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Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the speak-up-sonny dept.

Education 306

First time accepted submitter Hatfield56 writes "I've been in IT since the mid-1980s, mainly working for financial institutions. After 16 years at a company, as a programmer (Java, C#, PL/SQL, some Unix scripting) and technical lead, my job was outsourced. That was in 2009 when the job market was basically dead. After many false starts, here I am 3 years later wondering what to do. I'm sure if I were 40 I'd be working already but over 60 you might as well be dead. SO, I'm wondering about A+. Does anyone think that this will make me more employable? Or should I being a greeter at Walmart?"

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306 comments

Built up your own business? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921807)

Make some software and get rich.

Re:Built up your own business? (2)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922107)

I agree. What have you been doing the last 3 years? Hopefully building some useful software for someone..

Consulting (5, Insightful)

dhermann (648219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921815)

Rather than applying for a full-time position, have you considered forming your own independent consulting business? You would have to leverage your contacts in the industry, but there is a massive difference in the culture between hiring a 60-year-old technical lead and hiring a 60-year-old's consulting business. Vendor management contacts just won't care, in my opinion, if you're professional and can get results.

Re:Consulting (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922067)

Indeed: I'm his age and retire in a year and a half. But if I'd been job hopping for the last 40 years and not built up a pension, I'd be looking to go into business myself, because most employers simply won't hire geezers.

Cut your own trail (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922219)

The problem you face is one that I faced long ago in a completely different vein. I was unemployable, because although I had developed programming skills, they were self-taught by reading books and websites rather than school. Without significant experience, I was unemployable as all the jobs had requirements like Bachelor's requirements.

So I did what seemed to be the only thing left - started my own company! I chatted it up with anybody I could find who ran a business and needed something done, found some people willing to pay for a solution, and worked long hours for a while until my revenue stream was sufficient to live on. Now 15 years later, I have ownership of a valuable company that has grown successfully every single year since starting, employees working a job they like with decent pay and a work environment set up the way I like it. Sure, it has its stresses, but they are stresses I choose to assume or ignore, and I like the control that offers me.

It's not for everyone, but I will probably never have a "job" ever again.

Re:Cut your own trail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922447)

You, sir or ma'am, are Doing It Right.

Re:Cut your own trail (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922657)

I completely agree. The path to success is building an ownership interest in something, rather than working for someone else.

I was laid off in 2008 and have decided on the entrepreneurial path, and never regretted it. It is tremendously scary at times (especially when starting up and money is tight), but the sense of freedom is a real rush. You will never be unemployed again, because you are the last one ever to get laid off.

- Carbon _tet

Re:Consulting (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922879)

Yeah I'm getting tired of all these people who say "oh I'm 40/50/60 and I can't get a job, waah!" This isn't a new trend, it's been there for ages. I'm 50 and even before I graduated I was aware that it would be hard to get a new "programming" job past 30/35, so guess what, whenever I could I demanded high pay and I put the extra money into a retirement fund. Result: at the age of 40 I stopped being a working stiff and became part-time freelance programmer, part-time retired.

Lesson for the young'uns: don't rely on a company pension, don't rely on having a job beyond the age of 35. Start saving money as soon as you start working. Put the money into aggressive, high-risk mutual funds at first, since you can still recover from losses, then move them into more conservative funds over the years. By the time you hit 35 you'll be telling yourself "heck I can retire tomorrow" and that'll give you the confidence to negotiate a top salary which will pad your retirement fund even more, which will let you retire even sooner.

And by all means, start organising your own freelance business when you hit 30. Remember: you're not successful as long as you're working for somebody else and have to ask permission to take a week off.

A+ = F (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921825)

A+ is one the most useless certifications out there. Can you plug in a mouse? Then your A+ certified!

Re:A+ = F (2)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922345)

A+ is one the most useless certifications out there. Can you plug in a mouse? Then your A+ certified!

Quoth the un-certified. Some certifications are good for some things, but no certification is good for all things. A+ has it's place, and it's quite a bit more then certified mouse installer. An A+ certificate and knowing how to use Google should be enough to get you an interview for the help desk. Depending on the company, that can be better then Wal-Mart greeter, and (again, depending on the company) the options for growth can be much better.

Sorry, moot point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921839)

After 60 it's ice flow time.

IT jobs at 60. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921841)

I feel for you. I was laid off 6 years ago at 50 and I finally got a state IT tech job for way, waaaaayyyyyy less money.

I have almost built back up to where I was 7 years sgo but it was tough.

A+ or any of the other minor certs will not make much difference in your job marketability.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (5, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922093)

This is the bit that has always amazed me. Our sector thrives on experience and there hasn't been anything genuinely new these past 20 years. Only the jargon and the syntax of the languages ever changed.

