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Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the think-of-it-as-365-vacation-days-a-year dept.

Businesses 432

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

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432 comments

29 years old (5, Funny)

A Huge Loud Fart (2975425) | about 9 months ago | (#44208621)

29 years old is young now?

Re:29 years old (5, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 9 months ago | (#44208659)

At 55, it sure *looks* that way.

Re:29 years old (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208977)

At 35 it looks that way too. I regularly refer to people in their twenties as "kids", much as someone your age might refer to me.

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

Re:29 years old (4, Insightful)

imunfair (877689) | about 9 months ago | (#44208689)

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

Re:29 years old (5, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44208705)

29 years old is young now?

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

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

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

it's just so fucking stupid.

Re:29 years old (1)

A Huge Loud Fart (2975425) | about 9 months ago | (#44208719)

and fb and google medians... aren't most of their a lot of their workers technically just phone answer droids working low wage customer support

Neither Google or Facebook have no phone support whatsoever.

Re: 29 years old (4, Funny)

jasenj1 (575309) | about 9 months ago | (#44208795)

So both have telephone support then?

Re: 29 years old (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 9 months ago | (#44208937)

I think he said the opposite of what he thought he said. I think what he thought he said was "Neither Google nor Facebook have any phone support whatsoever".

He may not be a native speaker.

Re: 29 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209349)

He may not be a native speaker.

I think that native speakers are MORE likely to make these kinds of mistakes than foreigners. This mistake comes from combining every day idioms of the language without thinking. That's how a native speaker speaks - unthinking/naturally and idiomatically. A foreigner is not as deeply set in the idioms of the language and a foreigner has to think more about speaking.

Re: 29 years old (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209365)

An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

I didn't feel like typing it, so I grabbed it from here [upenn.edu].

Re: 29 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209195)

"Neither Google or Facebook have any phone support whatsoever."

Happy now grammar Nazi?

Re: 29 years old (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about 9 months ago | (#44209303)

Happy now grammar Nazi?

Knowing that the language is in constant decline and today's young IT workers won't be happy until it devolves into a series of gutteral sounds and nonsenical crayon marks, no.

Re:29 years old (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | about 9 months ago | (#44208749)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: 29 years old (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208779)

Remind me not to hire you with your attitude.

Re: 29 years old (5, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | about 9 months ago | (#44208843)

My attitude of not being a miserable wage slave and actually wanting to be paid my market value? Or my attitude of understanding how the economies of my own industry?

I do find it amusing how people on one hand complain about companies exploiting workers but on the other hand bitch about workers not being team players if they don't let themselves be exploited.

Re: 29 years old (3, Informative)

aurispector (530273) | about 9 months ago | (#44208927)

Gosh darn that silly market for determining wages.

It's not just the IT market, it's ANY market - if you're over 40 and don't have very specific technical skills you're unemployable.

No company wants the increased wage and insurance costs, not to mention having to deal with employees who actually know how to negotiate instead of being fearfully compliant.

Of course, walmart is hiring. There is that.

Re:29 years old (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44208853)

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

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

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

Re:29 years old (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44208855)

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

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

Just saying...

Re:29 years old (3, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | about 9 months ago | (#44208983)

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

*Woosh*

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

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

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

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

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

Re:29 years old (5, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44209143)

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

*Woosh*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:29 years old (3, Interesting)

expatriot (903070) | about 9 months ago | (#44209297)

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

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

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

Not in Boston it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209137)

I've been looking for a year now and haven't found the right job yet as a developer. Admittedly I've had 2 interviews that turned up bupkis plus I've turned down a couple of interviews.(Admittedly one of those I turned down once I found out it wasn't a development job but tech support with some coding on the side.) Of course maybe I could be a little less picky but I currently have a job and don't want to jump to something that's actually worse.

Re:29 years old (2)

AngryNick (891056) | about 9 months ago | (#44209153)

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

Most people start their careers in places that can hire in bulk, train in bulk, manage in bulk, and promote in bulk. You do your time, decide what you want in life, and move "up or out." Assuming you move out, then there will be plenty of smaller companies waiting to hire you for your prior company's investment in your experience and training. Circle of life stuff, really.

