Older Tech Pros Want Different Jobs Than Younger Ones

Do older tech pros pursue different jobs than their younger colleagues? According to a new data analysis by Indeed, the answer is “yes.”

Tech workers over the age of 40 tend to pursue jobs that require management experience, including vice president of information technology, director of information technology, chief engineer, director of security, and director of product management (just to name the top aspirational roles).

Indeed also saw data suggesting these older workers really gravitate toward IT manager and IT project manager roles. These positions require skills such as budgeting, coaching, project management, and technical support, in addition to “hard” technical skills.

“Absent from the list for those older than 40 are any jobs that feature significant programming or code writing responsibility,” read the note accompanying Indeed’s data. “It is also worth noting that a few of the titles distinct to older workers fall within the realm of information technology, a preference not shared with younger workers.”

Meanwhile, younger tech pros are pursuing jobs that require pretty heavy-duty coding, including Java developer, machine learning (ML) engineer, data scientist, JavaScript developer, front-end developer, and Android developer. These jobs align with the “hot” tech segments at the moment, including artificial intelligence (A.I.), mobile, and data analytics; it’s also no coincidence that those segments pay quite a bit, especially ML and A.I.

What can tech pros take from this data? Technical skills are vital, but those who want a sustained career in tech would probably do well to learn some management skills, as well. Although it’s certainly possible to have a decades-long career as a developer, tech pros after 40 are clearly gravitating toward management and vice-president slots.

Some younger tech pros may hate the idea of assuming a management position, thinking it will take them away from working on cool stuff, but these senior roles really do give you the chance to guide a firm’s tech roadmap. And that’s a pretty big opportunity, even if it means you no longer code very often.

3 Responses to “Older Tech Pros Want Different Jobs Than Younger Ones”

  1. Michael

    Exactly correct. To be clear, “development” can still be a “part” of it, but really I just expect the kind of respect that goes with years of experience in the trade. Never mind having more skin in the game, and expecting the corresponding ROI.

  2. Paula Jones

    Of course “older” and “younger” tech pros want different jobs.

    Older tech pros are an advanced version of the younger pros who have ALREADY experienced (suffered?) the company happily working them for 40 hours per week — or exploiting them for 100 hours per week — all for the exact same wage on payday.

    Younger pros have no lives (or so they believe at the time) while older pros have families, outside interests, vacations, and other “distractions” that prevent them from working an extra 60 hours per week at no additional cost for The Firm.

    Younger pros will figure this out some time between age 27 to age 37. They will then be laid off immediately and promptly replaced by sharecroppers, errrr “H1B Visa workers” desperately fleeing various 3rd world toilet bowl countries under the control of centralized government Socialists… and willing to do ANYTHING to get into the USA.

  3. Ocean Breeze

    What a surprise – more experienced people are doing jobs that require more experience. Do you think if a 2-year-out-of-college developer applied for the VP of Software Engineering at a large company that he or she would be qualified to run a department with hundreds of people? You get to that type of role because you’ve built up to it.