The only reason why I never employ somebody past 40 is because we can't pay the kind of money they expect. So you may have to scale back on that. No kind of certification trumps the kind of resume you could send.
Also you may have to disclose your retirement plans. And one possible cause making you unemployable are insurance premiums. Disclose you have your own healthcare plan and don't need that from your prospective employer. Perhaps your best option would be to go freelance? Corporate HR tends to be stupid when it comes to hiring.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (5, Informative)

eln (21727) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922329)

Just so you know, asking an older person for their retirement plans in an interview or at any point during the hiring process can open you up to a very costly age discrimination lawsuit. Not hiring people over 40 because you think they'll ask for too much money will do the same. If you're simply reporting that people that age tend to ask for too much money that's one thing, but if you're proactively screening out older applicants because you think they might ask for too much money, that's against the law.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922597)

Just so you know, asking an older person for their retirement plans in an interview or at any point during the hiring process can open you up to a very costly age discrimination lawsuit. Not hiring people over 40 because you think they'll ask for too much money will do the same. If you're simply reporting that people that age tend to ask for too much money that's one thing, but if you're proactively screening out older applicants because you think they might ask for too much money, that's against the law.

This is an excellent point. It's also counterproductive to the employer. I'm 50. I've been programming for 30 years. Both houses are paid off. I have no debt, no car payments, no boat payments, and no kids. I've got a big 401K. I don't need much money, yet I love coding and will be coding for the rest of my life. You're gonna miss out if you discriminate against me.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922837)

Perhaps, but shouldn't you let somebody who actually needs that job have it? There are a lot of other things that geezers can do for excitement besides take jobs they don't need.

Don't have kids? Have some kids! The economy sucks and you'll have no trouble finding some tramp who's willing to squeeze out a couple in exchange for security. Join a golf or shuffleboard club. Get a P.I. license and start your own business legally and professionally stalking people. Run around slapping butts and blame it on senility. Move to a nudist colony. The world is your clam, make some chowder with it!

Or, failing that, blow your chowder all over 19 year-old prostitutes met on Backpage or Craigslist.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:IT jobs at 60. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922661)

Just so you know, asking an older person for their retirement plans in an interview or at any point during the hiring process can open you up to a very costly age discrimination lawsuit. Not hiring people over 40 because you think they'll ask for too much money will do the same. If you're simply reporting that people that age tend to ask for too much money that's one thing, but if you're proactively screening out older applicants because you think they might ask for too much money, that's against the law.

I think just nailed why people have trouble getting hired at that age. It's potentialy risky and costly as is, and any attempts at using disclose to make yourself less risky to an employer only ends up making you more risky.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (2)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922885)

I think just nailed why people have trouble getting hired at that age. It's potentialy risky and costly as is, and any attempts at using disclose to make yourself less risky to an employer only ends up making you more risky.

It's OK if you volunteer the information. It's just not OK for the company to ask.

Re:IT jobs at 60. (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922673)

...and this is exactly the reason why corporate HR has trouble hiring past 60. Your best bet is to be open about it IF you even get an interview.
I don't know about the situation in the US but a mandatory retirement age(which the US may or may not have) solves this bit of the problem. No need to ask in that case.
You are perfectly capable to do the job but are disqualified since the prospective employer doesn't know how long they get to keep you. But they can't ask you since they might get sued. That's a catch-22 they are in if I ever saw one.

So self-employed contractual work is propably the safest way to go.

dude this so sad... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921849)

you should go to grad school...
list the year of your grad school

Grad School 2012
College

work experience past 5 years

Go with the greeter job (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921859)

Spend your spare time chasing kids off your lawn with a broom, yelling at clouds and getting the 4 pm dinner special at your local diner.

A+ (2, Informative)

Niris (1443675) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921865)

Having taken the A+, Network+ and Security+ as a requirement for my current job, I can tell you that they're not worth a damn thing. The tests are simple and they just check basic knowledge that you probably already have as a programmer. You could always go the route a lot of fresh grads who are also not working do: start writing apps. Games are fun, easy and profitable enough if done well. Plus there's a slew of tools to make them quickly produceable. Lately I've been playing with the AppGameKit (AGK) from the Game Creators, and I like it. They have a free version that you could try out and see if it's something you'd be interested in.

Re:A+ (2)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922615)

Having taken the A+, Network+ and Security+ as a requirement for my current job, I can tell you that they're not worth a damn thing.

Emphasis mine.

Apparently they were worth a damn thing, that thing being your job. The worth of a certification isn't simply what it tests you for, it's what job it can get you. If you're not going to have a job unless you get that certification, how much is that certification really worth?

As well, just because A+ covers basic ground level knowledge doesn't make it pointless either. You wouldn't believe how many people I've encountered working in various positions of technology that have a finely honed knowledge of a subject that would be considered "advanced" around the IT world, but wouldn't have the slightest idea how to work out a simple quick on their computer. I remember working under these people, they were called "programmers", and they were some of the most inept people I've met.

(There were other programmers among these that were quite capable, sadly they were also relegated to the minor tasks while the software continued to break at my evil hands. Yes, I was QA, and worked my way up in the company shortly before it went belly up).

Re:A+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922881)

As well, just because A+ covers basic ground level knowledge doesn't make it pointless either.

No, but having to memorize random information is just a waste of time. No, rather, it doesn't prove anything other than you have a brain; most people just lack critical thinking skills.

but wouldn't have the slightest idea how to work out a simple quick on their computer.

Then employers need to make sure people know what they're doing.