Everyone you know .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209281)

Everyone I know who was looking for jobs had better offers than their old jobs within a few weeks and usually were booked solid with interviews....

Everyone I know has a multi-million dollar trust fund, has a yacht and private jet, and doesn't have to work, so I don't understand your post - what's this 'job" you talk about and why are people so upset about it?

Yours,

John Rockefeller-Jagger

Yes!!! (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 9 months ago | (#44208717)

In some cases it means you haven't lived half your life yet, in others it means you haven't lived a third of it. Which is closer to the truth for you depends quite a bit on the society in which you live. Either way, 29 is a quite a tender age in the overall grand view of things.

Re:29 years old (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208741)

I've been drunk for more than that. And I only drink on weekends.

Re:29 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208887)

29 years old is young now?

With the rest of society's median age getting older: [census.gov]

In general, the U.S. population continues to grow older with a median age over 40 years old in many states.

and the trend is continuing, 29 years old is quite young compared to the general population.

Re:29 years old (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 9 months ago | (#44208907)

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

My daughter's your age, and in college.

You're just getting started.

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

I was wrong. So are you.

Re:29 years old (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#44208917)

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

Re:29 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209219)

Yes. And, hopefully, as we increase our lifespan it will look even younger. You are of course welcome to throw away all the lifespan gains we've made so far. You can die much earlier if this satisfies some kind of bizarre romantic notion you have about aging being good?

Obligatory Primer Quote: (5, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 9 months ago | (#44208679)

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

Re:Obligatory Primer Quote: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209321)

Maybe if by "engineer" you mean software engineer or some sort of IT position. But I'm a 50 year old Civil Engineer. I'm just getting started.

It's not age discrimination (2)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 9 months ago | (#44208681)

It's just that they only hire young people to keep salaries down so the exec's can buy themselves another island or fund spaceflights.

Re:It's not age discrimination (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#44208939)

Only hiring young people to keep salaries down *is* age discrimination.

Re:It's not age discrimination (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about 9 months ago | (#44209315)

There is nothing wrong with any type of discrimination, age, sex, race, whatever, when it's not discrimination by government forces, government laws. Private people discriminate all the time, we discriminate who we work for, who works for us, who we let the apartments to, who we lease apartments from, what neighbourhood we live in, who we date, where we go out, where we buy food, etc.etc.etc.

The politicians want you to vote for them, so they promise to give you special entitlements, you being the majority, the mob, the employees. The employers are the minority that PAY for the promises of the politicians, so they have rights taken away and obligations enforced upon them to give you the entitlements, that's how all these nonsensical 'non-discrimination' laws came into effect and they are 1/3 of the problem that is destroying productivity in the West (the other 2 being taxes and inflation).

As private individuals (and businesses are just private individuals, whether you understand it or not) we have the right to discriminate against other private individuals, what we must not allow is the collective, the government with the power to destroy us to discriminate us. In case of government we must demand equality of opportunity, equality under law, equality of treatment and non-discrimination, there it's crucial. Demanding that government imposes those types of obligations upon some people with the explicit benefit to other people means destroying individual rights and at the same time hurting the economy.

The moment a group of people gets a special privilege from government, in my eyes that group of people becomes unemployable and I don't care who they are before the government gives them that privilege, women, children, disabled, retarded, stupid, fat, ugly, white or black, etc.etc. The moment a group gets a special entitlement is the moment I don't want to have to deal with that group at all, they become too expensive for me to do business with, they are dangerous and costly with no benefit to me at all.

Re:It's not age discrimination (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 9 months ago | (#44209109)

That would be age discrimination.

Re:It's not age discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209353)

That would be age discrimination.

No, because what they're discriminating on is not age like the parent claims, but rather work experience. Some kid fresh out of college will settle for a wage he could get working fast-food, but the guy 2 years out from retirement is going to be asking a lot more.

Didn't RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208683)

They can't find enough skilled workers, or they can't find enough skilled workers who still need diapers and thus don't ask for a lot of dough?

