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The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 months ago | from the hey-kids-get-off-my-code dept.

Programming 120

Bob Pendleton calls his blog "The Grumpy Programmer" because he's both grumpy and a programmer. He's also over 60 years old and has been programming since he was in his teens. This pair of videos is a break from our recent spate of conference panels and corporate people. It's an old programmer sharing his career experiences with younger programmers so they (you?) can avoid making his mistakes and possibly avoid becoming as grumpy as he is -- which is kind of a joke, since Bob is not nearly as grumpy as he is light-hearted. (Transcript covers both videos. Alternate Video Link One; Alternate Video Link Two)

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First sentence (4, Insightful)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 2 months ago | (#47760239)

"Bob Pendleton calls his blog "The Grumpy Programmer" because he's both grumpy and a programmer."

Thanks, Rob!!

;-P

Re:First sentence (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47760529)

But what about this "the" word at the beginning? That doesn't get a word of explanation.

Re:First sentence (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | about 2 months ago | (#47760759)

Yeah, he's not the only one. Take Dilbert for example...!

Re:First sentence (2)

stonewolf (234392) | about 2 months ago | (#47761765)

The "the" is there because I could not get .org .net, and .com of grumpyprogrammer,

Re:First sentence (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#47762487)

and there is only one of him.

Re:First sentence (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760819)

Blackadder: "I seek information about a Wisewoman."
Young Crone: "Ah, the Wisewoman... the Wisewoman."
Blackadder: "Yes, the Wisewoman."
Young Crone: "Two things, my lord, must thee know of the Wisewoman. First, she is... a woman. And second, she is..."
Blackadder: "Wise?"
Young Crone: "You do know her then?"
Blackadder: "No, just a wild stab in the dark which is, incidentally, what you'll be getting if you don't start being a bit more helpful."

Re:First sentence (2)

hughbar (579555) | about 2 months ago | (#47763451)

Yes, exactly. I am planning to start the 'tautology party' with policies like 'higher taxes mean that taxes are higher'. The party will make about as much sense as the current political parties.

Incidentally [and unrelatedly] I'm 63, a programmer and grumpy. I hate every 'latest' javascript framework, stupid hipster hats and THOSE KIDS ON MY LAWN.

Re:First sentence (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47763215)

But no "Grumpy Programmer" ever really gets to be a "Grumpy Programmer" until they cease being a 'programmer' and become a system salesperson 'er' accounts manager 'er' system consultant 'er' systems integrator 'er' company representative basically what ever title suits for a failed to keep up with language changes programmer.

Transcript... (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47760243)

The transcript reads like a conversation between two guys with almost nothing to say. I'm honestly not sure what my takeaway from this should have been. Guy was a working programmer for 30 years (unemployed for the last 12+), and now he's... ...a guy making small-talk in a video?

Help me understand what I missed.

Re:Transcript... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760367)

You've missed that Slashdot has become a steaming turd of inconsequence.
 
Will the last fucktard to leave please turn off the light?

Re:Transcript... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47760419)

Help me understand what I missed.

What you should understand is that you should never take advice from a guy who has been unemployed for the last 12 years. If he can't manage his own career, why should you let him manage yours? Unless his code is structured far better than his speaking, I wouldn't employ him either.

Re:Transcript... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760829)

I open my eyes eating Chinese food...

Re:Transcript... (2)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761421)

As someone who has been unemployed for the last 14 years, I can manage anything because I've been doing almost nothing besides reading about everything on the internet.

Oh, and I'm also stupidly wealthy, which is why I haven't had to work since 2000. Which probably qualifies me for a few things here and there.

So your just like a techo CEO (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 months ago | (#47761823)

CEOs are technically employed, but they do not REALLY work do they.

Attend meetings, read the internet, attend meetings, play golf, fly a jet or two, stay in hotels, travel to other meetings, oh tell the PA to do a,b,c,d.

CEOs arent super human, their brain capacity is not 20x average. Im sure any seasoned programmer could do what a CEO does, remember more details, understand tech better.

Oh but the real skills come in social engineering and getting that billion dollar deal, by tricking the client.

Programmers are TOO HONEST! "yeah this server is shit, its capacity is poor", CEO says, "it will solve all solutions , no admin needed"

Re:Transcript... (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 2 months ago | (#47764541)

"Retired" and "Unemployed" are two words that may mean the same thing, or may not. If you're unemployed by choice, then you are what most people would refer to as "retired". If you are unemployed not by choice, then that makes people think you're unemployed because you can't find a job.

Oh, and I'm also stupidly wealthy, which is why I haven't had to work since 2000

Obviously you fall into the category of "retired".