Contracting... (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921879)

Get into contracting. If you've not done it before...look around and get with a contracting company....preferrably one that does Federal Govt Contracting.

Can you survive a clearance check?

If so, you should have no problem getting on with a company doing DoD contracting....they OFTEN look for years of experience. If you're good, have a decent resume, they will submit you in....they want you to get the jobs so they can get $$ off you.

The market is often dying to hire people with lots of resume experience.

You definitely have a leg up on younger programmers.

Re:Contracting... (2)

phrackwulf (589741) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922269)

Absolutely, contracting is the way to go! We have a bunch of guys who retired from John Deere to get the benefits and then walked right back in the front door as contractors. If I wasn't interested in running my own business, I'd plan on staying a contrator forever. I love moving every so often. And I don't need health benefits for another ten years or so based on my good genes.

Re:Contracting... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922539)

And I don't need health benefits for another ten years or so based on my good genes.

Err...I'd definitely NOT advise going without health benefits.

If he takes my advice from above, and starts with a contracting house that has federal contracts...he'll basically be a W2 employee of that company most likely....and put on site to work. He'll get full ( and often quite generous) benefits.

If you go indie....form a "S" corp for yourself....1099 your work for billing....and set up a HSA (Health Savings Account), load it up pre-tax for your routine medical car, and accompany that with a high deductible (I did mine at $1200/yr) medical insurance policy, something there for catastrophic emergencies....

Easy Peazy....

Re:Contracting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922639)

$1200/yr is considered "high deductible" now?

Re:Contracting... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922903)

$1200/yr is considered "high deductible" now?

That was pretty much the lowest I could get when I did this, in order to qualify to set up my HSA. I didn't want one much higher, and the payments were quite reasonable, even with my pre-existing conditions.

A+ will show you are qualified to be that greeter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921883)

Seriously, A+?!!

Worthless cert (even more worthless than most other worthless certs).

Try Urbana, Maryland (3, Informative)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921889)

If you spent that much time in financial institutions, the think about Urbana, Maryland. Banner Life has a data center there, as well as Fannie Mae, and the Social Security Administration is moving a data center there. It's pretty good bucks, but far enough outside the DC metro area to be at least reasonable. Just an idea.

Speaking of data centers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922723)

Don't forget the new NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah, USA. Great cost of living, superior (i.e., massive brand new) data farm equipment, and the chance to protect the nation from cyber-terrorists. Who could ask for anything more?

Maybe recreational drugs would help (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921899)

You may or may not get the job, but you won't care. A+??? They still have that?

Freelance (2)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921911)

Try to get some work on the several freelance boards over the internet, start with small jobs and build a reputation. Try to master one specific subject, dont go jack of all trades.

Contracting Contracting Contracting (3)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921919)

IMHO certifications mean little once a person has >10 years of experience

Leverage your experience for some contracting jobs.

Since you worked in a high reliability/availability environment before, target similar areas like telecom, military, avionics, medical equipment.
Also don't forget those industries also require competent Verification and Validation staff on contract. It may be a "step down" in a lot of peoples' opinions, but a job is a job, and it actually is really hard to find V&V people that have programming skills.

Re:Contracting Contracting Contracting (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922671)

IMHO certifications mean little once a person has >10 years of experience

Ah, a sane statement about certifications. However, this can be tempered by the age of the technology that the certification covers. For instance, a certification that covers virtualization shows you're experience isn't simply you riding a legacy tech that few support anymore. Experience and a continued ability to learn are valued commodities.

Keep on trying!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921929)

Keep trying trying trying!!!

In addition to trying to obtain a steady job also look on-line for short term projects. I decided to sacrifice my zombie TV time,pub time and music time for extra evening work and it's netting me an extra $1500/pm and it's just an hour or two each evening on each project.

Best of luck!!!

Walmart greeter (1)

gstovall (22014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921939)

Walmart greeter was my retirement plan as well, but Walmart is phasing out their greeter position.

Re:Walmart greeter (5, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922039)

I don't know about that. I think they are outsourcing in my area. When I pull into the parking lot, there's always a homeless person with a sign welcoming me and asking for donations :\

Enjoy the life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921941)

Just keep yourself enjoying life.

Specialize in area. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921943)

IT skills is a dime a dozen. You need to sell yourself in IT in your particular skillset. Health Care, Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Government... People don't want experienced IT workers. They want IT workers with experience with their business.

Re:Specialize in area. (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922151)

That's partly true when it comes to wanting to be hired by some corporate entity. But those tend to have an HR department that WON'T hire anybody past 40 when they can get 20somethings.

Contracting is the better option.

Expectations (4, Interesting)

Zarjazz (36278) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921973)

I have to ask what your expectations are and be realistic.

As an employer actively recruiting IT staff at the moment, rare in the current job market I know, and I have a choice between a recent uni-graduate and someone with 15 yrs experience who I can hire for almost the same wages because so many skilled IT staff have been laid off and need to pay their mortgage. For me the choice is obvious, I don't care about the age factor.

However I also interview many many people who think they deserve to get the same remuneration they got from their high-flying finance job and wonder why they are still jobless after two years.

Re:Expectations (5, Insightful)

hubang (692671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922485)

For me the choice is obvious, I don't care about the age factor.

