Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

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drk
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by drk » Sat May 26, 2018 2:10 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:44 pm
Would you really expect the same software development role at a SV-based company like Facebook or Google to be identical to that at Walmart? Or the Walmart dev job compared to some local/regional non-tech small business?
Incidentally, Walmart Labs (located in Silicon Valley) offers compensation competitive with FAANG, although I've heard mixed reviews about the culture.
killjoy2012 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:44 pm
e.g. $250k for an IC role is clearly a SV or NYC exception. Most experienced devs won't make half that elsewhere, but their COL is also significantly less.
This does not contradict your point, but I would add LA, Seattle, Denver, and Austin to your list. Any US city with large FAANG outposts will offer a similarly high upper peak in terms of compensation.

Pippen_001
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:41 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by Pippen_001 » Mon May 28, 2018 9:45 am

CobraKai wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:42 am
Pippen_001 wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 9:29 am
Have you given any thought on a career in Business Analysis?

I am a software engineer myself (15 years) and i'm aiming for a 50-50 engineering / BA role at my current employer.
For me it gives me a balance of working with people, getting to know business domains and also working on the technical parts of implementation.

Good luck with the path you choose.
I believe that is part of my job now but is just one of my many responsibilities. When I'm working on a project, I talk to the managers/stakeholders and work with them as the project progresses. Perhaps I could leverage this experience this into a Business Analyst position down the line. Do you have a business degree or gain that experience OTJ? It doesn't seem like I have a full time job as much as it is several part jobs (developer, sysadmin, DBA, business analyst, etc) grouped into one position.
I have a BSc degree. My BA experience is mostly OTJ training, but I'm leaning towards an official BA certification path.. check iiba.org.
I also worked with VB.NET/C#/MSSQL in the past, but now I'm in the Java/MySQL field.

As for your initial post. You were disappointed for not being promoted.
I personally think you should get promoted if you add more value to the organization you're woking for.
Sit down with your manager, and analyze what your organization is missing. What can you to to take the organization to the next level.
Since you're in an organization where IT is not the core-business but a business supporting department, I would look into Business Intelligence. Most managers would love to see valuable reporting data that helps them in their day-to-day decision making. BI is a great field that can be applied in most organizations / sectors.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3541
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon May 28, 2018 3:11 pm

drk wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:10 pm
killjoy2012 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:44 pm
Would you really expect the same software development role at a SV-based company like Facebook or Google to be identical to that at Walmart? Or the Walmart dev job compared to some local/regional non-tech small business?
Incidentally, Walmart Labs (located in Silicon Valley) offers compensation competitive with FAANG, although I've heard mixed reviews about the culture.
killjoy2012 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:44 pm
e.g. $250k for an IC role is clearly a SV or NYC exception. Most experienced devs won't make half that elsewhere, but their COL is also significantly less.
This does not contradict your point, but I would add LA, Seattle, Denver, and Austin to your list. Any US city with large FAANG outposts will offer a similarly high upper peak in terms of compensation.
Frankly, many companies are not as picky with employees and don't need to pay what FAANGs pay. Many companies also don't expect you to practically live in the office nor can they offer stock options for a stock that seemingly doubles every time you turn around. Firms don't need to pay people that Google wouldn't hire what Google pays.

drk
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by drk » Mon May 28, 2018 3:18 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 3:11 pm
drk wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:10 pm
This does not contradict your point, but I would add LA, Seattle, Denver, and Austin to your list. Any US city with large FAANG outposts will offer a similarly high upper peak in terms of compensation.
Frankly, many companies are not as picky with employees and don't need to pay what FAANGs pay. Many companies also don't expect you to practically live in the office nor can they offer stock options for a stock that seemingly doubles every time you turn around. Firms don't need to pay people that Google wouldn't hire what Google pays.
Agreed! That's what I mean about the "similarly high upper peak" above. If we assume such FAANG-infected areas to have roughly bimodal distributions of software engineer salaries, we would expect a lot of people to cluster around that lower bump. As you note, there is no need to pay someone a Google salary if Google wouldn't pay them anything.