Re:Transcript... (2)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47760565)

Help me understand what I missed

The fact that they actually gave us a transcript instead of trying to make us watch two videos. I skimmed it in a couple minutes and reached the same conclusion. It's just a lot of dime-a-dozen cliches; but I didn't waste too much time finding that out. Thanks. Now make it a rule that you can't do video stories without a transcript, unless it's something where a transcript doesn't make sense such as a rocket launch, electronic music, or a badass sharkbot shooting lasers.

Re:Transcript... (1)

Skarjak (3492305) | about 2 months ago | (#47760705)

I honestly have to agree. I mean, it's kind of neat to hear form an old timer, but it's mostly just him bitching about life. There is some entertainement value from hearing and old dude bitch about life, but not much education value.

Re:Transcript... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 months ago | (#47761831)

Just wait will 2040, when your job will be outsourced to dozens of 3rd world countries.

Oh and your burger joint will be 100% robotic, so will taxis, and hell, 90% of jobs will be robot run, and you will make a video, "shit damn I wish I did robotics or AI coding, not stupid govt medicare website"

Re:Transcript... (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | about 2 months ago | (#47760723)

The transcript reads like a conversation between two guys with almost nothing to say.

Because a real grumpy programmer doesn't fucking talk on a fucking video. A real grumpy programmer uses text, just like he always did, to write about how those hipster fucks who think they have even half a fucking clue deserve get run out of town on the Rails they rode in on.

A real grumpy programmer still fucking hates Microsoft, but can't be arsed even to hold down the shift key long enough to type a '$' - even though those monopolistic fucks in Redmond deserve it. Develop my ass, Ballmer.

A real grumpy programmer knows what C is for, but the pissant little twerps who bitch about the lack of strong typing in Perl can go get fucked, because fuck you, that's why. And fuck your Web 2 Point fucking Oh, and fuck your Twitter and fuck your fucking FuckBook.

And that, my child, is what a real grumpy programmer looks like, because get the fuck off my fucking lawn you ignorant little turd polisher.

Re: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761233)

True! I am disappointed by his lack of grumpiness. The only thing worse is if more slashdot videos are added for Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey.

Re:Transcript... (2)

the_skywise (189793) | about 2 months ago | (#47761411)

I wasted my mod points.... :(

Re:Transcript... (1)

glhturbo (32785) | about 2 months ago | (#47764913)

Lewis, is that you?

Re:Transcript... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761373)

Where do you get that he was unemployed for 12 years? All he said he wasn't able to secure a permanent job since he was 49. That doesn't mean he was unemployed - he could have had various temporary/contract jobs, or may have worked as a consultant.

Re:Transcript... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761409)

Oh, and he likes LISP...so that was useful.

Re:Transcript... (4, Informative)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761583)

I learned that many programmers are musicians or good at various art forms. Which surprised me because I was a good programmer and can't play a musical instrument or do anything artistic at all.

I learned that if you're a coder, you'd better have a career change lined up before you're too far along into your 40's.

I learned that when you're older if you lose your job, good luck getting re-employed.

I learned that if you want life long income from writing code, you'd have been well off to learn legacy languages and operating systems and get a job with a large business or the government. In fact, doing that now would leave you with a lot less competition for highly specialized work and you'd largely be competing with old farts for jobs.

I learned how to reduce stress.

As a code writer from the 70's through the early 90's and the manager of programmers through early 2000's, followed by watching almost everyone I know who did it lose their jobs in their early 50's and go through hell to find work, seems like all of that is not only reliable but pretty important.

That's without going back and re-reading the transcript.

Re:Transcript... (1, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | about 2 months ago | (#47761783)

I learned that many programmers are musicians or good at various art forms. Which surprised me because I was a good programmer and can't play a musical instrument or do anything artistic at all.

Music is basically counting and patterns, something that should come naturally to most programmers. The music theory jargon can easily go over your head at the beginning but you don't need to dive into it to actually play music at a basic level, and after you get some practise and a feel for it, the more advanced stuff start to make sense.

The hard part is actually getting some level of technical proficiency over your instrument of choice, dexterity is rarely useful in real life but it's the basis of playing most instruments.

If you can whistle a tune you can play music, getting control over the new medium (the instrument in this case) is the biggest issue, as the learning curve is highly steep and the fact that you'll initially sound like crap doesn't provide adequate positive re-enforcement, something necessary to any learning process.

Also, the fact that the cheap learner instruments sound really bad and are much harder to play than the expensive awesome sounding stuff doesn't help either.

PS: I'm an amateur self-taught guitar player, maybe someone with actual training can provide a better perspective.

Age discrimination sucks eh.. (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 months ago | (#47761867)

So those 30 year olds hiring people, immediately cut off any one with more than 10 years experience do they?