That philosophy is a-typical in hiring managers. I've seen too many hiring managers who want that recent college grad (specifically a 22 to 24 year old grad), since he/she will work 80 hours a week without complaining about it. The person with 15 years of experience wants more money and a more reasonable work environment (like spending time with his/her family).

At my last job, they laid off my entire team, except for the guy who graduated 2 months before and lived for the job. No girlfriend. No hobbies.

Also, 3 years out of the job market is considered to be your fault by hiring managers, no matter what. It doesn't matter that you couldn't find a job. And often, people are willing to make ridiculous compromises to get a job these days.

Re:Expectations (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922691)

Man fuck off, everyone and their mother is hiring IT. You are NOT in the position of power here, you need to recognize that before you burn.

Don't get A+ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921983)

Assuming you have skills (and your summary makes it sound like you do), then your problem is knowing how to find a job. It's a multi-step process.

1) Are you able to find companies to apply for? If not, improve your searching ability. You might need to relocate if there are no jobs in your area.

2) Once you are able to find companies, send them your resume (some people are afraid of that, surprisingly). Are you getting responses? If not, then you need to fine-tune your resume until you get responses. Keep changing your resume and you'll get responses eventually.

3) Once you are able to get responses to your resume, the next key is to get interviews. This is not usually hard, but if you have a habit of writing really rude emails you might have trouble.

4) The next step is to do interviews. Some people have trouble with this step. Keep going to interviews and doing them until you get the hang of it. Eventually you will start getting callbacks for second and third interviews.

That's the process. If you have programming skills, it's mainly a matter of presenting yourself in a way that people will understand what you can do. There are plenty of jobs out there, and old people are often the best programmers.

Greeter at walmart... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41921985)

If you get your A+ then you will work at Best Buy for the geek Squad... And from What I have seen there, walmart greeter is a better job.

With your experience why in the world would you even look at the gutter that is the world of A+? with your background in programming there is a lot of freelance stuff you could do. hell start trolling the freelancing boards and pick up jobs you can do from home. Although a lot of those are incredibly low pay. I know of several flash designers with 15 years experience that refuse to look at the freelancer boards...

"wanted an entire website designed in flash with a SQL backend and capable of scalability. Expectedt o take 3-6 months. Willing to pay $250.00 total for the project."

That kind of crap is rampant on the freelancing sites.

Or find a small business that needs a senior programmer. You know more than the 20 somethings, so use your age and experience as a positive!

No chance at Wal-mart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41921987)

Wal-mart doesn't employ door greeters anymore.

Re:No chance at Wal-mart (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922273)

I should probably go back and tell that guy at Walmart who greeted me that he isn't employed anymore, he'll be pissed, but that's life.

Go for greeter at Walmart! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922001)

Okay I meant that as a joke, but age discrimination while illegal DOES happen! Even if you go ahead with the cost of adding A+, you are still facing the same issue. I really don't think it's worth it :-(

Teaching (5, Insightful)

Adekyn (2114976) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922007)

Have you considered obtaining a teaching "certificate" (not necessarily a teaching degree) and teaching kids how to code? Consult your local school system to see if your skills and experience can be used. If they don't have a programming course - offer to create one.

Re:Teaching (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922353)

This. At a community college, where courses in IT typically don't transfer up to a 4 year school, the only requirements to teach are knowing the content and maintaining a heartbeat.

Adjunct pay isn't fantastic (I get about $2k per semester for a 3 credit class, works out to about 25/hr for in class and grading/prep time) but it is income, and if you can land a full time position pay goes up dramatically.

Re:Teaching (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922843)

Have you considered obtaining a teaching "certificate" (not necessarily a teaching degree) and teaching kids how to code? Consult your local school system to see if your skills and experience can be used.

I wish we lived in a world where this would be a good option for an older person with a lot of experience.

Yes, you might be able to get a job at a community college and get paid $1000 or $2000 per class per semester for a lot of prep, grading, etc. If you're smart enough to automate a lot of the grading, it might be worthwhile after the first iteration or two of the class, but the first time teaching will probably require you to be working for minimum wage in terms of your salary. And you won't be able to make a living unless you cobble together an insane teaching load, probably at multiple community colleges.

To go into public schools, you'll probably need a teaching credential, and I have some sad news about that too. About a decade ago, I went through a certification program (which didn't require a further degree) to teach math at the high school level. There was a teaching shortage in the state and area I lived in math and science.

There were a lot of people in the math program, the vast majority of them older people (mostly male) with a lot of practical experience in math -- former engineers, finance people, some computer science people, etc. I would have hired most of them in a heartbeat to teach.

But most of them had a terrible time finding a job, even in districts I know that had multiple openings... even schools in crisis were hesitant to hire a 60-year-old man who actually LIVED math if they had some idiot straight out of college, especially if that idiot had a proper "teaching degree." Administrators don't want to have to keep hiring people, which disadvantages older folks who might retire soon, and they often tend to like younger folks whom they think might "relate" to students better.

So, I really wish we had a culture that would value this person's labor as a teacher, since his experience is probably incredibly useful. But unless he's willing to work for nothing or is lucky enough to get a break from an administrator, this may not be a viable option.