Re:Didn't RTFA (2)

Rakishi (759894) | about 9 months ago | (#44208709)

The starting salaries for college grads at large SV companies are I think around $100k now and probably rising. It goes up from there mind you and goes up rather quickly if you switch to a competitor at the right time. As the fun facebook and google salary war has shown money isn't the problem.

Re:Didn't RTFA (1)

geoskd (321194) | about 9 months ago | (#44209113)

The starting salaries for college grads at large SV companies are I think around $100k now and probably rising. It goes up from there mind you and goes up rather quickly if you switch to a competitor at the right time. As the fun facebook and google salary war has shown money isn't the problem.

100k might or might not be a lot of money depending on where you have to live to make that kind of money. If a studio apartment an hour from work each way is the cheapest you can get and runs you $2,000 per month, that 100k just isn't going got go all that far. OTOH if you make half that, but can get an entire 2000 sf house 15 minutes from work (maybe within biking distance) for $800 / month including MITs, you will have a better standard of living. I knew a guy who got a co-op job as a masters student. He was making 70k per year annualized, but had to drive almost three hours a day commute because it was the only housing available, and it still cost him 60% of his paycheck in rent. I'll grant you that was an exceptional case, but raw income numbers don't mean much without context.

Re:Didn't RTFA (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#44208841)

They can't find enough skilled workers that want to compete with H1B people that are willing to work for "less." These guys aren't dumb, so when they choose to study something in college, do they want to study something that is getting salaries hammered by cheap foreign competition, has rampant age discrimination, and is famous for 80 hour weeks? Naw, better to study law, or medicine. There's at least some money there, and you can do either by marketing directly to the public, without having to worry about being hired by someone else after you're 40 years old. Sure, just keep raising that H1B quota until there isn't a comp sci course available in the USA, or if there is, it is populated only by foreigners.

Alicia Silverstone - drunk on her breast milk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208699)

srsly i want some

It goes both ways (4, Informative)

DukeLinux (644551) | about 9 months ago | (#44208721)

I work at a technology company on the opposite side of the Country and we joke that we will not even interview anybody under 35 years old. We have the opposite problem except a lot of us old timers have skills in system administration, programming and project management so with a very small staff and some long hours we implement some pretty cool stuff. Our biggest impediment is our CEO.

This has drawbacks. (5, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 9 months ago | (#44208725)

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

Re:This has drawbacks. (0)

A Huge Loud Fart (2975425) | about 9 months ago | (#44208789)

Juat why you have to use a different font than everyone else?

Re: This has drawbacks. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208839)

You don't expect a dinosaur to use a normal font do you?

Re:This has drawbacks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208967)

Older people are more comfortable with a fixed space font such as Courier. Younger people are more used to proportional fonts and find the fixed space fonts almost unreadable. Hence the well known fact that : in Courier, email is only for old people.

Re:This has drawbacks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208975)

That's what you get from an IBM Selectric typewriter. The standard for business, you know.

Re:This has drawbacks. (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44208921)

You speak with wisdom, unfortunately, the people that need to hear it are the same 20 year olds who won't really give a damn until it is too late. They will have a rude awakening when they find out that the world really doesn't revolve around them.

29 years old ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208743)

Kinda explains why Chrome (among other apps) SUCK... Seriously buggy beyond belief, as if it's coded by a bunch of amateurs. Maybe they should focus more on hiring talent, regardless of age.

Signed: An "old" employee above the age of 29.

Re:29 years old ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208941)

But it has a comic book and the press releases use words like awesomesauce...

It's a trap! (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 9 months ago | (#44208759)

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

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

Re:It's a trap! (4, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44208965)

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

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

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

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

le sigh (3, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#44208765)

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

In general, my experience is that employers will go with whoever presents the best value proposition regardless of that person's age. If you're only as valuable as a recent college graduate but cost 1.5x as much then, yeah, you're going to have trouble getting hired.

Re:le sigh (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 9 months ago | (#44209211)

It is for the most part but Silicon Valley wants you to think no one else does programming or hardware.

Apparently they're the best but they can't afford to pay people good wages or get their work on in an 8 hour day. Despite their awesome intelligence even poor white boys are getting too expensive and they're begging the government to let them import more indentured servants.

