnt replacing anyone or getting knowledge transfer. i was hired by an american company that sponsored me on H1B. Today the scene is vastly different with direct displacement of workers in the USA by low cost low wage and in many cases, low/average competency deployments from india etc. IT jobs and a long term career in it are dream fulfilling in india and they are not considered low wage from their perspective. People are not standing up because their status is actually elevated either at the stage of being a fresher in many cases or atleast later in mid management level for others. Corporate america along with global corporations with considerable help of politicians have set this paradigm firmly in place and i dont see it toppling unless there is massive backlash from common people against their government. yes none of it is fair but the 1% is doing extremely well and the next 10% are decently served by this system.

    • I am unlucky enough to find myself exactly in the situation you are describing. I was hoping to get out of it with a redundancy but it doesn’t seem happening. So I am stuck and it hurts a lot! It is a disgrace and feel I am purposely mistreated every day for it to get me tired and leave.

  20. software engineering corporate america is actually a cheese factory. no wonder age discrimination is rampant. convicted felons (so called corporations) like at&t literally flip a coin each year to let go one out of three over fifty employees and the list goes way longer. on the other hand, especially under current so called administration, outsourcing to india is higher than ever before, outstanding professionals and even companies, especially in ai, ml, big data are leaving the country. remote jobs are on free fall, just as expected, like they say, the fish start getting bad from the head. good luck folks!

  21. Anonymous

    regardless the level of cheese factory, rich yet socially underdeveloped and under-developing places, where discriminations is based on country of origin, color of skin, political and religious orientation, age, gender, who you know instead of what you know or nepotism (see rgb(0xFF, 0xFF, 0xFF) h*use “team”) age, health, weight, where education is exorbitant and literally under any civilized standards, being literally invaded by ex british colonies (e.g. india) so called teachers, imported here mostly illegally by body bodies, so regardless, there is something we all have to do in technology, something which is more important than anything else, which is: learn and Learn and LEARN, on daily and nightly basis, get new skills and use the right tool for the job instead of the tool you already know for all jobs, related or not. on the bright side, the more programming languages, hardware and software platforms, programming idioms, methodologies and frameworks you know, the easier it is to learn new one and dynamically adapt, mostly by analogy. experience can easily be ported if you consider mapping existing knowledge to new “things”, if you are positive, open to learning (brain plasticity is key, if you stopped learning 20 years ago, would probably take a while to get back into shape) and enthusiasm for new/not always but mostly better/smarter ways to do things, wide range from bare metal hardware and assembly to r, spark and highest level abstractions. if you do that and still don’t get a job, move on and do not look back. but you will. good luck my fellow…

  22. Jeffrey Lux

    I am a 57 year old health professional taking my first programming course in Python with the thought of perhaps transitioning into the tech field…..certainly in reading the majority of the comments above, the outlook appears bleak. Would remote positions working from home and less face to face interaction with the younger upstarts be a better way to go? I look forward to your comments.

  23. I am 55 now, and haven’t had a programming job in over 5 years. In the meantime, I have sent quite a few applications, and got 2 responses, one from Amazon who wanted me to go to Seattle for interviewing, which I refuse to do. I worked as a programmer in Seattle in the nineties when I was young, and going back there now makes me both scared and sad. I also refuse to work for Bezos. Fortunately, I had enough savings so that I have managed, and now make a decent living trading derivatives for about 10% annualised returns which is enough as I have left the USA and live in a 3rd world country. I have no feelings of antipathy and I fully understand why I won’t be hired. If the boot was on the other foot, I wouldn’t hire a 55 year old either. Modern programming teams are young and an older person will disrupt the atmosphere. I am now just gonna survive till 62 when I will start collecting my social security checks. To those who want to or need to get back into the grind, I have 2 pieces of advise. If you can, lower your age to 45. And get a facelift.

  24. Silicon Valley casualty

    I am 52, have two masters degrees in econ & finance, and an undergrad in comp sci and business MIS. This problem of rampant ageism and worker displacement is far greater than simply “programming jobs”. Luckily for me, I did exceptionally well in my 20s, when I started and sold two companies before going back to grad school in my 30s. After that, I was a corporate executive at a large public software company here in Silicon Valley. I was chief architect and led a division of nearly 250 developers, and was widely praised for having both deep technical and leadership experience.