Beans and Cornbread (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922027)

Beans and Cornbread had a fight
Beans knocked Cornbread outta sight
Cornbread said "Now that’s alright, meet me on the corner tomorrow night"
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night

That’s what Beans said to Cornbread "I'll be ready tomorrow night"
Beans told Cornbread you ain’t straight
You better wake up or I'll gash your gate
Been in this pot since half past two
Swelling and puffing and almost due
I'll be ready tomorrow night, that’s what Beans said to Cornbread
You always getting mad at me, I ain’t mad at you
I'll be ready tomorrow night, I'll be ready, Mmmmmm

Beans grabbed cornbread by the toe
Beans said "Cornbread let me go"
Cornbread said "I'll lay you low, I’m gonna fight you, you so and so"
Meet me on the corner, met me on the corner tomorrow night
That’s what Beans said to Cornbread , you so bad, you always wanna fight

Meet me on the corner tomorrow night and I’m gonna beat the hell out of ya
Oooohhhhh (meet) on the corner tomorrow night
Beans hit Cornbread on the head, Cornbread said I’m almost dead
Beans told Cornbread (NOW?) get up man, you know that we go hand in hand

Beans told ???
That’s what Beans said to Cornbread, We should stick together hand in hand
We should get up every morning and hang out together like sister and brothers
Every Saturday night we should hang out like chitterlings and potatoes salad

Like shrawberries and shortcakes, YEAH
Like cornbeef and cabbage, YEAH
Like liver and onions, YEAH
Like red beans and rice, YEAH
Like ,YEAH
Like soft cream and v?, YEAH
Like bread and butter, YEAH
Like pot cakes and m
Beans told cornbread, it makes no difference what you think about me,
but it makes a whole lot of differences what I think about you, we
should hang out like together like pot cakes and M
That’s what Beans said to Cornbread

Write android apps. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922041)

If you can program Java really well then you are 90% there for android app writing, Make your living $0.99 at a time. There is a dearth of real business apps for Android.

Re:Write android apps. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922449)

Just grab IntelliJIDEA [jetbrains.com], the Android SDK [android.com], the JDK [oracle.com], and DroidDraw [google.com] and you have a free software stack for writing GUI-driven android applications - perfect for business apps (think barcode readers and form automation).

Note - when setting up IntelliJIDEA, use forward slashes in your JAVA_HOME environment variable or it can't find the JDK on x64 Windows.

Re:Write android apps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922789)

Like for example?

And this, kids ... (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922057)

And this, kids, is precisely why you need to plan aggressively for retirement.

(To the original poster, I don't really have any suggestions, but you're making an important point -- work hard, save hard, and "what can I do to find work" when you're 60 isn't a question you'll need to worry about...)

Re:And this, kids ... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922225)

And this, kids, is precisely why you need to plan aggressively for retirement.

(To the original poster, I don't really have any suggestions, but you're making an important point -- work hard, save hard, and "what can I do to find work" when you're 60 isn't a question you'll need to worry about...)

More like, this kids is why you don't stay in the same field doing the same thing for 30 years. After 30 years doing *anything* (unless you are at or near the best in your field) your job is likely to be up for scrapping. This happens with every industry. Either get into management (and build transferable skills) or get into a new part of your field. I can't go ten minutes without seeing someone looking for good Java or dot net programmers. If the only languages you are experienced in are the same ones you started off in 30 years ago, then yeah it's not a real shocker that you are no longer too employable.

Re:And this, kids ... (1)

aclarke (307017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922433)

Good points, but you'll notice in the summary that this guy says he was doing Java and C# during the 16 years at his last job. So from what we know, he has been keeping more or less with the bulk of the job market.

False Assumptions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922065)

The fact that you're even questioning getting an A+ cert leads me to believe you wouldn't be any more employable if you were 20 years younger.

Be a greeter at Walmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922083)

From the tone of your statements you obviously don't have what it takes in today's software industry.

It's cutthroat... and there is more work than ever so if you can't find any that should be a huge red flag.

I'm not trying to sound harsh... we all have our strengths and weaknesses and it's important, especially as we get older, to recognize these traits and capitalize on them both- coding is not just coding anymore, business networking is key.

Best of luck.

Open Source portfolio (4, Insightful)

flurdy (301431) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922085)

I would recommend (not knowing if you already do this) becoming active with open source projects. I don't necessarily mean become an Apache commiter, but participate in projects in a minor way (bug testing, mailing lists, forums) , create some of your own pet projects however small they may be and share them on github/bitbucket, answer questions on Stack Overflow/Server Fault, etc. That way you establish an online portfolio of who and what you do.

I often refer to people's online presence as a differentiator when I evaluate CVs and interviews. Someone with an active Github account would indicate someone willing to learn and share and would fit in very well in my team. Someone unknown online, would raise a few question marks, and with enough alternative CVs...

Are you in for the money? (2)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922087)

I think the question of whether you want to work for the money or you want to work for having a day-time occupation is important.

If you are in for the money, I am sure there are plenty of opportunities in the consulting/freelance side that you can follow.