I think generally people outside of Silicon Valley do a better job. Silicon Valley just has all the hype which means they have more money.

At 48, I got an offer from FB, but... (5, Interesting)

tutufan (2857787) | about 9 months ago | (#44208767)

Last year I was 48. As part of something like a mid-life crisis, I interviewed at several of the Bay Area majors. In some ways, it was kind of a Logan's Run sort of experience, with me in the role of Old Man (Peter Ustinov). (Maybe next time I should bring some cats with me to the interview.) I was turned down by several, but received a good offer from Facebook. After a lot of careful number-crunching and soul-searching, though, I felt that I couldn't accept it. The primary reason is that I have a wife and kids. Though the offer would have been fabulous for a single guy, it probably would have been ruinous with my financial responsibilities. I guess what I'm saying here is when discussing ageism and the Valley, one needs to be careful to pick apart reluctance to hire older people (which I don't doubt is a bias sometimes) versus the personal economics of the Valley, which makes it a marginal place to consider living for many people (and probably tends to hit families the hardest). As an aside, I think many younger managers are nervous about hiring older workers. For what it's worth, I recently worked for several years for a guy that's at least ten years younger. Best boss I ever had. We got along and got things done.

Re:At 48, I got an offer from FB, but... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208869)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:At 48, I got an offer from FB, but... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44208995)

Last year I was 48. As part of something like a mid-life crisis, I interviewed at several of the Bay Area majors. In some ways, it was kind of a Logan's Run sort of experience, with me in the role of Old Man (Peter Ustinov). (Maybe next time I should bring some cats with me to the interview.) I was turned down by several, but received a good offer from Facebook. After a lot of careful number-crunching and soul-searching, though, I felt that I couldn't accept it. The primary reason is that I have a wife and kids. Though the offer would have been fabulous for a single guy, it probably would have been ruinous with my financial responsibilities.

I guess what I'm saying here is when discussing ageism and the Valley, one needs to be careful to pick apart reluctance to hire older people (which I don't doubt is a bias sometimes) versus the personal economics of the Valley, which makes it a marginal place to consider living for many people (and probably tends to hit families the hardest).

As an aside, I think many younger managers are nervous about hiring older workers. For what it's worth, I recently worked for several years for a guy that's at least ten years younger. Best boss I ever had. We got along and got things done.

I was all in favor of your post until you became an apologist for those who discriminate based on age (ageism is a nice way to say age discrimination). Whether the lifestyle in Silicon Valley is condusive to an older person with or without a family is a decision to be made by the person, not the company. You made that decision, to turn down FB, that was your personal decision and it sounds like you had very good reasons. But, FB must be the exception, because most tech companies won't make an offer to an older person, particularly one approaching 50. (If their culture is a bunch of 20 year olds running around like its a frat party, some 50 year old that actually fits in with that send up a bunch of red flags).

If younger managers are nervous about hiring older workers, they should be fired. Just as if male managers have a problem with hiring female workers or white managers have a problem hiring black workers. Discrimination does not belong in any workplace, plain and simple.

Re:At 48, I got an offer from FB, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209115)

Not really discrimination if there are reasons. Old people are in physical and mental decline. Old people also aren't a minority: just like it's OK for a female manager to prefer to hire women, or a black manager to prefer blacks, the young can prefer their own kind. Sorry, time to die.

Re:At 48, I got an offer from FB, but... (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#44209107)

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

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

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

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

Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY IS! (5, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 9 months ago | (#44208785)

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

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

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

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

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 9 months ago | (#44208845)

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

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

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

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (3, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 9 months ago | (#44209289)

Does it really matter how much income those companies have if you get the same salary you would have in an open source development company?

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (1)

andy1307 (656570) | about 9 months ago | (#44208905)

but let's be real, is Google opensourcing the stuff that is runs their busines?

Open Source Projects Released By Google [google.com]

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209317)

Pretty underwhelming. Android and Chromium OS are Linux-based OS's so Google is legally required to release source under the GPL. And Android was developed by someone else. Go is open source, but that is practically a requirement for a new programming language to gain wide acceptance. GP's comment seems correct.