Stormbringer
Posts: 581
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by Stormbringer » Mon May 28, 2018 6:11 pm

I became a freelance software developer when I was 25. I'm 49 now, so I've had a pretty good 24-year run at it. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
  1. Technology changes really fast. You need to retool your skill set every five years or so or you will be obsolete.
  2. Early in your career, you can get a job by being specialized in something. Later in your career, you can branch out into more technologies as you are exposed to them, making it easier to find gigs that match one of them. You can also become a highly specialized expert and charge a lot, but you will likely need to travel.
  3. Reputation is really important. It will keep you employed, allow you charge more, and eventually may let you bill clients directly rather than going through a 3rd party staffing agency that skims money off the top.
  4. In that you are an expensive resource, you are better off working for a larger organization where you are just another check that goes out the door. Small clients quickly notice what you cost and will try to get rid of you as soon as possible.
  5. Software development is different from other professions, in that there is an enormous productivity difference between an average programmer and a really good one. Most clients are pretty clueless about this. This can work both for and against you:
    1. It works against you when the client compares you to someone in Bangalore who costs $35 an hour.
    2. It works for you if you can do fixed bid work. In fact, you can make oodles of money this way.
  6. The Internet and VPN makes it pretty easy to work remotely these days, but be careful of it. It also makes it easy for someone in India to do the same work. Also, face time with clients is really helpful in maintaining the relationship.
  7. Software development often involves solving a business problem. The difficulty is that business clients don't fully understand the technology, and software developers often don't understand business. I obtained my MBA because it allows me bridge that gap, acting as a translator between the two. Also, clients frequently do a poor job of articulating their requirements, and the MBA helps me better understand what they actually want vs. what they ask for.
  8. Financially, you need to come to grips with the uncertainty of going from one contract to another, or one budget cycle to another. Some people can't handle that uncertainty and bail out the first time a project ends. Build a financial buffer, and build relationships with multiple clients. Don't take on financial commitments that exceed what you could afford if you had to return to a regular job. Having a spouse with a stable position and benefits helps too.
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

danaht
Posts: 511
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Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by danaht » Mon May 28, 2018 7:02 pm

If you stay with a company for too long - sometimes they can take advantage of your situation. It sounds like you have enough experience to have that "senior" title. You might consider changing employers for a couple years - and if you really like your current company - go back and get re-hired as a "senior" developer. In this day and age - sometimes the only way to get promoted is to move around a little. Other than being "vested" for a 401k and some small retirement privileges - there is usually no benefit to staying around longer like you have. (pensions are no longer offered / etc.) Like that song - they probably don't know what they have - until it's gone.

MindBogler
Posts: 644
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:05 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by MindBogler » Mon May 28, 2018 7:27 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 5:48 pm
mrgeeze wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 8:47 am
One more thought.

Assuming your lifestyle will allow it,perrhaps you can get a security clearance beyond TS.
How does one get a security clearance anyway?
One joins the military with an MOS that requires 100% clearance or one is sponsored by an employer, e.g. Raytheon, Lockheed, etc. but the latter is much less frequent. Clearance investigations are time-intensive, expensive, and then of course there is the possibility that after all of the waiting your clearance will be declined. Most people who work clearance jobs came from the military or some other government apparatus and they never leave the "system" because the clearances expire. As a former cleared worker, I am no more likely to get a clearance job than another bum on the street. The clearance system needs to be revamped somehow because its nearly impossible to bring fresh blood and ideas into the system. It's like a giant tenured track except with a lot less stability for those involved (civil servants excluded).

MindBogler
Posts: 644
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:05 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by MindBogler » Mon May 28, 2018 7:57 pm

I don't think age is the issue in IT so much as the generalization that more experienced individuals tend to be more set in their ways. I don't like generalizations, but I think they are appropriate when it comes to this topic. I'm right around the same age and I have been quite successful in IT. If I consider what separates me from some other "older" engineers, it is that I never stop learning. Some of my peers seem to live in the past and as we all know, the IT field moves quickly. Things that were bleeding edge 5-8 years ago are old hat today.