If you are in for the occupation, there are plenty of places where you can do something interesting in an open source project, in an association or in a university. Universities are full of interesting software project that never get maintained or made production ready because a full time skilled engineer is too expensive. I am sure you can get some money out of it and work on fun problems.

iOS is an option (3, Interesting)

Nebulo (29412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922109)

A 62-year old friend of mine took an iOS certification course at the University of Washington (Seattle) and promptly found a full-time position at one of the Big Four professional services firms, developing mobile applications for their clients. Prior to this job, he was a self-employed specialty developer, until his wife fell ill and he needed to procure full-time employment.

So hope springs eternal - it's at least possible to get a job after being Of A Certain Age, if you have the right skills for the right field.

nebulo

What to do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922127)

I would suggest a cyanide capsule.

The way things are going that seems to be the least painful solution.

Be Up-To-Date, Hide Your Age (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922141)

Make sure your skills are up-to-date, and structure your resume in such a way as to not reveal how old you really are. For example, no dates on your education and/or military service, leave off early jobs, etc. You might want to dye your hair if you're gray, although I wouldn't go that far.

It's illegal to not hire you due to your age, but of course it's hard to win an age discrimination suit. So don't let it go there.

Other people have mentioned govt. contracting. Some contracting firms like to hire older techies because they fit in well with the aging population of government workers.

You're better off on your own.. (3, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922171)

The problem you're going to experience is that; unless the headhunter knows you're brilliant with tons of experience and willing to do the job for the same pay as some wet-behind-the-ears kid who'll never cut the mustard, when you get to HR, the clueless twit who works there will look at you and show you the door because you're 60.

Start making Android or iPhone apps. Make a name for yourself by consulting; get yourself going with a IT temp shop. Having A+ is like having a driver's license, it's not a path to anything.

If you were with the financial industry and really understand the ins and outs of that, you should be able to get a job in the investment banking sector, as HFT is always looking for guys who are good, and don't make mistakes -- because as we've seen, mistakes can cost millions or even billions in HFT -- so they want really good people, not cheap people who will ultimately cost them even more.

Open Source to keep sharp and network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922189)

Programming chops can fade quickly when not used. Find and open source project aligned with the your experiences and strengths and start contributing.

1) Keeps you sharp
2) Forces you to retool
3) Gets your skills visible
4) Shows interviews you take your craft seriously, and are self-motivated, passionate

Think outside your comfort zone (1)

technomom (444378) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922197)

I would not limit yourself so much, pure programmer jobs are considered low skill these days, particularly if you can't demonstrate skills beyond them. Pure programming jobs these days are easily outsourced to cheaper and younger labor overseas. It sucks to say that but it is the truth. Better to think a little outside your comfort zone. If you have speaking, writing, organizational skills, you should consider starting your own firm or working as a consultant. Consider looking into jobs that require more high level skills like solutions/systems/enterprise architecture, program and project management. Teaching others is also not a bad way to extend your horizons. Check around at local community colleges or universities to see if they need adjunct professors for courses in programming. One way to think about this move is this: If programming didn't exist, what else would you do? That might give you a good look at the other skills you have that you could use to go in another direction. Programming is wonderful. I've loved doing it myself for the past 30 years, but like anything, you never want to tie yourself down to one thing. Always keep your other skills sharp.

Consulting? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922199)

Have you looked into consulting? Presumably, you have a rather large amount of industry experience and breadth of knowledge.

Being a PM, working with companies on IT initiatives, that kind of thing?

After I 'graduated' from my last programming job, I've been in consulting and not writing code. I've actually found it quite rewarding, and companies are looking for people with "big picture" kinds of skillsets and not just people who can work on the technical nuts and bolts.

All of those soft-skills you've likely picked up, like being able to work in meetings, work to build consensus, scheduling and planning, estimating, overseeing .. these are all skillsets people will still be willing to pay for.

There is life after code, and I definitely know people in their 50's and 60's who are still consultants and in demand.

For some tasks, a little age and perspective is actually what is most needed -- it's like the old joke about the young bull wanting to run down and fuck one of the cows, and the old bull wanting to walk down and fuck them all. The stuff you've already done can be really valuable in helping organizations do new things. Sometimes, just having been there and done that gives you the perspective to see similarities in what's going on and understand where to go from there.

But organizations probably aren't looking to hire you as a coder, but as someone who works at a slightly higher level. (And I'm not saying give up on your tech skills, just recognize the your experience might be more valuable than your ability to write code. If you can still wow the young punks with some coding wizardry, all the better.)

A+ is worthless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922217)

Don't bother with A+ or Network+ certifications, I have both and they are worthless. They couldn't help me get a job repairing computers when the economy was good, and I was in my 20s. I'd say just find something to do outside of IT.

Certification (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922235)

Should I get Certification "X"?

You will always find naysayers about any certification, and these naysayers are often in positions that make it easy to ignore these certifications. I was hired at my current place of employment because of an A+ certification. Granted I was interviewing for a help desk position, but I've worked my way up over time. If you are planning to interview for a help desk position, a current A+ Cert can help push you above the other more ignorant or lazy applicants.

