I'm 54 y.o.

I think I'm completely outdated in my skill, as in the last 14 years, I worked on a specific business problem, with an old technology: a JSP application + javascript + postgres.

I do understand software development, agile, web application development, linux server, basic/moderate AWS skills, etc.

Now they laid me off instead of including me in the evolution of version 2 of the software. Maybe covid, company had almost no cash-flow. Well they have now...So basically they fired me to find money to rewrite the application.

I feel without hope at my age.
I'm a generalist.
I can understand fairly well everything you'll throw at me, reactnative, angular, nosql, python, but I have little first-hand experience.

I don't have a lot of management skills, even if I've given frequent presentations to C-roles and board, and I implemented a whole agile methodology in my team.

I don't know what to do.
The amount of technology to study is huge nowadays. When I was younger I could get away with some php and java.

Full-stack developer is a big word for me. Maybe I could handle a full stack web application, but not from scratch.

I feel at my age, I'll compete with 20-something guys with better skills and lower salary requests.
I don't think I can pull a night anymore.

I'm trying to shoot high to management positions with no much success.
I'd like to go on developing, I know that there are 50-something developer out there, but who managed to find a new position at 55? at 60?

As soon as I finish the few money I spared, I'll be on the street, I'l be the "website for food" guy.

  • 22
    Good intro, welcome fellow olds.

    I started my own firm and have been dog paddling ever since. It's stable enough. There's also consulting.
  • 9
    Welcome to devRant.
    As a young guy, I cannot even fathom how it must be seeing the world progress further and further around you and not being able or given the ability to keep up.
    That must fucking suck as all hell.
  • 8
    @SortOfTested I guess that for consulting you need a good network. I don't know virtually anybody. I was sucked into a project for 14 years, with little possibility for networking. The few people I could contact are still to close to "my" project. I have no clue on how and where to start a consulting business.
    Don't feel that door-to-door selling, spamming and a personal website will help much.

    If with: "your own firm" you mean "freelance", that's what I'll try to do.
    But still. Promoting myself, learning tech and maintaining customer doesn't seems easy to me.

    Starting a firm, well...I can register a domain...don't know where to go from there...
  • 8
    Doesn't matter how much first hand experience you have, technology evolves and expands at an insane speed. Everyone is in the same boat.

    Don't get stuck with the age thing. No one cares about it anyways. The "can you do the job well and fast enough without going insane?" is the main requirement, I'd think.

    Also, there's a post-covid world too. Things will eventually get to a state of norm.
  • 8
    Nope, started a company, hire 3 other people, wrote a product and shipped it to energy companies. Then hired more people.

    Skills building, pick up the impostor's handbook for a brushup and start reading the Harvard business review. It'll get you current enough to venture out.

    Also see a therapist to work through the depression inherent in all of it.
  • 5
    @molaram I was told I should stick to development, because I would jinx customers and sales. Actually, I did managed to solve all coding, scalability and technological problems they threw at me.
    Sales for a die-hard developer...hmmmm.

    They didn't sell basically because one account manager wanted to have only his network of sales in the company. He didn't want to scale, probably fearing what would happen to me.

    On the contrary, I made the huge mistake of hiring young people, better than me, because I wanted to modernise the application.

    When sales were not high enough, I was the obvious victim.
  • 4
    @ununquadium ask the same young people you hired for referral. 😛 They'd be your best network.
    Get on LinkedIn, add them, and ask them if they know anyone hiring.
  • 3
    @SortOfTested you risked your own money? the idea of having to pay 3 people for at least 6 months and next trying to commercialise it...well...maybe you had a kind of channel in to the market, I don't.

    I'm also afraid I don't have money for a shrink.
    Depression it's not exactly my feeling right now, it's rather the feeling of being without focus.
    I'll get maybe some certifications in few months. for what?
    Like: Senior Developer. SpringBoot Certified, 0 year of experience
  • 2
    Jsp is not that outdated. Learn spring and spring boot, make up the cv just a bit and you Will sooner or later find a job. Theres tons of legacy code out there. I am myself doing weblogic stuff from time to time!
  • 5
    @molaram thanks for support.
    The feeling is that I have no time. If I don't find a job in 3-5 years, I'll be 60 and looking for a job, on the verge of retirement. Without pension money.

    It seems sooo easy to me to end up in the street.
    I don't have brother nor sister, nor kids. Nor inheritance from my parents.
  • 4
    @ununquadium If you can't get a job in dev, try going for testing / QA. Your knowledge will help you there because you've seen a lot.
  • 0
    @molaram Sure. But it pays better than having no job, and you can always look for something better.
  • 2
    I feel like if I don't plan now I will be in a similar situation in 10 years. I am a fucking good developer, but there is a ton of shit I just don't know. I feel like I need to create a product on my own as a stop gap to guard against job issues. I am leaning hard toward writing a video game as I love playing them and always see things I want to change in the games I am playing. Everything in the development industry can change so easily as tech progresses.