Since the beginning of my career the field has moved from physical to virtual to cloud, which really is just someone else's datacenter with an API on it. The only constant in the field is change. It is relentless and if you do not ride the wave you will end up irrelevant. Today the field is rapidly diverging into what other, more elegant, thinkers have aptly termed "white collar" vs "blue collar" IT. There is a great talk given by Jeffrey Snover of Powershell fame where he describes the difference between the two: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/ser ... collar-it/

The fact is that us older systems people are being given a choice: we can adapt and overcome or we can be left behind. The days of rack and stack hardware in the datacenter are behind us. Today's infrastructure is defined in code, fronted by REST APIs and accessed via Python, Powershell, Go, etc. The systems field is rapidly transitioning into development instead. Instead of procuring and installing servers and storage, we're creating automation frameworks and developing unit testing and continuous integration. Well, that is what I'm doing anyway. And I've had no problem finding work. My most recent foray into a job search yielded multiple competing offers in the same week. And I do not live in a major east/west coast metropolitan area (although I do hail originally from one).

If you have legacy systems knowledge and can learn how to program in an object-oriented language you will have companies fighting to hire you. Today's developers are being tasked with yesterday's systems knowledge, and you are uniquely positioned to bridge that gap. If you have more specific questions you are free to PM me. I am always happy to help another systems person out.

rich126
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by rich126 » Tue May 29, 2018 9:50 am

Interesting thread. In some ways reminds me of people talking about what is a good resume vs. a bad one. The only consistency is making sure there are no typos.

I've worked for the government (~15yrs), then worked for contractors (~12 yrs) and then for the government (~5 yrs). I'm in my 50s and plan to look for a new job late this year (would like to be working elsewhere in 2019). I'll have to try and remember to report back here with my experience in job searching over 50.

I've always been hands on technical (EE degree) doing anything from hardware design, software, DSP, embedded systems and now Cyber Security. I'd agree that a lot of the hardware work is out sourced. Programming depends on the end user. Personally I think those who really know the security aspects will be in strong demand for a long time. Do you really want to out source the keys to your entire infrastructure?

I'd also agree that there are a lot of "tech" people out there that are barely functional and have poor problem solving skills and have trouble even Googling things on the net to fix the problem. There are a lot of "soft" IA type degrees where someone is told the difference between a hub and a switch but wouldn't know how to SSH to the switch or start to do anything with its configuration (unless maybe it has a colorful GUI).

I've never been laid off, fired, not gotten a raise anytime I was in a non-government job. I've seen others going through that, but often it is those that are least productive or those that should have noticed the company was losing business and been proactive in getting out before it is too late.

Smart people who are good problem solvers tend to be able to pick up things and are well worth the money. I can move from Linux to Apple to Windows with little trouble. I no longer program daily but if I need to write up some test code or scripting it isn't hard to do it whether you are talking about old school stuff like Perl or something more current like Python.

As someone else mentioned, it all depends on the situation and the person. My closing comments would be, don't get stuck in one very custom field for long and don't fall in love with one company, things change and all those weekend hours you gave to the company don't mean anything when they shut down their doors.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3541
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 29, 2018 11:40 am

Stormbringer wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 6:11 pm
I became a freelance software developer when I was 25. I'm 49 now, so I've had a pretty good 24-year run at it. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
  1. Technology changes really fast. You need to retool your skill set every five years or so or you will be obsolete.
  2. Early in your career, you can get a job by being specialized in something. Later in your career, you can branch out into more technologies as you are exposed to them, making it easier to find gigs that match one of them. You can also become a highly specialized expert and charge a lot, but you will likely need to travel.
  3. Reputation is really important. It will keep you employed, allow you charge more, and eventually may let you bill clients directly rather than going through a 3rd party staffing agency that skims money off the top.
  4. In that you are an expensive resource, you are better off working for a larger organization where you are just another check that goes out the door. Small clients quickly notice what you cost and will try to get rid of you as soon as possible.
  5. Software development is different from other professions, in that there is an enormous productivity difference between an average programmer and a really good one. Most clients are pretty clueless about this. This can work both for and against you:
    1. It works against you when the client compares you to someone in Bangalore who costs $35 an hour.
    2. It works for you if you can do fixed bid work. In fact, you can make oodles of money this way.
  6. The Internet and VPN makes it pretty easy to work remotely these days, but be careful of it. It also makes it easy for someone in India to do the same work. Also, face time with clients is really helpful in maintaining the relationship.
  7. Software development often involves solving a business problem. The difficulty is that business clients don't fully understand the technology, and software developers often don't understand business. I obtained my MBA because it allows me bridge that gap, acting as a translator between the two. Also, clients frequently do a poor job of articulating their requirements, and the MBA helps me better understand what they actually want vs. what they ask for.
  8. Financially, you need to come to grips with the uncertainty of going from one contract to another, or one budget cycle to another. Some people can't handle that uncertainty and bail out the first time a project ends. Build a financial buffer, and build relationships with multiple clients. Don't take on financial commitments that exceed what you could afford if you had to return to a regular job. Having a spouse with a stable position and benefits helps too.
Good points. It sounds like we've been contracting for roughly the same period.

