A few years ago, a question on Quora set off a buzz among programmers:

“As people get older, do people lose interest in programming? Is it accurate to expect older programmers to be slower, more likely to make mistakes, and prefer to do other things (such as management posts, etc.)? ”

Derived from this problem, it is a topic of particular concern to programmers such as various “35-year-old crisis” and “insisting on technical positions vs. turning into management positions”. Many young programmers believe that the future age of the physical strength and energy can not keep up, can not keep up with the rapid development of technology will inevitably be eliminated, to the management position may be the most decent choice.

But what are the facts? A recent article by Jorge Manrubia, “When a Programmer Is Old,” caught the attention on the HN Hot Topic List — in which Jorge Manrubia shared his review and reflections as a 40-year-old programmer.

When programmers get old

Here’s the translation of “When a Programmer Gets Old”:

A lot of people in college told me that my career would start with writing code, but eventually I would end up in a position where someone else would code for me, a management post—an idea that turned out to be completely wrong.

Now that I am 40 years old, looking back at my programming career of more than ten years, there are some experiences I want to share with you:

Compared to when I was younger, I feel like I’m at my best at the moment. Of course, learning the latest technology will help, but accumulating years of programming experience and work experience is even more important. I think I’m much better than I was 15 years ago, and I hope to be better 15 years from now, and this feeling of constant learning is my world of work for me.

Working with people who can learn is a great source of motivation.

I have a lot of flaws, but now I know more about myself and their effects, so at least I can try to overcome them.

My desire to be a manager is at an all-time low.

My eagerness to discuss technical issues with people, both to help and to be helped, has reached an all-time high.

I predict throughput more accurately.

I used to be very sensitive to tone and demeanor in the workplace, and I still do.

I learned to give myself a chance to rethink technical warfare. Before, I would fight all of them to the end; Now, when it doesn’t feel right or has little interest, I’m happy to change direction in advance.

Before, I wouldn’t have spent time thinking about time, scope, and interests; Now, I rarely do things that don’t have to do decisions.

I don’t like to switch things at hand all the time, and my ideal working state is to focus on one task for several days.

Effective communication is a complex skill that takes years to hone before it can be improved, and is an essential skill if you want to do professional programming.

I’m more cautious when deploying things.

I don’t know how paired programming works, and I’m not interested in learning about it.

Similarly, I wouldn’t discuss the benefits of having people work together to solve problems because I’m not very interested either.

I like to take on challenges and the feeling of not knowing how to solve a problem at first.

I consider myself an “all-rounder”. But do too much infrastructure work, I will miss product development; Do too much of the backend, and I’ll miss the frontend. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but I’m open to it, and I don’t understand why anyone would despise the term “full stack.”

I’ve been working remotely for almost 10 years, and it shouldn’t be possible to return to the office today.

I began to think that accountability was a basic benefit. I started my career with a job that few people cared about, but I needed the exact opposite environment to keep myself motivated.

I’m skeptical of anything hot new in the programming space right now because I think it could be a double-edged sword – the exact opposite of what I was when I was younger.

Gerald Weinberg said, “No matter how the problem first looks, it is always a human problem.” This statement is inherently true, and it is also very true in the eyes of technical people.

The more frustrated the older programmer

From Jorge Manrubia’s sharing, as a programmer, the 40-year-old is very satisfied with his current state of affairs – more experienced, more thoughtful, and more decisive than when he was younger.

The age of programmers has always been a highly controversial topic, and as more and more reports of the midlife crisis of programmers are reported, people will preconceive notions that “programmers are the ones who eat their youth.” As a result, Jorge Manrubia’s rare article for older programmers resonates with many, and we can hear more.

Jeff Kesselman, who has 25 years of experience in game programming:

There are only two kinds of people who will “lose interest in programming.”

(1) Not interested in programming at the beginning, only thinking that it was a profitable profession.

(2) People who are forced to solve the same problem over and over again.

As long as you are constantly exposed to new challenges and new learning content at work, you will not be bored.

Some young and immature programmers may sometimes misunderstand this, but know that as programmers get better, they spend less time writing code, but more time thinking about problems – they learn to get the same or better results with less sweat and tears.

Robert Martin, who has been a programmer since 1964:

I’m in my 60s, but I’ve not lost interest in programming and still love to write code. I don’t write as much code as I used to, mainly because I’m busy lecturing, writing books, blogging, making videos, tutoring my grandchildren, etc., but I still find time to spend a lot of time coding.

I didn’t notice a change in my cognition or memory. I can still understand the system, and I can still make all the connections in my mind, understand all the details, and enjoy the process.

Hard to put it bluntly, I found that my endurance had weakened. I used to be able to code for more than 8 hours a day, but now I only do about 6 hours. Conversely, I did a lot more work in those 6 hours than I had done in more than 8 hours before.

Tim Daly, who has been programming for over 40 years:

I’ve been programming for 40 years and I’m at the peak of my career. I’m working on iPad and Android apps and am the main developer of 3 open source projects. Since college, I have been programming almost every day.

I’ve met better programmers, met faster programmers, etc., but I’m currently the oldest programmer I know (and I’m sure there are others) – and I’ve found that the older I get, the better I become. The more I know, the less I make bad design mistakes or low-level mistakes. I learned to look through self-reflection for what caused my mistakes (50% of all my mistakes were copy/paste, so I stopped doing so). In short, I’ve worked all my life to improve my programming skills.

As a result, I program faster, make fewer mistakes (including design and coding), work hard to learn the latest techniques, and write code every day.

In a way, one of the reasons people think that younger programmers are more popular is that the number of older programmers in reality is too small.

But in fact, with the sharp rise in the demand for programmers in all walks of life, we may also understand that the number of older programmers who insist on programming naturally cannot grow out of thin air, and the number of young programmers is increasing—under this trend, the number of older programmers is naturally at a disadvantage.

Don’t doubt, there will always be programmers whose love of programming does not go with time, young or old, always maintain the original enthusiasm and dreams, silently breaking people’s prejudices and shackles on them.

Reference Links:




— Recommended Reading —