It's worth also depends on your perspective. Are you against taking a help desk\basic IT position? Then A+ is worthless to you. If you plan to be hired directly into a programming position, again A+ is worthless to you.

Call me new-fashioned (4, Informative)

Xacid (560407) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922241)

But when I interview I look for a few things: technical merit, reliable, personality, enthusiasm.

It doesn't even cross my mind that an older candidate wouldn't be qualified. Often, I expect them to have a mountain of experience that could get absorbed into the company. What I've run into though is the older folks often don't have that "nerd enthusiasm", haven't kept their skills current, or are just stuffy with no sense of humor. Maybe it's a generational thing? But a young person with the same ailments wouldn't have a shot here either.

Re:Call me new-fashioned (4, Insightful)

miltonw (892065) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922529)

Having just gone through a job change and being ... older ... I'd say this is perhaps the best advice so far.

Be enthusiastic about the work you will be doing. Be up to date, or close to it, on the skills that the work will require. Don't just talk about what you've done but talk about what you will do when you are hired.

And remember that a smile takes years off of your face.

Don't get it (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922259)

A+ means absolutely nothing. I took my A+ certification out of high school, got something like 99.9% on it with ever actually studying. The only real suggestion I have is to get it so you can take the second level certification test, MSCE, Linux+ etc.... Just load up with papers and then if nothing else you'll get hired to look good for the company. All of those certifications with the exception of CCNA, CCNP, CCIE and MSCE are all just laughable papers. They basically mean you found the power button and plugged the computer in. If your going to focus your time into a real certification CCNA is a good one which is a HARD path or your MSCE. Of course any of the computer networking certifications will at least help.

Go to a "write-code-on-the-whiteboard" interview. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922265)

Some companies, like mine, interview people by asking coding questions. I ask the same coding question every time. If you can answer my question, and the questions of my fellow interviewers, you're in. Age has absolutely zero to do with it. More importantly, the age of your resume has nothing to do with it: I don't care if all your experience is in snobol and fortran 4. If you can answer my question, you win, no matter how ancient your resume.

I know my company isn't the only one where the interviews work like this. You should seek us out.

Going to be tough, especially in that field (3, Insightful)

A bsd fool (2667567) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922301)

There are a few things that may work in your favor though.

- Certifications. Cross A+ off that list, and give a look at brainbench and some others. Most certs are not worth anything, but with your experience, you should be able to pull off quite a few of them at 'Master' level, which will demonstrate skills empirically. If those skills are in line with your experience, they will act as a "force multiplier" for that experience.

- Experience. Did I mention this already? If you have kept current, this goes a looooooooong ways.

- Stability. 16 years is a long time at one company, especially by the standards of the last decade or so. I started my IT career in the mid 90s and since then I have only had two jobs for longer than a year. It's similar for many people in the field. No hiring manager likes it, but they live with it.

- Age discrimination...? They aren't even allowed to *ask* you how old you are, so don't give them many hints. If the experience/history on your resume goes back to the 1970s, scrub out the oldest stuff. Drop the years off your education, if you have it listed. Impress them with what you know to get you the interview before you drop any hints that may bias them.

The toughest thing you have going against you is that every potential employer is going to be worried that they will spend time training you and bringing you up to speed on their systems and procedures just in time for you to retire when you were about to start really making (instead of costing) them money. It's not your age itself that is the problem, it's the fact that you will probably be retiring sooner than they would like. This means a lot of time and resources will be invested in you that they won't recoup when it comes to training "the next generation" of replacements and so on.

You can mitigate a lot of that by sticking to your niche, even if that means moving where the work is. It'll be a lot easier for you to stick to the financial industry, where experience not directly skill related makes you more valuable. Of course you need to double-down on your pre-interview research too. Make sure that you tailor every resume you send out to the specific employer you are going to send it to, highlight the skills and experience that relate directly to their business.

Also, get into machine learning! (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922331)

Huge important place to be for the next ten years. If you can do any sort of database at all you can get a great job at Orbitz or any other type of shop that uses Hadoop.

Go to machine learning meetups in your area, super smart people are in the data science community and they will help you get a job. Our Chicago Machine Learning group is super good for this!

forget silly certificates (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922393)

Do contract work, move, consider lower paid jobs or whatever you can accept. But an A+ cert will make little to no difference.

What job are you looking for? (2)

shdowhawk (940841) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922501)

Are you willing to move somewhere new? If not, consulting is the best route to go.

Do you have your heart set on continuing to program? You mention PL/SQL - PostgreSQL experts are in great demand now and are replacing oracle jobs all over the place. Few people have a LOT of experience, so being able to just claim that you've installed it locally (hint: install it locally on a unix server), and being able to do PL/SQL, you have a good chance of getting SOMETHING in that field.

Do you plan on working more of a "corporate" job - aka: Big company to move up in? In that sense, i can see why your age would be a problem. Instead, take up android development. If you can get ANYTHING published, you will be in extremely high demand all over the country for java based android developers. You would also have a much higher chance of being able to telecommute or work from home full time. Either way, having long time java skills will still give you a shoe in to many android shops.

Final recommendation - if you want to continue writing code and can't find anything, I would recommend taking up javascript and HTML. You can always work from home, PHP/Python/Ruby are pretty easy to learn, BUT you can keep using c# and java as well. There are a LOT of web jobs available all over.