    @SortOfTested what kind of things did you do to decide on your market? Were you leveraging experience from a previous job? I have worked in the nuclear waste industry so I would have to think hard on a product for that industry. I am not really into that industry though. No interest. High interest in games. I was planning on making a knockoff of a game I like to play. I understand second to market that fixes QOL/issues with original can do well.
  • 1
    @molaram probably yes, but in a more planned way. Basically I just followed the money rather than a career plan, and it paid "well" but not enough well.

    The worst about the job is basically when business and tech don't go together: in the end you try to solve business problem with technology and to explain technology to non-technical people.

    But business people don't think that you can give a valuable input beyond tech. So you will just be a minus in balance sheet.

    Probably you must be very lucky to find the right place with the right people. But that's very general probably, it doesn't just apply to our field.
  • 0
    @molaram I thought about looking at QA myself, didn't know it payed less. I actually thought it was a very important part of software development.

    Well, maybe it's the part that's dropped first...
  • 4
    This rant is a good food for thought
  • 7
    > I'm 54 y.o.

    I'm not that far behind you (I'll be 50 in a couple of months).

    You can absolutely 'compete' with the 20-somethings out there. Be hungry, be humble, and be willing to work. That is, don't just be looking for a job.

    If you can communicate your willingness to learn, lead, and mentor, *any* company will want you.

    We interview a fair share of 20-somethings, which the vast majority are only looking for a stepping stone in their career (and that's OK at 20-something).

    You have something they don't, perspective. You may not know Angular/Vue/React, but you have the perspective of being able plan for the long term and solve business problems with whatever tools are available.

    John Maxwell's books are an excellence source of information that can take you to your next level. A few off the top of my head:

    - Essential Qualities of a Team Player

    - Laws of Teamwork
  • 1
    @Demolishun I'd totally play a game about nuclear waste. Inside info can really help in things like that.
  • 1
  • 3
    It's just as bad if you do keep up.

    I'm right up to speed, full stack, everything.

    I got laid off due to Covid in April. To begin with everything was going well, quite a few contracts out there, recruiters really keen, thought I had "fantastic" skills.

    It is illegal to ask someone's age here in Australia, but they have started including DoB on their "Identity" forms that you have to fill in before they put you forward. The moment I fill one in, that's it, I get dropped, won't even return my calls.

    I was lucky because a) I get a weekly "Job Keeper" handout from the government, and b) I found a charity that desperately needed some help building an app, but could only afford half my usual rate, and between them they pay the bills.
  • 3
    @RobAtPaxMondeo Yeah, I completely abhor the protected group status, but age shit is bullshit. If I even catch wind that I am being discriminated against, and I can prove it, I am going to stir the pot.

    Since it is illegal to ask age then putting in the wrong date might be protected. You could make the argument they are using it to discriminate if they try and make a stink.
  • 1
    @Demolishun Yes, I was getting to the point of putting a fake date when this other gig came along.
  • 3
    @molaram Then there is the "Why would I want to work for someone who breaks the law?" side of this. It is illegal where I live to discriminate against people who are over 40. If they break the law during the hiring process, then what other shit are they doing?
  • 6
    @Demolishun I was working for Mastercard (there, I named them) a couple of years ago. I had shaved my hair and beard off so no white was showing.

    The scrum team loved me, they said I was the first architect they had who was prepared to get hands-on in the code with them. All great.

    And then I relaxed, and let slip in front of the software development manager that it was my birthday. When he said, "Oh, how old are you?" I felt comfortable enough to say "63".

    He just looked at me and said "If I had realised how old you were at the interview I would never have hired you".

    A week later I was moved to a different team that were just working through the backlog of bugs in the legacy code...
  • 1
    @M1sf3t Actually, my "cunning plan" is to downsize everything, get my cost of living down to the minimum, and do just that.
  • 1
    That’s kinda messed up
  • 2
    @M1sf3t Yeah, I have been half way there most of my working life.

    Have tried three start-ups over the years, with varying degrees of unsuccess. Usually because I tried to grow too quickly and hired the wrong people, or maybe I am the wrong person to try managing people, more to the point.

    The rest of the time I have been contracting anyway. Could never take a permanent position anywhere.

    This time, I'm just going to keep it small and low key, just me doing what interests me.
  • 2
    You want challenging and relevant work based on your skills. Consult or find a MSP that's looking for a presales solutions architect.

    You still get to dabble in dev, you work with multiple customers and try to help get them to a better platform, and you don't actually have to sell them anything other then the products and services your employer supports.

    Best of luck, and welcome to the group!
  • 2
    @ununquadium what country do you live in? We have a JSP application and could use more developers.
  • 0
    @PaperTrail thanks for the books and the support.
  • 1
    @kaae I'm EU based if that can help...
  • 1
    @shakur yes, I know, but that's marketing. That's what junior developers do to reach quickly a senior level. I was hiring people myself. My reality is that I'm a great troubleshooter. That's it.