Do they assume those people will be listening to beatles music and be old shits, type slow, or like 4:3 screens, and use vi?

Time flies, all those 30yr olds will be 40 soon.

Age discrimination sucks eh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47763405)

Why is using vi (vim) a bad thing? IMO it shows dedication and a drive for improving productivity if someone goes through the madness that is getting started with it.

I'm 23 and recently switched from notepad++ as my main text editor to vim for everything that is not java (setting up eclim is next on the list). After the initial time investment it was absolutely worth it just for editing speed and fun. As an added bonus I can now edit files on a server over ssh 5x the speed of my GUI-dependent co-workers.

And 4:3 screens are still better than 16:9 for coding, with 16:10 being the best. Actually, I'm using two 1600x1200 screens to write this and wouldn't trade them for 1920x1080.

Re:Age discrimination sucks eh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47763965)

Only way a wide screen can improve my coding compared to a 4:3 is if you turn it 90 degreess so I can fit more code into it.

Re:Age discrimination sucks eh.. (2)

clifwlkr (614327) | about 2 months ago | (#47764351)

Yes, age discrimination is horrible and very real. I just hit 45 and am seeing it first hand. I work for a 'hot' type company and they actually said in a company wide meeting 'look around you. Notice that you don't see much grey hair. That is on purpose as we want people on their way up, not out'. I was shocked. Meanwhile their people 'on the way up' hack out some of the worst code I have ever seen. We could use a few more people on their way out to actually make some scalable and well architected products so our servers don't fail under the weight of this pile of crap they created. Thing that sucks is I am right now the best I have ever been with all of this experience and I am afraid it is going to get harder and harder to get a decent job.

Incredibly wise advice (2, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | about 2 months ago | (#47760277)

Robin Miller: But age discrimination in employment, have you encountered?

Bob Pendleton: Oh, absolutely. I got laid off on my 49th birthday and haven’t been able to find a full time job since.

One piece of advice I always give younger engineers and programmers is to be increasingly vigilant about your career as you age. In the last decade or so before retirement one is very vulnerable to layoffs, because one's salary is high and one's formal education was a long time ago.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760333)

So live below your means and invest everything you can, so that once you hit that limit you will be financially independent.

Also, don't have kids. They cost a fortune.

And also, don't get married, because divorces tend to wipe out 50-70 percent of your net worth.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 months ago | (#47760389)

So, live your entire life as though you're going to get fired tomorrow. Sounds like real fun.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760467)

You very well might get fired tomorrow. Job security is a thing of the past in software development.

If you don't want to live like that, switch careers.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

mabu (178417) | about 2 months ago | (#47760811)

I think the reason there's no job security in programming is because basically, nobody's really doing any "programming" these days.

Modern programmers know less about machines and languages than they do APIs and UIs. Everything is so object-oriented and encapsulated, and there are so many square pegs developers are asked to fit into round holes, they're not really designing stuff as much as working on an assembly line sticking various parts-pieces together with no real sense of oversight of the big picture.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 2 months ago | (#47760973)

I think the reason there's no job security in programming is because basically, nobody's really doing any "programming" these days.

Modern programmers know less about machines and languages than they do APIs and UIs. Everything is so object-oriented and encapsulated, and there are so many square pegs developers are asked to fit into round holes, they're not really designing stuff as much as working on an assembly line sticking various parts-pieces together with no real sense of oversight of the big picture.

Yes, the big picture.

The big picture is what gets one person fired and another a promotion.

The big picture is what gets a guy a multi-million dollar salary while the other one is glad he gets to keep his job for another month.

The best way to get the big picture is to connect, talk to people and see where everything is and looks like is going. Our lives have become so isolated and compartmentalized now. We do our thing in the cubicle and come home and watch TV and Netflix and ponder about what to buy next. No wonder we end up becoming disconnected husks who can't see anything outside their own shell.

Don't over-generalize (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 months ago | (#47760991)

I did linux kernel development and low-level posix stuff for over a decade, and there's still plenty of work there. I've now moved on to cloud computing, but on the backend infrastructure side. Lots of stuff happening there too...

Re:Incredibly wise advice (2)

creimer (824291) | about 2 months ago | (#47760481)

If you're a tech contractor, you may very well get fired tomorrow. Prior to the Great Recession, I used to change jobs every three years. My last three jobs each ended after nine months. My current job is a one-year contract, but my employment is in jepoardy because someone complained that my pants were wrinkled were last week. My newest resume is already on the job search websites. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 2 months ago | (#47760595)

So, live your entire life as though you're going to get fired tomorrow. Sounds like real fun.

