Every once in a while a topic comes up on Hacker News: Where Do Old Programmers Go?” That’s a good question. Where do they go? What does the future hold for software engineers as they progress in their careers?
Speculation ranges from moving into management, to moving on to different fields, to continuing coding with business as usual. I don’t know the answer myself (in fact, there may be no single answer, it may vary by location or time, or multiple factors may be at play). But I read something from good old Uncle Bob recently that seemed to make a lot of sense, so wanted to share it here.
Go ahead and read Uncle Bob’s view, I’ll wait for you.
He says: “… where did they all go? Why are half the programmers in the world under 30? Do older programmers quit? Do they move on to management? Do they burn out and become chicken farmers? Why does the age distribution fall off so rapidly after age 30? Actually, most of the old programmers are still here and are still coding. The problem isn’t that the old programmers are fading away. The problem is that the number of programmers is growing by a huge factor every year.”
He backs up his assertions with facts and some math, which make the argument much more compelling than the idle speculations and anecdotes that so frequently appear on discussion forums.
Anyway, hopefully this will be some food for thought to those who are older (40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond) wondering why the age distribution is what it is.