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:54 am

gotester2000 wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:55 am
CobraKai wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 12:47 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 9:25 am
You hear stay current all the time. The reality is most people won't hire you because you learned X on the weekend in your spare time. Most jobs need certain skills and you cannot just say we're going to do the next project in X so I can keep my skills up.
That is true! They demand OTJ experience in whatever technology stack they are looking for. It's not enough to be a quick learned, you are expected to be an expert right off the bat.
It is not difficult to show OTJ experience in whatever new technology stack is in demand and to get past the interview - with 10-20 years experience you know what is expected of the role.

The question is do you want to continue on the same road and for how long? Once you have kids its difficult to juggle both - I know a few seniors who left were relieved that they dont have to do Agile standups across timezones.
They left the industry?

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:57 am

bling wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 6:43 pm
the answer is simple. if you were the employer, would you hire yourself? how much would you pay for yourself compared to someone fresh out of college? someone with 3 years, 5 years, 10 years experience?
I'd like to think I have a unique set of skills that someone coming out of college doesn't have. College was good for learning fundamentals but most of what I learned was OTJ.
bling wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 6:43 pm
your next question may be how does the employer know how good you really are? well, if you're 40 presumably you've had 15 years of experience in the industry. if you're competent at your job, that is a huge network of people who can refer you. the recommendation of switching jobs in tech every 3-5 years isn't just to keep your skills up to date, but to build your network.
The danger in that is that most of those people are either working in the company or have connections within the company. Word gets around.
bling wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 6:43 pm
finally, IMO switching to management is a dubious strategy. there's a saying -- those we can, do; those who can't, teach. i feel it's applicable here. if you're actually good at developing software, not only will you enjoy doing it, companies will pay top dollar to keep you coding. it's not uncommon to make more being an individual contributor than a manager. but instead, now an average software developer who isn't all the passionate about the role, switches into management, not because they enjoy it, but as a means to stay relevant....of course that's a recipe for disaster!

you're gambling that you'll actually be a good manager, instead of the more likely result of a mediocre one. when it comes find to finding a new job, you will have closed off the technical track because now your skills are many years out of date, competing against passionate managers that are good at their jobs. and of course it doesn't help that there are less openings for management...

the safest thing to do after 40 is to remain technical, simply because there are so many more jobs. for every 1 management job there will be 20 developer jobs.
There has been some contradictory advice here regarding whether to switch to management. I must say that this makes a lot of sense!

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:00 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 10:07 am
Ex-coworkers may help, or they may see you as competition, hence a threat. Things are rarely simple with people.

EXACTLY

Not to brag but I'm usually either the most skilled/productive or one of them in the groups I have worked in. Can you rely on an ex co-worker who would be hesitant to bring into where they are working because you might outshine then? Case in point, several years back, we had a mass lay off. Some were let go and others (including myself) stayed. I'm not sure that someone who was let go while I was kept would be super thrilled to work with me again. It's probably best to network with management and marketing/HR types, even if one works in IT.