Well, my advice is to find a decent job doing what you enjoy. Don't just keep a job to run out the clock until you retire. Get good enough to be valuable enough that the company wants to keep you around, and/or find a new business. Or start your own. (Never really done the latter in a serious way, but...)

My current stats: switched jobs too many times, but for at least a couple of those I stayed longer than I should have, only because I had not been there long enough. I'm 50 now, and hope to stay in the game for another 10 years. But guess what? Working at a job with cool toys (try medical devices) and good people. No urge to go into management, for now.

Also, learn to network.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761009)

Over the past 26 years I have had both full time jobs and contract jobs through 3rd parties allowing me to acquire a wide range of technology skills along with subject matter experience in different industries. Both full time and contracting positions have their pluses and minuses. Full time jobs can provide a measure of stability but in my experience contracting jobs pay a lot better, sometimes the increase in pay is very substantial. Full time jobs can let you concentrate on a relatively fixed set of technologies. However, contracting positions can provide the opportunity to work with a wider range of technologies and industries. Contracting jobs also give you the opportunity to see the technologies others are using. It all depends on what you are looking for and the large number of software developer opportunities make it easy to switch jobs when you want to. Any experienced software developer who can't find a job is not looking very hard.
 

Re:Incredibly wise advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760931)

Oh, sorry. You wanted advice on how to have fun? Spend all your money on fun stuff and don't worry about work at all.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#47761289)

> So, live your entire life as though you're going to get fired tomorrow. Sounds like real fun.

If you work in IT, the whole "disaster recovery" thing should not be new to you. It doesn't just apply to technology. If problems are readily forseeable then certainly you should try to plan for them and be as prepared for them as possible.

You don't necessarily have to go overboard. With many things, the most effective measures are the initial ones that are just past total apathy.

Being slightly more prepared than the next rat is a very useful thing.

Plus, if you are a slightly more prepared rat then the thought of being fired tomorrow won't weigh on you quite so heavily.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

stonewolf (234392) | about 2 months ago | (#47761835)

Well, not quite. Live your life like you are going to be fired TODAY. Be prepared for change.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

creimer (824291) | about 2 months ago | (#47760413)

Mod up. Cynical, no doubt. But very true. Good advice if you plan to become a grumpy programmer.

O rlly? (1)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | about 2 months ago | (#47760531)

Living like this won't necessarily make you grumpy. Check out Happy [amazon.com] . Long-term happiness is attained by a combination of these three things: 1) participation in a community, 2) having a self-cultivating hobby, 3) engaging in altruistic behavior. Also, time spent in flow-state helps.

One need not marry, have kids, or live opulently in order to have these things.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47760603)

And also, don't get married, because divorces tend to wipe out 50-70 percent of your net worth.

Or just don't get divorced. It is common knowledge that half of all marriages end in divorce. But that hides huge variations. If both partners have college degrees, the divorce rate is about 20%. If both have engineering degrees, it is about 10%. It helps to marry someone trained in problem solving, and capable of rational thinking.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760665)

It helps to marry someone ... capable of rational thinking.
 
Well, once you get past the gay marriage issue you're kind of SOL.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (4, Funny)

Skarjak (3492305) | about 2 months ago | (#47760719)

-_-

Re:Incredibly wise advice (2)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761671)

As usual, statistics lie. In dual degree marriages with engineering degrees there is a lot of money involved so one or both eats a lot of shit so they can live in the nice house, drive the nice cars and enjoy their earnings.

In poor marriages, there isn't enough money to make it worthwhile.

Its also interesting to note that second marriage divorce rates are higher than first, and third marriages are even worse. So they don't learn from their mistakes and failures beget higher failures. Once you're done with your first one, everyone you date will already have been married and divorced at least once. The ones that make it into their 40's without ever marrying are a real treat, because there's a reason.

And if you think that problem solving and rational thinking happens in a marriage...wow, have you got some surprises coming to you.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762903)

omg I wish I'd married someone trained in problem solving and capable of rational thinking... but I'm not gay.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (4, Informative)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761613)

Kids don't have to cost very much. Billions of them are raised around the world for next to nothing. Living below your means and having a good retirement account is a very good idea.

But yeah, marriage is a piss poor idea. You have no idea what you're going to get. My ex wife held her breath for 5.5 years of dating and everything was wonderful. Which ended within days of the ring going on her finger.

The old saying is true: marriages fail because men think that everything will stay the same and women think everything will be different.

I survived financially because most of my assets were earned before we married and weren't community property. There's a reason they call it financial death.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

stonewolf (234392) | about 2 months ago | (#47761829)

Your first point is very very true and is exactly what I did. Kids are worth the cost. Sure, I would be a multimillionaire if we had not had kids, but what the hell. Not getting married may be a good idea but I have been married for 37 years to an ME and that is a wonderful way to spend your life.