As for a+ / network+ ... both are pretty useless in my opinion. Security+ i've seen a few people give a nod of acknowledgement, but that's pretty much it.

As for WHERE to get jobs: www.dice.com and www.craigslist.com are my two recommendations for finding something. Otherwise register yourself with a tech recruiter like teksystems or accenture. They make money by finding you jobs, AND they will sometimes bypass the interview portion with the official company they are trying to place you in, or they might only do phone interviews - that should help keep your age a little more hush hush while going through the interview portion.

Real problem often not age but LOCATION (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922569)

I'm not at all suggesting that the OP's contention that age may be working against him isn't true. However, I have often found that when people over 50 in IT "can't get hired" that what they are conveniently leaving out is the following - they live in some small town of 50,000 or fewer people and there simply aren't any more jobs available in that small town like what they used to do. They aren't willing to move because they have paid off a house or are close to paying it off, have kids in school and don't want to move them, etc.

IMHO ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922631)

Java for 'droid, Ruby and K language --- sgt_doom

don't give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922643)

It's probably pretty hard to land a salary+benefits position in this industry at 60, but I've worked with plenty of older guys at startups who were working on a contract basis (as was everyone else). Sure, there are plenty of startups that want to appear to be hip and young and cool, but get away from silicon valley and lots of small companies are happy to have an older, reliable, quality software engineer on staff. You can always start your own company, too. There are plenty of niches for a competent software engineer to fill on their own or with a small team that don't require any particular expertise other than the ability to write quality code and manage a small network of systems.

over 60 and unemployed...welcome to the club. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922647)

Over 60 and unemployed...welcome to the club. I was replaced by an H1 visa person for 1/4 the salary. Thank Congress for this.

Skills are only half the recipe. (2)

lasermike026 (528051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922681)

I found that when unemployed or when your employment has been threatened that stress and fear are you number 1 enemy. You have to do something with that stress or you will not be psychologically capable of meeting the challenges you face. For myself I found getting up early, getting sunlight, and working out was critical to relieving that stress. Don't get a membership a a gym. You don't need it. Walk, run, or lift dumb weights. After that I had to create a specific plan to get myself into that new job or out of the toxic environment. The end goal was to get to a place that would provide the funds I needed for living. How to get there wasn't completely clear at the time. I would create a daily plan of what I was going to do and work that plan. That was my job, to work the plan. Plan items where like, get resume together, call recruiters, work the phone, scan the job sites, etc... There is a job market. You need to know what skills are needed in the market and work your resume to address market needs. If you have to update your skills get access to the best textbooks and study them page by page until you have mastered the information in them. Build working prototypes. Open source your stuff if you think they are good. Notice I said "get access" not buy. Libraries and B&N are great. Take notes. Don't stop. Never stop. Don't watch TV or waste time on stupid entertainment. Live with only a few goals in mind.

Failure to launch (3, Interesting)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922683)

If you haven't noticed, programming has changed since the '90s. It's now pretty well a blue-collar job -- under three levels of management. Even in small companies, it's heavily controlled, especially where version control comes into play.

It's the perfect job for any 20-something.

By the time 30 roles around, you'd better be the one determining what gets programmed. Whether or not you also do the programming is irrelevant.

By 60, your value comes as proper experience. You shouldn't be looking for a programming job. You should be looking to manage a programming company, consult for a programming company, assess a programming company, or start your own programming company. Otherwise, you're a) not bringing any more skill than a 20-something and b) wasting a lot of the skill that you certainly have.

I'm 35, have my own software company that's varied in size between 1 and 5 programmers -- including myself. And that's just the way I love it.

Wah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922703)

I'm a really old guy who still needs to work. Wah!

But I won't work overtime, or retrain, or do 24/7 support call-outs, or this or that or blah, blah, blah.

There's a reason they won't hire you, gramps.

Too Bad You're Specialized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922785)

I'm 66, and I keep getting hired for non-specific stuff, because I have no obvious skills. I turned 60 working for an ISP configuring customer links. Then got laid off and became a data center tech. After a couple years in a cushy job configuring servers remotely, I got referred to phone support. After enduring that for 16 months, now I am testing web sites. I wouldn't have a job if I had been looking for anything in particular.

Project Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41922801)

Get your PMP certification from the PMI (yes it will cost a few bucks), then talk to some placement firms about contract work. Your age and experience will be valued in IT project management, and you will earn 2x the techs/developers.

Something is wrong, here (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41922887)

At least in the California job market, there is a dearth of qualified applicants. I've been on both sides of the hiring equation for years. The idea that you can't get a job, with over a decade of PL/SQL, Java and other programming, is just laughable, and tells me we must be missing something, here.

Are you missing all your teeth and refuse to get dentures? Are you only looking for jobs in a 10 mile radius of your house? Are you demanding an astronomical salary? Do you have obvious medical problems that make you incredibly unreliable from day-to-day? Are you just a mediocre programmer?

Your age certainly isn't preventing you from landing a new job. That said, it's certainly possible whatever those issues are, they could be age-related or age-compounded.

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