Ageism In Software Development

Who’s Afraid Of Ageism In Software Development?

I am. I’ve just turned 32 years old and this marks 16 years of me developing software. It started out as a hobby at home but 14 out of the last 16 years I’ve programmed for money, starting out for a few years in the military and then moving into the industry.
During this time I’ve developed products, I’ve blogged about hard and soft skills, I’ve given talks at meet-ups and conferences both locally and and internationally, I’ve produced my own conference and meet up group, maintained my own open source libraries and recorded a podcast with friends.
Looking back, I feel I’ve achieved some, but not much. I feel I’ve distinguished myself some, but not enough.

Should I have switched company every few years?

I might get the feeling that I’m shaking things up every now and then, but when you think about it many of the problems we face as software developers have already been solved. Move information from A to B. Make information A look like information B. So switching to a new company might’ve given me that raise, or the chance to learn a new domain, but in a short while it would have felt just like the same old A to B job.

Should I have moved to a different niche of software development?

I’ve done backend development for most of my years. Maybe I should’ve tried getting into embedded, DevOps, frontend, or games? An exciting option if I find an employer that’s willing to take a chance and hire me for work outside of the field of my expertise.

Maybe I should’ve moved to management?

Backend and tech lead has always been my thing. I’ve never fantasized or wished for a management job. I don’t shy away from people and I love to teach and mentor, but I also love coding and getting into the nitty gritty of issues. Management would’ve taken that away and would’ve forced me to focus on leadership and teams.

Should I have founded my own company?

That would’ve been exciting even if it turned out to be a total flop. The chance to work on my own time, my own risk, my own vision. Projects like that require your full attention. I would’ve be forced me to sacrifice many things such as financial security, free time, hobbies. It would’ve been worth it.

A hacker-hearted symmathecist.