TheGrumpyProgrammer

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 2 months ago | (#47760485)

Robin Miller: But age discrimination in employment, have you encountered?

Bob Pendleton: Oh, absolutely. I got laid off on my 49th birthday and haven’t been able to find a full time job since.

One piece of advice I always give younger engineers and programmers is to be increasingly vigilant about your career as you age. In the last decade or so before retirement one is very vulnerable to layoffs, because one's salary is high and one's formal education was a long time ago.

And that's why, if you can, you go back to college to get a Bachelor or Masters degree when you get into your late 30's early 40's. I was fortunate in that I was able to take advantage of our corporate education benefits to complete mine. If nothing else, it shows that you still have the capacity and drive to learn and develop new concepts and skills outside of your current job.

Terrible advice (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 months ago | (#47762919)

And that's why, if you can, you go back to college to get a Bachelor or Masters degree when you get into your late 30's early 40's.

That is the worst possible advice you could possibly give, except I guess for killing yourself.

That is when instead of SPENDING ALL YOUR SAVINGS ON SOMETHING THAT WILL NOT MATTER, you should instead think about switching to consulting and increasing your earnings. Can't find a full-job easily past 40-50? Learn to make people pay what you are really worth for the vast amounts of experience you have, because that is worth a lot, save up what you can and enjoy retirement eventually, possibly a lot earlier than you would have if you burned your money like an idiot getting a business degree so you could be unemployed with all the younger business majors who cannot find jobs either.

Re:Terrible advice (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 months ago | (#47763875)

Its interesting though - so many programmers think that programming is a cool and important job that requires a ton of skill and talent and dedication.... and then they learn at around 40 that is all a load of old bollocks, hence the reason companies have outsourced much of it to 3rd world places. A programmer is just a tech equivalent of a bricklayer.

so to keep being employed in IT, you need to change with it, and learn that programming is less important than the design and architecture that goes into it, those roles (along with managing the 3rd world brickies and customers) are what's important.

Not as much fun though... but since when was work supposed to be fun.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 months ago | (#47760593)

Having a background like his, a different favourite form of poetry to write, and a love for LISP, I have to agree -- but after you've been coding for a few decades, the trick is to move into analysis and give up on the codemonkey work as a paying gig :( This doesn't mean going into management (which is another option), but instead using your years of expertise to look over other people's (finished/unfinished) code, tear it apart, and make suggestions on how to fix what they inevitably missed. Or go into security research, or become an independent contractor that can go in and fix all the software you wrote 20+ years ago that nobody has a clue about how to maintain anymore. It all comes back to "don't fall in love with the code" -- it's kind of like a NYT bestseller attempting to churn out books for 20+ years and keep them all best sellers; a few can do it, but for the most part, it's time to move to a supporting role and get paid more/in a more stable way.

You can, of course, move coding into a hobby, polishing that codebase you've been working on for the past 15 years just for the love of it. It's unlikely to make you as much money as you put into it though. /grump.

Re:Incredibly wise advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762319)

Maybe for programmers but I work with a lot of engineers who are well into their 60's. Then again I do real engineering, not software development.

Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47760319)

Anyone remember that old poster [tumblr.com] ? It used to hang in an older professor's office back in school. I think he took it seriously too (not a humorous sort, that guy). The rest of us took it as bit of a joke -- a joke as in "Every old fart programmer thinks the next generation is doing it all wrong."

Ironically, that was 20 years ago, and so now I'm an old(er) fart myself. But I'll resist the urge to tell all the newbies how *MY* generation got it right and THEIR GENERATION sucks.

And get off my lawn!!!

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760415)

Kids always want to use lambda expressions where for loops would work just fine, and run faster too.

Bah, the next generation *is* doing it wrong.

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47761097)

Kids always want to use lambda expressions where for loops would work just fine, and run faster too.

Or, you could simply use a good compiler which ultimately doesn't see the difference between the two.

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (5, Interesting)

spitzak (4019) | about 2 months ago | (#47761275)

Actually more often I have seen the opposite: claims the new stuff is going to be faster, the compiler is not smart enough to figure out that they are the same, and thus you should use the new stuff.

There was a coworker who insisted that using C++ std::foreach for loops was faster because "the compiler knows you can't break out of it and thus can optimize the whole thing". I had two objections to this: first of all it would be a really stupid optimizing compiler that could not figure out there are no "break" statements inside the for loop. And second the C++ was still allowed to throw exceptions in both cases.

The other objection I had was that the functors were unreadable.

Yet another objection is my suspicion that the optimization would be far worse on the functors due to the enormous header files of templates they actually used and I expected the optimizer for the simple for loop to have fewer bugs in it. But I did not test this.

