50 possible still

New / Eng
ncc-1701

New Eng

PRE
Yahoo, Google
ncc-1701more
Dec 4, 2017 41 Comments

I have held many roles and positions (from startup CEO , but mostly a software engineer at some known startups and known big companies)
Lived in SV 12 years while at Sun and Yahoo and few startups.

Would anyone hire a 51 year old to just be a senior engineer anymore? I just like to Code, sans bull, don’t want to be a VP (been there).

Just like Tuttle in the movie Brazil.

I had a bad experience at Slack. Passed coding assignment (did 2 across different roles I had background in) , 3 phone screens, but after the on-site got a “no real specific reason other then the fit”....there wasn’t a ton of depth on the other side of the table. Lots of “empathy” questions which I guess is something a 25 year old really is concerned with now? :) everyone asked about it. But no one wanted to hear the ugly stories you see after 20 years in software.

Same at Apple. Had an on-site after 3 calls and one coding pass . Was honestly super grilled by the team for a pretty lame front end type role. Manager gave me positive indication at end of day , then met Director. Didn’t really stumble on any particular question.

Then the email “wasn’t a good fit”

I hate to whine and blame diversity but can’t see a single reason other then average age was 30 in both of these teams.

My friend at Apple said it’s better to find a more “mature” team....a friend at Slack said “if you are white and over 40 they have diversity quotas so you will rarely get in”

So I guess now I’m wondering how much BS there is, if it’s even worth the effort if I can pass all the coderpad stuff but once I get on-site it’s a “who is this old guy and why does he still just want to Code”

Just like a stable company and cool people. Not chasing any easy money.

Where to turn? (Btw both of the above even though I had contacts I wanted to see how my resume stacked up and they were online non referrals and got the responses)

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TOP 41 Comments
  • Microsoft Xsjd65
    I would love to hire more expericed enginners. We hired a guy on my team who was probably around 70. The guy was awesome. Yes 70. He did the job and solved most complex problems. He retired recently but we begged him to stay.
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Google anutr 🏅
    Try Google. Plenty of ex-CTOs being perennial (but well paid) L5s.
    Dec 4, 2017 2
    • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
      That's reassuring
      Dec 5, 2017
    • MongoDB
      e2

      MongoDB

      PRE
      Startup Shell
      e2more
      I also know one such case
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Salesforce xOvK88
    I'd love to hire you
    Dec 4, 2017 0
  • Etsy / Design
    eycJ86

    Etsy Design

    PRE
    SoundCloud, NASDAQ
    BIO
    💯💯💯
    eycJ86more
    I'm curious regarding the kinds of questions you were asked about empathy and the answers you gave. I know some older male programmers that were challenging to work with because they were quite condescending and felt like they knew it all. I'd ask non-white, non-male friends for opinions as it's easy to end up in situations where people are enabling behavior that doesn't fly anymore.

    Additionally, it sounds like you shared some serious baggage about tech culture from the past 20+ years in the Slack interview. I wonder if they were concerned that some of the experiences you had might affect the way you worked with others. I've learned not to talk too much about the terrible environments I've worked in unless it's to provide constructive criticism about tech culture.
    Dec 5, 2017 4
    • New / Eng
      ncc-1701

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, Google
      ncc-1701more
      OP
      Yeah so first off, I’m super chill, surfer and all that. The experience I brought up dealt with a difficult junior programmer who would throw tantrums , but was amazing Coder. No one wanted to work with him and the CEO wanted to fire him but couldn’t because he had too much keys to working system. So I offered to work with him and try help. I ended up not having issues but they fired him anyway. That was it.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Etsy / Design
      eycJ86

      Etsy Design

      PRE
      SoundCloud, NASDAQ
      BIO
      💯💯💯
      eycJ86more
      That's super weird then, I'm sorry 😢
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Google tcCd20
      It's sad what's happening with ageism in tech. I'm in my thirties and wonder if I need to switch to management for the reasons above.
      Based on your comment above you didn't say anything that should be a red flag. On the other hand you also didn't portray an exemplary story that impresses an interviewer. For example how did the actions you took benefit the organisation? Ex if you end up mentoring the junior engineer and as a result they matured and became a great asset for the organisation. In this case I think a better story should have been picked. This is an opportunity to show case your best work/impact. Stating that junior engineer was fired anyway doesn't add value to what you said. In some cases it might be negative as well if you were interviewing for a technical lead position where you need to coach and mentor.
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Google tcCd20
      In fact stating that the engineer was fired anyway might have come across as cynical or bitter. I wouldn't have taken it that way based on the way the comment was written but I wasn't in the room and have no idea how the interviewer interpreted the answer.
      Dec 6, 2017
  • New / Eng
    fzjsbsbdk

    New Eng

    PRE
    TIAA, Leidos holdings, Accenture, Sprinklr
    fzjsbsbdkmore
    I'm 39 with 20 years in thos industry and have been dealing with exactly the same thing for the past few years. I chalk it up to ageism above all else at this point.

