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Comment: Re:Of course not (Score 2) 365

by Richard Steiner (#43587629) Attached to: Can Older Software Developers Still Learn New Tricks?

It would be easier to teach new programmers the old mainframe environment we used to use than the new Java environment that replaced it. Not that Java is inherently difficult in itself. It's just that the newer system had to reinvent so many wheels that were performed "under the hood" on the mainframe that the application itself became a lot more complex. On the older system, applications programmers could concentrate on the application and not networking, file logging, security, etc.

One of the reasons cited for moving off the old environment was a lack of people with mainframe skills. Mainframe isn't a skill ... it's just an OS, editor, set of languages, and programmer environment like anything else, and simpler than many.

Comment: Re:Of course not (Score 1) 365

by Richard Steiner (#43587433) Attached to: Can Older Software Developers Still Learn New Tricks?

If you are over 30 and a programmer, your walker will be arriving shortly. Security will be on hand to escort you out.

Thankfully, not all companies are that shortsighted. :) I'm past your limit by 20 years now, and yet I'm still elbows deep in code and relatively young compared to many of my cow orkers, though as of last year it's more shell, PHP, Perl, and C++ bits than the Fortran 77 I was writing back when I started my career.

My most recent partner in crime (manager, teammate, etc.) just retired in January of this year. He had 20 years of seniority on me, literally, and he was still very very good at what he did.

Don't underestimate the combination of a good mind, good training, and a few solid decades of hard-earned OJT. Sometimes younger programmers are better, and that's good, but having an old fart or three around to mentor (and help by spotting and correcting blatant mistakes) is one of the fastest ways to learn. I had several mentors coming out of college, and i'm thankful for all of them.

Comment: Re:Cool, so where do you go next? (Score 1) 738

by Richard Steiner (#39779413) Attached to: Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

Athletes degrade somewhat more than programmers do by the age of 40. :-)

I juggle C, Perl, PHP, Java, Fortran, assembly, and a few macro languages most Slashdotters have never heard of in my current position, sometimes in the same day. You need it, I'll code it. If it's something new, I'll learn it and stick it in the toolkit with the other few dozen other languages I've learned on the job over the years...

Comment: Re:Nothing new? (Score 1) 738

by Richard Steiner (#39779395) Attached to: Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

In the programming world I've been a part of for almost 23 years, "programmer" has actually meant designer, developer, unit and system tester, tech writer, system implementer, and application/system support person as well as level 3 help desk and several other roles.

If you think I'd have been happy being a simple code monkey for two decades, you need help. :-)

There are advantages in having one person able to do the work of a half-dozen others, and someone who does it well can get the job done without having to stretch the work week to unreasonable lengths.

It sounds like some folks simply haven't found a (relatively) sane shop in which to hang their hat, or have never really worked with a good experienced programmer.

Comment: Re:Why the anxiety? (Score 2, Insightful) 807

by Richard Steiner (#39237613) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life After Firefox 3.6.x?

The internet is accessible to all kinds of machines and operating systems. Just because you're using the latest and greatest popular platform doesn't mean everyone else is. I sometimes use XP, Win2K, Win95OSR2, various flavors of Linux, and even old classics like BeOS 5 from time to time. Why should that concern you?

Luddite. Piffle. Good multithreaded GUI software used to run in 1MB of RAM. I would rather be a luddite than dependent in the horsecrap that substitutes for good software these days. :-)

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.