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:17 pm

Pippen_001 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 9:45 am
I have a BSc degree. My BA experience is mostly OTJ training, but I'm leaning towards an official BA certification path.. check iiba.org.
I also worked with VB.NET/C#/MSSQL in the past, but now I'm in the Java/MySQL field.

As for your initial post. You were disappointed for not being promoted.
I personally think you should get promoted if you add more value to the organization you're woking for.
Sit down with your manager, and analyze what your organization is missing. What can you to to take the organization to the next level.
Since you're in an organization where IT is not the core-business but a business supporting department, I would look into Business Intelligence. Most managers would love to see valuable reporting data that helps them in their day-to-day decision making. BI is a great field that can be applied in most organizations / sectors.
Thanks for the link.
As for the lack of promotion, honestly I think it's political. The director is a younger guy and he is likely more comfortable with the younger guy being promoted. That and they figured I had no interest.

I very much like the idea of Business Intelligence. Would an advanced degree help with that? Any certifications out there that have value?

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:20 pm

danaht wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 7:02 pm
If you stay with a company for too long - sometimes they can take advantage of your situation. It sounds like you have enough experience to have that "senior" title. You might consider changing employers for a couple years - and if you really like your current company - go back and get re-hired as a "senior" developer. In this day and age - sometimes the only way to get promoted is to move around a little. Other than being "vested" for a 401k and some small retirement privileges - there is usually no benefit to staying around longer like you have. (pensions are no longer offered / etc.) Like that song - they probably don't know what they have - until it's gone.
I do feel like they are taking advantage of me.

Funny you mention leaving and returning. One of our old directors did the same thing and he was later brought back as a VP. A manager in another department left years ago, was brought back as a director and promoted to VP. Loyalty doesn't seem to matter anymore! The big thing with me is vacation time. I have accumulated quite a bit (4 wks) and would likely have to take a step back if I were to jump ship.

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:22 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 7:57 pm
I don't think age is the issue in IT so much as the generalization that more experienced individuals tend to be more set in their ways. I don't like generalizations, but I think they are appropriate when it comes to this topic. I'm right around the same age and I have been quite successful in IT. If I consider what separates me from some other "older" engineers, it is that I never stop learning. Some of my peers seem to live in the past and as we all know, the IT field moves quickly. Things that were bleeding edge 5-8 years ago are old hat today.

Since the beginning of my career the field has moved from physical to virtual to cloud, which really is just someone else's datacenter with an API on it. The only constant in the field is change. It is relentless and if you do not ride the wave you will end up irrelevant. Today the field is rapidly diverging into what other, more elegant, thinkers have aptly termed "white collar" vs "blue collar" IT. There is a great talk given by Jeffrey Snover of Powershell fame where he describes the difference between the two: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/ser ... collar-it/

The fact is that us older systems people are being given a choice: we can adapt and overcome or we can be left behind. The days of rack and stack hardware in the datacenter are behind us. Today's infrastructure is defined in code, fronted by REST APIs and accessed via Python, Powershell, Go, etc. The systems field is rapidly transitioning into development instead. Instead of procuring and installing servers and storage, we're creating automation frameworks and developing unit testing and continuous integration. Well, that is what I'm doing anyway. And I've had no problem finding work. My most recent foray into a job search yielded multiple competing offers in the same week. And I do not live in a major east/west coast metropolitan area (although I do hail originally from one).

If you have legacy systems knowledge and can learn how to program in an object-oriented language you will have companies fighting to hire you. Today's developers are being tasked with yesterday's systems knowledge, and you are uniquely positioned to bridge that gap. If you have more specific questions you are free to PM me. I am always happy to help another systems person out.
It doesn't help when your company doesn't stay on the cutting edge in attempts to save money. Our version of MS SQL is 10 years old.

CobraKai
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 10:17 am

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by CobraKai » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:25 pm

rich126 wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 9:50 am
Smart people who are good problem solvers tend to be able to pick up things and are well worth the money. I can move from Linux to Apple to Windows with little trouble. I no longer program daily but if I need to write up some test code or scripting it isn't hard to do it whether you are talking about old school stuff like Perl or something more current like Python.

Agreed! I wish more companies would value problem solvers and not be so focused on tools. Like you stated, it's not that difficult to move between OS's but many employers don't see it that way.