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47761293)

Well, C++ wasn't exactly what I had in mind. That's as broken as Perl.

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760815)

And git off my lawn!!!

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (2)

stonewolf (234392) | about 2 months ago | (#47761889)

Do you happen to know who is in that picture? That is John McCarthy the inventor of Lisp. The joke is on you.

Re:Programming: You're doing it completely wrong (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47764179)

No, the real joke is that he never actually said that.

Age Discrimination (1)

ChodaBoyUSA (2532764) | about 2 months ago | (#47760325)

It is sad to see that Mr. Pendleton had an experience similar to my own. I was laid off the year I turned 48. Unlike him, however, I stayed in management despite hating it and still became unemployed. I hope Mr. Pendleton finds success and happiness in whatever he chooses.

Re:Age Discrimination (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 2 months ago | (#47760497)

For me it was 45, after 9 years and a patent application. Strange how one person was laid off from each project, almost all the oldest and most experienced, except for two new kids who had just recently started and hadn't even gotten any product training yet.

Re:Age Discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761461)

Bullshit consultant spewing pretty reports and subcontracting people doing the engineering work?

Re:Age Discrimination (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 months ago | (#47760623)

Better to start writing poetry, a novel, some music, etc., and then possibly get a job as an analyst (full-time or contract). Management is an option, but really only for those who enjoy it. Do what you love; find a way to convert your experience into a paycheck.

Re:Age Discrimination (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 2 months ago | (#47761023)

It is sad to see that Mr. Pendleton had an experience similar to my own. I was laid off the year I turned 48. Unlike him, however, I stayed in management despite hating it and still became unemployed. I hope Mr. Pendleton finds success and happiness in whatever he chooses.

From the stories I hear, I think I will have to figure out an exit plan by 45-46.

I really hope I can get my own business as consultant or something else with a bunch of people who are in the same boat as me. I really hope I can strike out as a startup and hire young programmers and not be firable.

Turn in your geek card, Rob. (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 months ago | (#47760387)

It is, in fact, John Warnock who founded Adobe.

My advice...RUN! (1)

captjc (453680) | about 2 months ago | (#47760435)

Stay away! Long hours, crappy pay working for a company that will use you for everything you are worth, chew you up, and when you turn 35-40, will spit you out. Only those few who specialized in now ancient technologies will have any prospects beyond age 40. The worst part is, there is no such thing as job security. No matter how much of a rockstar you are, at any time you are at risk of being replace by a kid from India or China, if for no other reason than the CTO needs a few extra dollars to get a new company Lexus.

Sure, the idea of joining a startup and becoming an overnight billionaire sounds appealing, but except for a very small handful, IT WONT HAPPEN. If you want to join the Video Game Industry, all this same stuff applies, only cranked up to 11!

For your own sake, stay away. Don't make the same mistake that I made. Get a real job, spend time with your family, go outside and enjoy life.

Re:My advice...RUN! (2)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47760997)

. Only those few who specialized in now ancient technologies will have any prospects beyond age 40.

Maybe it's you? I'm 45 and recruiters bother me more than ever. I keep my tech skills current, and carefully manage my career so as not to get stuck looking like an expert only on old things. Senior engineers are golden right now - I find it a great place to be. If what I do could be done by a kid anywhere, well, I'd be a terrible engineer after 20+ years.

The worst part is, there is no such thing as job security.

True enough, but it doesn't matter. Other than during the dot-bust, it's never taken me long to get a series of interviews whenever I wanted/needed a new job. This is not a career where staying for a long time at any company is usually rewarded, this is a job where technical success stories on your resume from many years of companies are rewarded.

If you want to join the Video Game Industry, all this same stuff applies, only cranked up to 11!

Any job that sounds fun like that will be exploitive and pay less. There's likely no worse corner of this industry than the large game companies. Find something to work on that puts your friends to sleep when you describe it, but people in the industry know is important.

Re:My advice...RUN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761495)

>If you want to join the Video Game Industry

You would have to be an idiot in the first place to want to join the video game industry, other than going indie and being your own boss.

Re:My advice...RUN! (1)

stonewolf (234392) | about 2 months ago | (#47761915)

I did 5 start ups and was part owner of a game company (10%) I've done everything you said not to do and you are right. You would be better off selling hats off the side of the road. On the other hand, I had one hell of a lot of fun.

TheGrumpyProgrammer

Speaking as a grumpy (3, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 months ago | (#47760469)

I'm one of these grumpies. Some of what I had to say may be useful to the wet-behind-the-year dopes. Not likely, though, because, back when I was at their age, I didn't listen to the old geezers, and that both helped me as well as screwed me.