NoSQL (3, Insightful)

toby (759) | about 9 months ago | (#44208931)

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

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

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

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209091)

NoSQL is not something to be proud of.

Node.js is not something to be proud of.

PHP and Ruby are not things to be proud of.

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

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

Node.js shares a similar level of stupidity with NoSQL. It's what happens when dipshits who only know JavaScript hear the big boys talking about Erlang, and then they try to build something similar on their own. What they do manage to build is a steaming pile of horseshit. It would all be quite funny, but then they actually try to use Node.js seriously, creating one disaster after another.

And PHP and Ruby are much the same. PHP, as a language, is fucked up beyond repair. PHP's standard library is diarrhea. Ruby is rife with "best practices" that are moronic in reality. And Ruby has the worst community that has ever existed around a programming language. It's like a sewage pit full of very vocal floating turds.

The things you mentioned are literally the worst things to have happened to the software development industry in decades, if not ever. Even Visual Basic isn't as bad as PHP and Ruby are. At least its standard library wasn't fucked to high heaven, and its community wasn't made up of smug hipsters.

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209341)

Now please tell us what you think about PERL. I'd really like to know.

Re:Ok, lets talk about what Silicon Valley REALLY (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 9 months ago | (#44209255)

I've never been to Silicon Valley, but I met a programmer who was happy to get out of there as soon as he could escape. I'll never forget the mental image he painted of the place, "On Friday nights everyone takes their expensive cars out cruising, but there are no women in Silicon Valley, so it's just a bunch of guys trying to impress other guys."

Really sounds like Sartre's description of hell as "other people" [wikipedia.org] to me.

The Carousel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208803)

There is even the appropriately tall carousel at California's Great America.

Good thing there are other employers (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#44208817)

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

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

Companies that respect experience (1)

toby (759) | about 9 months ago | (#44208943)

you can probably find a company whose culture is a better fit for people over 40.

Amazon.

My lifeclock is black . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208825)

guess I have to either report to carousel or run.

They're still doing this? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 months ago | (#44208861)

I would have thought that by now, "new ideas" are great, but without long-term vision which is all but impossible with wisdom, we end up with... pretty much what we are seeing today. It's also a push for a lot of things people don't want. Of course they aren't seeing it because they have already lost long-term vision.

But this is all great for those who are "at the top" ... for now.

But that's okay... the last remaining industries will be banking and legal and I'd say those two are prevailing at the moment.

The article about no-one would hire DE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208871)

The article about how no-one would hire DE sounds kinda whiney, if I'm being frank.

I love my keyboard, my mouse, my workstation, and collaborative work environments have their uses. However, i'm not going to mourn the fact that I own my own computer and it's perfectly capable of performing near any computation I would require without any outside assistance.

Thanks for the tech and the software, but I don't think I missed out on much by throwing any money at exploring the collaborative model of computing. Not communication or instantaneous structured information exchange, but computing.

(He said, posting on Slashdot. The puck on the Test Your Irony Strength meter rockets up the scale, peaks at a heady 9.2, but doesn't quite hit the bell.)

Before you wer eobrn, kid.... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 9 months ago | (#44208923)

I, and many of my technical colleagues, are quite senior. We'd find work there, but would almost be forced into management, because by "lines per day" metrics and "tickets closed" we're not as fast as the average youngster. However, our abilities to deal with problems the youngsters have never even _heard_ of, and to do things cleanly so the problems don't occur, and the mastery of older and stable technologies, certainly keeps us busy.

You can see the difference in our software, and our hardware. If we buy a pair of switches for high availability, we make sure that the computers connected to them are correctly connected to both switches, with pair-bonding or other failover software. When we get involved with backup systems we actually test restoring the data. When we write new web applicatons, we sanitize the inputs before feeding them to the database. (Obligatory XKCD: http://xkcd.com/327/ [xkcd.com]) And when we deal with "object oriented programming", we use different functions for different classes of input, despite the protests of the Java and C++ youngsters, because we have learned the harsh and bitter lesson: distinct functions get distinct names..