MtnTraveler
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:32 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by MtnTraveler » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:57 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:00 pm


EXACTLY

Not to brag but I'm usually either the most skilled/productive or one of them in the groups I have worked in. Can you rely on an ex co-worker who would be hesitant to bring into where they are working because you might outshine then? Case in point, several years back, we had a mass lay off. Some were let go and others (including myself) stayed. I'm not sure that someone who was let go while I was kept would be super thrilled to work with me again. It's probably best to network with management and marketing/HR types, even if one works in IT.
I don't think this is true at all or maybe a small minority. I'm in a very specialized area and it's common to work with people again regardless of what company they are with, etc. The only people who experience what you describe are the ones people don't want to work with again due to their personality, lack of productivity, etc. It doesn't matter how smart or talented you are if you have a personality that is hard to work with people who've worked with you in the past will tell their management that when you apply for a job at their company or their management asks what it is like to work with you.

You've said the "not to brag" thing before and I'd really caution you against that mindset. I've got people under me who are absolutely brilliant, never insinuate it and everyone wants to work with them. They really could apply and get any job they wanted. Then I've people who are equally as brilliant under me but either directly tell you how brilliant they are or insinuate it at every opportunity. No one wants to work with those people and they gripe and complain about the lack of promotions, etc while other people are getting the promotions they want. Their attitude is the number 1 reason they aren't getting promoted. Don't be one of those people.

rich126
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Career planning in IT/software development when over 40

Post by rich126 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:46 am

MtnTraveler wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:57 pm
CobraKai wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:00 pm


EXACTLY

Not to brag but I'm usually either the most skilled/productive or one of them in the groups I have worked in. Can you rely on an ex co-worker who would be hesitant to bring into where they are working because you might outshine then? Case in point, several years back, we had a mass lay off. Some were let go and others (including myself) stayed. I'm not sure that someone who was let go while I was kept would be super thrilled to work with me again. It's probably best to network with management and marketing/HR types, even if one works in IT.
I don't think this is true at all or maybe a small minority. I'm in a very specialized area and it's common to work with people again regardless of what company they are with, etc. The only people who experience what you describe are the ones people don't want to work with again due to their personality, lack of productivity, etc. It doesn't matter how smart or talented you are if you have a personality that is hard to work with people who've worked with you in the past will tell their management that when you apply for a job at their company or their management asks what it is like to work with you.

You've said the "not to brag" thing before and I'd really caution you against that mindset. I've got people under me who are absolutely brilliant, never insinuate it and everyone wants to work with them. They really could apply and get any job they wanted. Then I've people who are equally as brilliant under me but either directly tell you how brilliant they are or insinuate it at every opportunity. No one wants to work with those people and they gripe and complain about the lack of promotions, etc while other people are getting the promotions they want. Their attitude is the number 1 reason they aren't getting promoted. Don't be one of those people.
I've never been let go/laid off although a chunk of my career is in the government where that seldom happens (unfortunately). I saw it happen at one place and it was sad although most of the people let go were ones that were in the bottom 10%. I think the morale killer was not knowing when it might happen again so within a year I moved on (I didn't think upper management understood the real problems based on a Q&A session) and was glad to move on (although I still meet with management from there in a personal nature). I would have been safe but they started cutting benefits and stuff so I was glad to leave.

Regarding competition in the work force. That never was something I worried about. More recently I've noticed how some people try to sell themselves to management and it is sad to see. Some are BS artists and think they are the smartest person in the room w/o realizing others see what they are doing. Others can't get a lot done so they go the brown nosing route in hopes of getting promoted, and sadly it works at times.

I work closely with another technical guy (he is in a TD type role, younger than me but I don't view as competition because that role requires tons of meetings and presentations, I'd rather do the hands on stuff) and we do our best to convince management who the real workers are.

And anyone who has even been in a strong team knows:
1. The stronger the team, the better the team works because no one wants to be the weak link
2. Nothing kills a team/org faster than management rewarding the wrong people. Once that happens people get annoyed and move on and you start losing the foundation of the team and it is tough to rebuild.

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