    "Not a good fit", "you dont have X years with a specific framework", "overqualified", etc I've heard it all.
    Dec 4, 2017 0
  • Netflix
    icurnvs

    Netflix

    PRE
    Amazon, Microsoft
    icurnvsmore
    Google, Amazon, and Netflix would all consider you.
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • New / Eng
      ncc-1701

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, Google
      ncc-1701more
      OP
      Oh Netflix rejected me, same story. The younger java guy on the loop dinged me on something trivial and wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t up on the latest java something or other (use python at work) Manager was going to override which I think he said they can at Netflix. I said don’t bother not worth it to come in that way. Worked out because the manager was the only guy I liked, super chill and informative and then he got fired apparently for not “really caring” about his product.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng
    Koinonos

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    Boeing
    Koinonosmore
    Consider seeing yourself as a 'product', and critically examine your packaging.

    People are inspired and will hire people they want to be like or admire. I got this advice a few years ago and ran with it.

    As a 48 year old I now dye my hair, work out, do yoga, lost 50 pounds, was able to get rid of the medications I was on (Forks over Knives) and I am now in good shape and can pass for someone 10 years younger.

    It made a significant difference during my interviews as people 'saw' success and were very interested in my life story and were curious about an upbeat individual who worked hard, worked well with others, and met and exceeded the technical requirements for the role, and *looked* healthy enough not to be a liability to their company and could handle 'crunch time'.

    If you have heard people discuss older athletes in your favorite sports (NFL, NBA, etc.) then you know where I am going.

    You sound intelligent and highly skilled, could this be a perception or 'packaging' issue due to you looking less then healthy or well groomed?
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Cisco genesiz
    My best mentor was 55 when I joined. The kind of stuff he wrote at sun worked for DECADES with minimal issues.

    Kind of sucks that kids these days don't have any good software mentors. Maybe that's why they write such crap.
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Cisco amigos
      Bingo!! Right in the face
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Cisco amigos
    IMHO only solution is to persist and keep interviewing..
    Dec 4, 2017 1
    • Cisco amigos
      Good thing is your getting onsites..just a matter of time before you get an offer
      Dec 4, 2017
  • Uber STarly
    Try tech roles in non-tech companies. Your age might work in your favor there. Also, consulting companies.
    Dec 4, 2017 0
  • Microsoft Xsjd65
    Diversity is a great thing. You need all levels of experice.
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • New / Eng
      ncc-1701

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, Google
      ncc-1701more
      OP
      Yeah so when I started at Sun, my mentors were guys in their 40s, with names like James, Bill and Eric :) no boundaries back then
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Google anutr 🏅
      No boundaries back then? What boundaries are there now?
      Dec 9, 2017
  • New / Eng
    fzjsbsbdk

    New Eng

    PRE
    TIAA, Leidos holdings, Accenture, Sprinklr
    fzjsbsbdkmore
    Let me suggest that you resist, and fight against this new trend in "coding assessments".

    What they demonstrate is a company, or individuals LACK of ability to assess or otherwise scruitineer talent or ability.
    Dec 4, 2017 2
    • Ditto. As a data scientist I have ‘interviewed’ at amazon, Airbnb, Uber... spent easily a week giving them each free work, none of them made an offer. No more! I walk if they ask me to take a test.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / Eng
      ncc-1701

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, Google
      ncc-1701more
      OP
      But I’ve passed them all, but agree if they aren’t used they are a waste and I can only be entertained by so many Leet Code questions before questioning my own existence :)
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Deloitte PVaQ48
    Dye your hair and lose 30 pound and you ill be good. Also, don't talk about anything old than 8 years ago.
    Jan 28, 2018 0
  • Square / Eng SQ
    We have Randy wiggington. So yes.
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • eBay Lljh6537
    It’s disappointing to read this but somehow I see myself in your position in 10-15 years. I just love to code, and want to do that for my whole career. Just curious, what’s the highest level of engineering position that you have reached in a big/medium sized company?
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Nintendo / IT . 🐈.
      Ditto, have you considered the salt and pepper developer title? Going for a "technical architect" route?
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Deloitte PVaQ48
    Why not so your own thing?
    Jan 28, 2018 0
  • PayPal RosePetals
    With someone at ur experience I ideally would like you to be mentor/coach, try a firm that is less too tech, sure like Paypal, Verizon, etc
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • MongoDB
    e2

    MongoDB

    PRE
    Startup Shell
    e2more
    I am 35 and I have started making my mind to move to SDM. I been hearing similar stories every now and then
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • Uber STarly
      What's SDM?
      Dec 5, 2017
    • MongoDB
      e2

      MongoDB

      PRE
      Startup Shell
      e2more
      Management role
      Dec 6, 2017
  • Google tentenths
    😔 what questions re: empathy?
    Dec 4, 2017 1
    • New / Eng
      ncc-1701

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, Google
      ncc-1701more
      OP
      Define it and give an example on how you have experienced and or dealt with it
      Dec 5, 2017
  • New / Design Isaiah
    Start your own business
    Feb 12, 2018 0

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