My colleagues and I are also a bit odd in that when someone shows up with a new technology, we don't just demean it. Replacing racks of expensive hardware with commodity disk drives was a real rethink of how we did things, and we oldsters had to get them to slow down and invest in bandwidth to allow offsite replicaton instead of sending tapes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakernet for an example) We also had to bring in the experience that if you triple people's space, they will fill it _very quickly_: But it worked out really well, and it's a replicatable technology suite.

Lessons learned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44208949)

I got my first job out of college for a small firm in NJ developing Unix business applications. I was the young kid surrounded by guys 20 years older than I was at the time. I left for during the dotcom boom to make more money. After I left, I realized that I learned so many invaluable lessons from them, like design specs, code structure, readability, usability, and efficiency. Since then, users like to use what I produce, and other programmers (and myself) can read and maintain my code. After the dotcom bubble burst, I went to work in finance, and now I work with guys as young as I was when I first started. Most are eager and well meaning, but still have a lot to learn.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209027)

My 20 years of experience is exactly why I pull $0.25million. If I weren't so damn lazy, I could pull down more. In flyover country.

SV and the Bay Area today are just meatgrinders for the young and stupid.

Idiots (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 months ago | (#44209029)

What does median mean. Well, it's the number where 50% of your sample is above, and 50% is below. So half the workers are over 29, and half are younger than 29. That's it. That's all it means.

Look at when PCs were invented (2)

Prehensile Interacti (742615) | about 9 months ago | (#44209035)

This claim of ageism is highly skewed. I was 10 in 1981, when the first home computer came out in the UK (ZX81). In other words, still in school - there would have been 8 years ahead of me in the school system still. This defines "The Computer Generation" - people who had computers at home while they were growing up.

Now sure, some adult engineers made the cross-over, or came from a mainframe background, however surely their numbers have to be far fewer than the generation that grew up on computers?

Now I'm 42, and continue to do my best work each year - and my compensation reflects that.

Who says FB and GOOG aren't trying to hire older (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 9 months ago | (#44209039)

Folk?

I am 31 and FB tried hard to recruit me. I have friends that have passed up Google, etc.

None of us have interest in working for them. They do nothing that interests us (well, I think Google does some cool stuff, but nothing they'd hire me for).

I think it is easier for younger people to get spun up working for "Facebook" or "Google" than it is to work elsewhere. Other jobs may not be resume builders like those two, but they may be of more value.

Conversely, most of the people I know starting their own businesses are 35+, but then again I may have selection bias due to my own age.

time for unions as be for long it will be (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#44209043)

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

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

It was 21 in the book (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#44209163)

While they killed them off at 30 in the movie (Michael York) of Logans Run it was 21 in the book.

I remember going to that film in Napier, and there was a power failure half way through. We were sitting outside for at least half an hour. (I was chatting to my chemistry 101 lexcturer about Sci_Fi

Still the movie wasn't as bad as the TV series that was made a couple years later which included a solar powered hovercraft, and an android called Rem (Donald Moffat)

Nostalgic wool (3, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | about 9 months ago | (#44209177)

From TFA:

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

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

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

Old people have kids (1)

alen (225700) | about 9 months ago | (#44209181)

And don't want to work 80 hour weeks including weekends. You can take newly graduated college kids and work them like slaves. They even like it and think its cool. If you give them food at work they will live at the office for you

Meanwhile old people want to leave the office towards late afternoon to spend time with their sex mates and kids. They don't want to come in on the weekends so they can spend time with their families

Not for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44209185)

Eric Schmidtt with his face that looks like it was butt fucked by a Rhino is still pulling in enough money to be able to afford to cheat on his wife.

Larry Page is still around despite being physically defective and can't even provide decent communication to hs employees because of it.

Imo, neither of the really provided anything of use to society anyway unless you count being tracked by the NSA as a good thing so when is Silicon Valley going to put them down?

No harm no foul. (2)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 9 months ago | (#44209217)

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

Carry on Silicon Valley.

Why does SV exist anymore? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#44209223)

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

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

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

Goes for many other jobs as well (2)

houghi (78078) | about 9 months ago | (#44209307)

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

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

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

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