    Then, a bunch of private equity guys came in and “restructured”. Typical story. I wasn’t worried at all, being only 49 at the time. I was confident I’d find another role quickly.

    It didn’t happen. Over 5 years I managed to secure only 2 on-site interviews; only 1 that made it past the first round. I was consistently interviewing with hiring managers and peers who were 20 years my juniors who had not only less experience but fewer credentials, both academic and professional. The reasons given were always the typical cop-outs. Overqualified. Lacking some minute, specific experience. “Not a fit for the culture”.

    All just code for, “too old”.

    And there’s also the giant elephant in the room no one will talk about honestly. You can still get jobs over 50, though harder than it is for a 29 year old, if and only if you’re not a white male. The entirety of the tech and financial industries, which is where most of the tech jobs are, have implemented aggressive “diversity and inclusion” programs that put white guys on the bottom of the pile. Top-tier executive recruiters have openly told me not to bother pursuing this or that senior (or even mid-level) role because, “they’re really hoping for a ___”. Hell, I even once walked in to the offices of an elite Sand Hill recruiter for a CIO job opportunity (yuck) and the assistant turned me away at the reception desk because, “oh, I thought you were a woman; this role is for a woman” (my shortened first name can be male or female).

    Sorry, but this and all the other well intended articles are worthless in helping to actually get a job.

  25. Born in USA

    Ageism in IT directed toward Americans
    Is depressing. This is happening
    In Health Care. The American Born
    Nurse is rarely seen by patients in
    Houston Hospitals. Indian, Filipino,
    Ugandan nurses have contracts with
    Hospitals . The hospitals also receive
    A $5,000/ yr. tax write off for each
    H1-B nurse hired.

  26. Bills Tan

    Young people don’t be happy, one day will become age 50 and unemployed also. Our society just not enough work for everyone. Unemployed among old people become norm and this issue keep repeating without ending… These thing tell us, there are something wrong for our society.

    We waste so much human resources for those unemployed and capable people. Now human can live longer even over age 90, age over 50 honestly still young, doesn’t means they are useless and can’t work anymore.

  27. Thanks guys. I am not American and wanted to change my career to Tech from Finance at the age of 30. After what I saw from comments I basically terrified. So at that counting I only have 20 more years and after that I will be unemployed. Maybe I should change my decision

  28. Happened to me since my forties. A person said you should hire someone in their thirties (42), and I was even told they want someone younger, before I started a new project, in my fifties.

    No matter what new skills I can do, the same as anybody else, people think that an older person cannot do it, and they are cast aside.

  29. Daniel

    Many thanks to all those who commented on this topic. I was seriously thinking that the programming industry may be my next career change as I am now 50, but after what I’ve read I believe that is not a good idea.

    I currently work in health care and due to them wanting me to have a vaccine I am unable to have as I suffer from many allergic reactions I feel I am being forced out of this position. Also it would seem my country is trying to make it mandatory for vaccines otherwise I will be fired.

    Looks like retail is out of the question as well with many stores closing down, and factory work is only taking young people as well. If you’re 50 + it would seem you are over the hill as far as recruiters are concerned.

    Working for yourself seems to be the only way out of this mess. If you want to be a web developer then go freelance, set up your own company and sell your expertise, specialize perhaps in something like WordPress or maybe even make games for android etc. Anything I suppose that can capitalize on the remote working that most need to do now due to the Covid,.

  30. Daniel, the vaccine issue is a real minefield. None of the vaccines has full FDA approval – only emergency use authorization (EUA). Therefore they are experimental drugs. No one should be legally able to force you to take an experimental drug, but apparently the EEOC has approved such ultimatums.

    I will not take the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) for just the reason you specified: inflammatory and auto-immune responses. If you can get your doctor to write a note to your employer, perhaps you can get an exemption. Good luck!

  31. Anonymous

    As far as I know , the health care industry is the safest field where you can work and retire from. Don’t come to tech. This is an advice from a person working in tech, being laid off many times and still not settled with a full time job in my forties.

