Agreed. Although I am a manager, I don't feel I need to be one. I could just as easily be a system administrator or coder, and I get pinged constantly for that sort of thing. And many people my age don't want to have anything to do with management, which I can completely understand.
Being a manager is not what happens to older technical people. Although I certainly appreciate fresh perspective, the older folks on my team get the jobs completed and are entirely reliable, which is golden when you have to be concerned with your team's ability to figure out if a requirement can be done in a promised time frame.
The secret is: if you, as a manager, don't insist on some sort of trendy implementation of an idea, you don't need to hire young coders to just be able to write the code. And the fact is, if you have a Java programmer, you have someone who can definitely pick up something like Node.js for instance, with minimum trouble.
I appreciate the energy of the younger people on the team, but there can be serious disadvantages with not keeping a diversity of experience.
Of course, an older coder can't live in the past. Perl is still used and useful, but much less so than in the past. And let's face it, it was never going to be a serious development language, even back in the day. It was a good stopgap at the time, and it got things done because you could be productive with it, but the tasks it was used for have now graduated into much more complicated projects. Perl made decent dynamic web pages server-side and was useful for sysadmin tasks, but now you have a lot of client side implementation. On the server-side Java and subsequent development took right off and beats the pants off of the performance of something written in Perl. Perl itself stalled with Perl6 development and has gone full HURD/Duke Nukem Forever. And like those, if they ever do finish it, it's probably going to be a mediocre disappointment released to a lot of people who can't quite remember using the old Perl (or who never have).
I agree with others that management would be a poor idea for this person. Management isn't being alpha-geek or Old Man. It's a different job entirely, albeit one where you do better when you understand what the team is doing and how they are doing it. You need to make business decisions based on your skills, instead of technical implementations based on your skills. And your skills are most frequently useful as bullshit detector or to provide another perspective to help your team. If you don't have a lot of team experience, you're at a serious disadvantage as a manager.
Still, I think he can jump start his career as a coder (if he really has skills). I'd do the following:
1. Learn something new. Node.js or some modern OO language. Java would be great, but he'd have to learn a lot about how to be productive with it in terms of IDEs and frameworks and such.
2. Simply put then new thing on his resume and look for jobs. Some places will interview him and he'll fail, but his goal is to learn what they are asking him to do in interviews. Then practice those things and learn those concepts.
2a. He might actually succeed at landing a job at that stage. In which case, he needs to learn the tools and languages rapidly and become productive. If he can, he's home free and has saved his career for the foreseeable future... assuming he doesn't fall into a rut again.
3. Get employed by someone who will attest to his skills, even a shit contractor job. Take a junior job, if he needs to, but try for mid-career jobs. Then he's back in the swing of things IF he applies himself to learning the new hotness, or at the very least, the popular lukewarm-ness.
4. A year or two later, if he needs to upgrade his salary, start looking for a new place and interview at his luxury and wait for a good opportunity.