Given I'm doing 100+ mph and still have Internet access I guess I'm not going to moan too much.
Rather sadly I have the title of "chief architect" (which I despise since it means nothing) but I am most proud to be a team member (who writes at least some code every day) delivering the right value at the right time to the business I support (not serve). Thankfully, agile says nothing about architecture - it merely says you focus on the most important things and continue to adapt.
Since I am also one of the management team of 10 people who run the 1,500 person department I work within I am also fully accountable to make it deliver. It didn't deliver very well with waterfall and lots of project managers. It's doing a little better now.
I am in my late 40's and very happy working closely with some great people and a business that really appreciates what we do. This seems to be at odds with many people posting in this thread. It might not be perfect, but at least I'm enjoying myself.
This is very sage advice. There is no such thing as "grunt development work" - developers will make or break your project. Project managers are only there to support the team and to protect them from the rest of the organization.
The world is steadily moving to agile - only those delivering value to the team matter. Everyone else is "overhead". Be wary.
Contracting can be good (been there, done that for many years), but you have to be prepared for the lean times when they come.
I am a senior IT manager in an investment bank in my mid 40's, one of six who run a group of 1,500, yet my aim is to still code for some hours of the day. I sit with the core team on the development floor (average age - in their 40's). One of my peers does the same, four do not - this is choice about management style. Management does not mean "not technical".
Great people are always in demand. Find the "right" sort of organization/group to work for - one that does modern methodologies (agile) and modern technologies (mixed imperative/functional languages, no-sql etc.) where you can stay up to date. Don't assume you'll ever make yourself invaluable by being the guy maintaining the legacy system - it's just that kind of stuff that some crazy manager thinks about outsourcing.
You don't need to worry if you're truly technical and good at it. Ask yourself - are you good enough? If not, make yourself good enough.
1. If you were a startup would you want to do business with Silverlake having seen this?
2. If you were an exec working at a startup owned by Silverlake would you be reviewing your contract?
Dumb move. In business if both sides don't feel that there is a win for them in a deal, then the "winner" will shortly have very few people to do business with.
Torque is cheap.