  32. Amy Thomas

    Oddly, I’m more encouraged after reading comments. I am 48, trying to learn programming, or not ‘tryiing’, I am learning to program, and am finding myself reading books on this and anything related, such as calculus, and am enjoying it. I am realistic enough to know that my daughter’s experience of being hired out of college into a 6 figure salary won’t be mine. I do actually feel better about the fact that I don’t have a degree, and though I’d never have thought I’d be in this position at my age, I may not be able to obtain one, not anytime soon. I have no programming experience either. I am actually now seeing this as a plus, and some of my rather menial past work experience as a plus also, and online I come a cross much younger and more outgoing (based on a lot of unsolicited feedback) so maybe that will work out, compared to likely feeling more out of place in person. (Score one for immaturity!) That’s where I’m going to have to work anyway for health reasons. One thing I have noticed, though not an easy route I’m sure, is that most of the people I’ve found most inspiring lately, and not all in this specific field, but some, are people who basically carved out a position for themselves one way or another.. Not an easy route, but ultimately, one I’m thinking can be the most rewarding.

  33. Stewart Hyde

    I turn 60 years old recently and i had successful care of only 5 loyal jobs including the last one which I work at home with full lab from a restaurant company that I was provided for previous company dealing with POS of sale system. I been a very loyal and in case of last company (too loyal – should have known better with lawsuits against the company). In March 2020, I surprising got laid off and it was an eye opening – with 24 years of MFC C++ experience in not worth much – but even though I was able to self-learn modern technology like Microsoft Blazor, that does not seem to matter much. Loyalty does not matter even one time I reported being paid twice. Unfortunately as a 60 year old geek – I purchase too many gadgets and thanks to me house, and other things, I not out on street. Is my programing career over – I would love to write a book on Autism but my writing is not good. Two years to retirement age – but as an Asperger, I did not think of that in the past and thought I would be forever coding.

  34. daveclick

    And even if you are in s job when you hit your forties/fifties you will find you get all the crap jobs whilst the exciting stuff go to grads and eventually you get moved into roles like testing and documentation. Meanwhile you have to teach all the 2nd rate contractors they hire to do a programming job you can do in your sleep but management have deemed you past it.

    I advise everyone thst unless thrg are doecisl to avoid this industry like the plague.

  35. eccentty

    I entered into development field when I was 40. The sources I refer to are my friend who owns tech company and a relative who was a programmer for a couple of years before turning into project manager. The reason I entered tech was to learn a lot before I can use the knowledge to start my own business. The market is situated but there are still people starting businesses. Sometimes unexpected stuff can also be turned into business. I read a reddit post where a person coded customised static sites for rent. Also there people in my country who built app to cater to factory machines repair. I remember reading/watching (can’t remember exactly) that Elon Musk started his own company when he can’t find a job. I know it’s easy to say that if you really love what you do, don’t lose hope. I still agree to this and want to add that please look at the job market requirement before you start, i.e. if you don’t plan to start a business right away.

  36. Fifty Years Young

    Just the picture of this article and the title, reflects how the workforce sees us, we who are in our 50s. Society has put people after 40 in a box and ‘labeled useless’. AGEISM IS REAL. You can put all your qualifications or dumb down your resume, and if you’re “too old” for their company or department, they will find any excuse to not hire you. In my opinion, LinkedIn is a physical attractiveness contest for the young only, they mostly look younger than 29. When you look at jobs in that platform and see the applicants, who are *your competition*, they all look under 29–and the majority of them physically attractive. I read stories of middle age people and others not so photogenic putting their profile photo in LinkedIn, and not get a single connection for a job, not even an entry level position. I personally have applied for different jobs through other platforms, and when they call me asking me a few questions hinting my approximate age and hear my middle age person voice, I don’t hear back from them. I immediately know why.
    I guess the only way is freelance— *for now*, until that also gets sooo competitive that clients begin to ‘judge their project candidate’ by their youth and physically attractiveness.
    Sad world and society we live in.

  37. And to think that our political leaders, when faced with older people losing their jobs, recently said, “They can learn to code.” In light of the comments above (which seem accurate concerning the current state of affairs) such a statement seems even more ridiculous. It is the new “Let them eat cake” for our era.