So, given the rapid speed of change in the landscape of IT industry, I have to wonder how relevant our experiences and lessons would be to the young'uns.

Re:Speaking as a grumpy (1)

bregmata (1749266) | about 2 months ago | (#47760735)

So, given the rapid speed of change in the landscape of IT industry, I have to wonder how relevant our experiences and lessons would be to the young'uns.

There's no point in telling the younger folk anything, they already know it all. Wait until they're older with a little more experience and find out they still have much to learn.

Re:Speaking as a grumpy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760911)

>So, given the rapid speed of change in the landscape of IT industry, I have to wonder how relevant our experiences and lessons would be to the young'uns.

We know how the machine works and how to get it to do our bidding in assembler / C and these snot nosed young punks don't. They can pour all the lambdas, patterns, frou-frou languages, and other syntactic sugar (all of which I know how to use just fine, thank you very much) over it as much as they want but we know that it's all GOTOs (well, JMPs) and procedural down at the bottom which is why we know how to get the best performance and they write code that shows up on the front page of "The Daily WTF?".

Re:Speaking as a grumpy (2)

russotto (537200) | about 2 months ago | (#47761615)

Lambdas. Ha. Lambdas are older than I am, and they think they discovered them. Garbage collection, too. Yeah, we know, functional programming and garbage collection will save the day and no one will ever have to write a loop, mutate an object, or allocate memory again. How many years have they been saying that? Probably longer than they've been saying RISC will kick CISCs butt, and ... oh, hell, the young'ns don't even know what that is, do they.

Poetry? (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 months ago | (#47760647)

I guess I get why there may be some ties between programming and poetry, but it's not my thing. I wonder what the ex-English-professor would have said about a novelist?

Re:Poetry? (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | about 2 months ago | (#47763259)

A good number of IT people I know are either into photography or music, some are into both.

because COBOL (1)

bregmata (1749266) | about 2 months ago | (#47760765)

Turns out being a COBOL programmer isn't a guaranteed job for life in the age of the Cloud.

Re:because COBOL (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | about 2 months ago | (#47760899)

huge space for COBOL/FORTAN/PASCAL/OLD_SHIT -> node.js (or other cloud friendly service host, insert fav.) in the future. Some companies are already doing that or a subset of that.

Re:because COBOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760919)

I found this (programmers' difficulty finding employment at an advanced age) to be the most enlightening part of his discussion.

2014... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760783)

It's 2014 and we still have streaming video served up as FLASH???? ON SLASHDOT?!?!?!?!?! What a joke.

Re:2014... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760859)

I can't stress this enough...
(not the same AC)

Re:2014... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761161)

It's even better than that: "CANNOT CONTACT AUTHORIZATION SERVER"

It's streaming video served up as _DRM'd_ Flash, on Slashdot.

Re:2014... (1)

2fuf (993808) | about 2 months ago | (#47761343)

Yeah, because "HTML5" is such a great success

Re:2014... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47761467)

my plugins block flash automatically and I wont bother to watch it actually. I was programmer in my late teens, and after 3 years hated being it full time. Still enjoy hacking some programs as hobby.

Different ages of development (5, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | about 2 months ago | (#47760885)

I am not sure there's much advice us older programmers can give new developers because the industry is a lot different now.

In the old days we were often tasked with solving a problem, and we were more-often free to use whatever tools and technology were best, and we also thought of development environments as tools, which we could switch out if the application required something different. We also did all our own testing. I recently worked with a younger programmer on a project and it was miserable. He couldn't give me 20 lines of code that didn't have a bug in it, because he was dependent upon having some QA person test his work and an IDE that would hilight every mistake.

Nowadays there is so much abstraction going on in programming, people don't really seem like they're programming as much as they're using some sort of GUI development tool and plodding through innumerable amounts of API documentation and going on witch-hunts to try and figure out why something that's documented to work, doesn't actually work. I remember a big Oracle project I was on where my software wouldn't work properly and I couldn't figure out why. It took me several months of bitching on usenet to finally get a rep within Oracle contact me privately and tell me I wasn't crazy, they knew about the bug and just weren't acknowledging it. In the old days, there wasn't as much of that going on. Programming was simpler and less bureaucratic.

Different ages of development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761491)

Code error highlighting is nice, but if done from the start, can breed laziness. My deal, I started as and html monkey using Dreamweaver when I was 25, first job. Now I'm 40 doing OOP PHP, Nginx proxies, load balancing, a bit of Perl, and MySQL tuning. The bulk of which is using VIM along with GIT to preserve it all. Best move ever was going to VIM and taking the training wheels off. With that I work in news media which requires a bunch of duct tape code to make a bunch of grumpy APIs work together and it is inherently chaotic, which makes it all fun.

