why employers prefers younger workers, a revisit

My neighbour Julius (of Indonesia) said

* younger employees mean lower cost
* more energy
* can map out a 10Y career plan for him

Below are my own observations and reading.

The younger guys often have more spare time available. Granted, many choose to spend it outside work, but a small percentage (30%?) of the ambitious, dedicated or hard-working individuals would *regularly* and voluntarily spend some of that at work.

For managerial roles, I feel a 30-something can be very effective. The relative short experience may not mean a lot.

For technical roles, the long experience of a 40-something is even less valuable. My own experience is most convincing. At 25 I was more formidable than many of my older colleagues. I was sharp,
fast-learning, self-driven, knowledgeable, possibly more experienced than them in a given technology.


I would say choose one among

gzCope, gzPain, gzThreat, GTD

In rare cases, use simultaneous categories.

Also, the relevant posts in the pripri/open blogs, I feel better move to this blog and mark them private. Easier to manage in one place.

GTD is more specific than Cope. In a sense, all GTD posts are also part of Cope but actually Cope is more about job market, moving up, choosing specializations.

oldest programmer in a team, briefly

I’m unafraid of being the oldest programmer in a team, for example in China or Singapore, as long as I’m competent. If my foundation is strong and I know the local system well, then I will be up to the challenge. It takes an amount of effort to gain the local system knowledge though. Consider GS, Citi, OC, Stirt and CFM.

More than half the times, contractors aren’t required to  gain that much local system knowledge.

Actually, Can be fun and stimulating to work with young programmers. Keeps me young. My experience might add unique value, if it’s relevant.

I can think of many Wall St consultants in this category.

Wall St productivity + risk@losing job

label: threat,
Productivity issue is usually in the first 6 months. (i feel OC was not too hard. I was learning fast, though not superfast.) Some say “2 months”? I tend to feel that I form an opinion of a tech colleague within a month, but it's not always fair. If someone is fast learning, he may lose interest quickly.
I guess boss assesses how much value you add to his promotion prospect. Staff is seldom let go primarily due to productivity. Exceptions:

1) contractors — even if you are good
2) head count pressure — someone must go
Even thought it's probably not life or death, it's not good to be considered unproductive. Poor image, poor rapport, low self-esteem, ..

Here's a positive story — in GS I took more than a year to come up to speed.

##some of the worst technology churns#le2tanko


Here’s my expanded list of “worst” tech domains in terms of technology churn. Nothing but personal bias. For every IT professional, it’s his or her personal responsibility to identify these domains, and perhaps avoid investing (too much) into them.

Windowing GUI technologies – X-windows, PowerBuilder, Delphi, Borland c++, …
Web client GUI development — including Angular, Google Web Toolkit…
Windows administration – there seem to be many new utilities added every 5 years, replacing the old
scripting? My favorite — Perl — is now falling out of favor. Powershell seems to challenge vbscript.
ORM — too many new products. Hope to see a clear winner
Javascript libraries like node.js, angular, jquery, GWT
messaging — too many new products, spurred by web2.0

anything to do with big data —
* In-memory DB — too many new products

* Map reduce — I hope hadoop remains the standard

Web app development in general —
* java web development including struts
* Microsoft web development
* PHP? I hope this is a bit more stable, but there are definitely new packages gaining popularity

–churn-resistant domains
Oracle DBA
C++ key libraries — STL, boost
Unix admin (relative to Windows admin)
core java ie. at the core layer
SQL complex queries

What else do you think can be added?

technology churn – c#/c++/java #letter2many

(Sharing my thoughts again)

I have invested in building up c/c++, java and c# skills over the last 15 years. On a scale of 1 to 100%, what are the stability/shell-life or “churn-resistance” of each tech skill? By “churn”, i mean value-retention i.e. how much market value would my current skill retain over 10 years on the job market? By default current skill loses value over time. My perl skill is heavily devalued (by the merciless force of job market) because perl was far more needed 10 years ago. I also specialized in DomainNameSystem, and in Apache server administration. Though they are still used everywhere (80% of web sites?) behind the scene, there’s no job to get based on these skills — these system simply works without any skillful management. I specialized in mysql DBA too, but except some web shops mysql is not used in big companies where I find decent salary to support my kids and the mortgage.

In a nutshell, Perl and these other technologies didn’t suffer “churn”, but they suffered loss of “appetite” i.e. loss of demand.

Back to the “technology churn” question. C# suffers technology churn. The C# skills we accumulate tend to lose value when new features are added to replaced the old. I would say dotnet remoting, winforms and linq-to-sql are some of the once-hot technologies that have since fell out of favor. Overall, I give c# a low score of 50%.

On the other extreme I give C a score of 100%. I don’t know any “new” skill demanded by C programmer employers. I feel the language and the libraries have endured the test of time for 20 to 30 years. Your investment in C language lasts forever. Incidentally, SQL is another low-churn language, but let’s focus on c#/c++/java.

I give C++ a score of 90%. Multiple-inheritance is the only Churn feature I can identify. Template is arguably another Churn feature — extremely powerful and complex but not needed by employers. STL was the last major skill that we must acquire to get jobs. After that, we have smart pointers but they seem to be adopted by many not all employers. All other Boost of ACE libraries enjoyed much lower industry adoption rate. Many job specs ask for Boost expertise, but beyond shared_ptr, I don’t see another Boost library consistently featured in job interviews. In the core language, until c++11 no new syntax was added. Contrast c#.

I give java a score of 70%. I still rely on my old core java skills for job interviews — OO design (+patterns), threading, collections, generics, JDBC. There’s a lot of new development beyond the core language layer, but so far I didn’t have to learn a lot of spring/hibernate/testing tools to get decent java jobs. There is a lot of new stuff in the web-app space. As a web app language, Java competes with fast-moving (churning) technologies like ASP.net, ROR, PHP …, all of which churn out new stuff every year, replacing the old.

For me, one recent focus (among many) is C#. Most interesting jobs I see demand WPF. This is high-churn — WPF replaced winforms which replaced COM/ActiveX (which replaced MFC?)… I hope to focus on the core subset of WPF technologies, hopefully low-churn. Now what is the core subset? In a typical GUI tool kit, a lot of look-and-feel and usability “features” are superstructures while a small subset of the toolkit forms the core infrastructure. I feel the items below are in the core subset. This list sounds like a lot, but is actually a tiny subset of the WPF technology stack.
– MVVM (separation of concern),
– data binding,
– threading
– asynchronous event handling,
– dependency property
– property change notification,
– routed events, command infrastructure
– code-behind, xaml compilation,
– runtime data flow – analysis, debugging etc

An illuminating comparison to WPF is java swing. Low-churn, very stable. It looks dated, but it gets the job done. Most usability features are supported (though WPF offers undoubtedly nicer look and feel), making swing a Capable contender for virtually all GUI projects I have seen. When I go for swing interviews, I feel the core skills in demand remain unchanged. Due to the low-churn, your swing skills don’t lose value, but swing does lose demand. Nevertheless I see a healthy, sustained level of demand for swing developers, perhaps accounting for 15% to 30% of the GUI jobs in finance. Outside finance, wpf or swing are seldom used IMO.