Re:Different ages of development (3, Insightful)

Art3x (973401) | about 2 months ago | (#47763037)

I liked the part about poetry. That rings true. I came to programming from writing. They have a lot in common.

I am not sure there's much advice us older programmers can give new developers because the industry is a lot different now.

Experience counts. It's wiser to hire someone with 25 instead of 5 years experience. I generally get better results from the elders, whether they are my server admin, plumber, or barber. The years round off rough edges, and they're just more relaxed. They may be grumpy, but they always seem ready to make a joke. In their work they are more methodical and deliberate. They seem to be working slowly, but they finish sooner. They're mainly just less frantic, less wasted motion, more thoughful. There's no problem they can't figure out, eventually. They also are more likely to be the ones to insist on doing the job right, or thoroughly, more than the customer is asking them to. They are more likely to describe something as elegant or know what the word means.

This obsession with youth is sort of like how everything's new "on the Internet." Eventually the gleam will wear off, and society hopefully will realize that it's better to hire old people, just like it's better to hire master plumbers, 60-year-old architects, and gray-haired graphic designers. Steve Jobs, for NeXT's logo, paid $100,000 to Paul Rand, who was 72.

I recently worked with a younger programmer on a project and it was miserable. He couldn't give me 20 lines of code that didn't have a bug in it, because he was dependent upon having some QA person test his work and an IDE that would hilight every mistake.

I'm a web programmer in my 30s, but I use vi, psql, and --- well, that's about it.

I have better advice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760981)

Get off my lawn!
Er I mean
GET OFF MY LAWN!
Thanks /. captcha.

blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761073)

His blog has only 8 posts total. Is this some kind of joke?!

Re:blog (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761699)

Awww...does that make you grumpy?

60? (1)

2fuf (993808) | about 2 months ago | (#47761347)

He looks older than my 70 year old dad

Read his blog and lost interest (2)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 2 months ago | (#47761589)

when I discovered that he doesn't bother to proofread or use a spell checker.

I don't care how long he's been doing it, sloppiness is a sign of a poor programmer.

Grumpy Old Geezer (2)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 months ago | (#47763479)

As I near the end of a nominally successful electrical engineering career that spans the humble analog beginnings of automation to the roboticized present, I can look back and smile at what a smart-assed punk kid I was, deriding the old-timers with snot-nosed comments and the immeasurable over-confidence of youth.

Barring an early death, everyone gets old. Know what? I neither desire nor require the respect or veneration of the young. I got mine. As jobs get scarcer and pay less with each passing year, all I can say to the smartaleck young snerts is, "Suck it. See you in St. Croix."

On the other hand, ask me nicely and I'm happy to lend a helping hand.

Respect is a two-way street with no speed limit.

Read the blog. He still has something to give. (1)

unimacs (597299) | about 2 months ago | (#47764737)

I was kind of confused about the message and intent of the videos. If the goal is to give advice to those who want to continue programming as a career beyond their 40's and into their 60's, it might make more sense to interview somebody who has managed to do that. I guess the idea was to avoid doing what he did.

The advice seemed to come down to this: Take care of yourself and work for the government or just skip a career in programming altogether. The rest was made up of miscellaneous recollections.

I was curious enough to look at his blog. Though he's only posted sporadically, he does come across as a very intelligent guy with a graduate degree that still has something to give the industry, though I'm not sure in what capacity. He was a teacher for awhile and that seems to have been a good fit but it sounds like health issues ended that part of his career.

Outside of management, keeping ones career going all the way through to retirement can be a challenge in technical fields. Part of that is pure discrimination but I would also guess that in many cases companies get are getting more per dollar spent out of younger employees. How does one combat that as they age? Some do it successfully. Is becoming a consultant or moving into management the only way to go?

Brace yourselves for mandatory fine arts majors! (1)

HnT (306652) | about 2 months ago | (#47765053)

So next to your CS degree you are going to need a fine arts major and better be a published author, recognized composer or important contemporary painter on top of 50+ years of working experience in a technology that's been around for 5 years oh and please do not be older than 25 because we all know from your 30s it is downhill, you cost 300 times "too much", experience doesn't mean anything and your are "not flexible".

It is becoming absolutely ridiculous what people seem to think a "real programmer" should have in terms of traits or characteristics and qualifications, and blogs like these add to the quaint conception. How about you HR drones pick a decent, common sense guy with roughly the qualifications regardless of age and establish a good working environment where you are making sure you train people and enable them to do a good job and grow in their knowledge and skill instead of looking for the one "rockstars" to save your death-march project, the "rockstar" whom you are going to pay a shamefully low salaries?

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