    I'll write that on my resume: Chief Troubleshooter Officer
  • 1
    @shakur I'm born with C. I've learned to program with Kernigan&Ritchie and later with Stroustroup. When reading books still made sense.

    So here is the lack of focus. I could spend the next month updating on C++/C. Or on mobile dev. Or on AWS devops. In any case I'll have a very limited experience, I had to fake my resume, until I'll make it. No idea which path will be better.

    I'll rather toss a coin. Maybe at a casino.
  • 2
    Your decades of experience are worth a lot, even as a generalist. No doubt companies will value that.
  • 1
    I don't think the age really matters, you can still work on yourself nothing much has evolved in the past 14 years in software development ...

    The only difference might be syntax in today's languages and devOps ..

    Apart from that i don't think anything much has changed, with the knowledge you have learning a modern language won't take time at all ..

    Don't give up keep going, the demand for software developers will continue to increase due to the impact of software in our society today ...

    Maybe it is not your fault, the company you work for might not see the value in you at the moment that's all ..
  • 2
    @shakur Phenotypic plasticity?
  • 0
    @shakur yes, they value it a lot. They value how much they should pay me...
    I wouldn't mind to be paid like a junior, but other senior colleagues in the company will not like it. From an HR point of view is a no-no
  • 0
    @Demolishun morphological changes will not help I'm afraid (a wig? or 20y.o. clothes? cosmetic surgery?). As for beavhioral changes, I wouldn't mind learning new things, I'm good at learning, but there is no substitute for experience, and that takes time
  • 3
    @ununquadium might sound harsh.

    Stop being afraid.

    And yes, I know that discrimination of age is pretty common.

    If you need a job fast, start looking country wide.

    If you don't want to move, there is remote work.

    Yes. It's gonna be painful. No doubt.

    But it's not gonna help you to doubt yourself and your existence. :(
  • 2
    @IntrusionCM don't mind harsh, I grew skin.
    It's true that doubt myself it won't help to find job.
    But, at least for me, it helps to express my frustration and receive whatever kind of reactions, positive or not.
    It's also relieving to find people in similar situations or at least people that understand the situation...

    Maybe it's a kind of addiction, but I get relieved.
  • 2
    @ununquadium I think the point is that organisms can adapt regardless of genes. You will have to learn to adapt to your new situation.
  • 1
    @molaram this man knows sales.
  • 0

    TL;DR: now is the time to do the things you always wanted to do and get your own business running. Hire those young ones that have the skills (you might lack/inexperienced at) but not the experience. That is what you can give them and your eventual customers.

    Like @SortOfTested and many others said, just get your own stuff started. It seems that youbhave been working long on a specific field in a specific business domain. You probably know by now all the f**ked up s**t was/is still going down there.
    So now you have all the time in the rest of your life span to do the thing you really want.

  • 0
    If it's still in IT, then i'd suggest you find your own thing/niche that tackles a huge systemic problem in general domains. E.g.: i've had it as an employee to be angry all the time that infra is completely messed up, so once i got layed off i said to myself 'fuck it, i'll be the guy that will be the standard, the solic foundation of compliance', so i read up and studied stuff like ISO, PCI, HIPAA, and all the other standards out there and advertise within my network as such. Compliancy & standards aq code, fully integrated in CI/CD.

    Your answer is probably something else...it can very well ve you wanna do something completely differznt ,like e.g. paintings restauration or writer, Whatever makes you happy. Because you are the only one that can help yourself in becoming happy.
  • 0
    I’d be happy to be a sound board. You can find me.
  • 1
    Please shoot me your resume or something! Especially if you are a US citizen with out major crimes. The DoD and its contractors are in a massive shortage of experienced devs. Tons have retired due to COVID.
  • 2
    I am a younger generation. And everything i can do, salute you with a hat off. You are a hero!
  • 0
    You can survive with surprisingly little as a developer. Food, clothing, shelter, and computer. Keep that in mind.

    Also not everyone is an entrepreneur so don’t get sucked into that money pit if you know your talents aren’t there.
  • 2
    @M1sf3t Self-management is a skill and some people are crazy weak in those areas.

    There was a developer that was amazing at creative solutions and a specialist in embedded systems. He didn’t have an entrepreneur/manager bone in his body. He never asked for a raise in 12 years and was eating a slice of ham on a bun every meal. It would take a team of six to replace him so I talked to him about upgrading his health and standard of living. He wasn’t motivated to but totally open to change. I convinced management to give him a raise equal to the cost of hiring staff. Financial planner manages investments, stylist gets him new clothes, cleaner does laundry and housework for him, and his friend who works as a cook in a restaurant is hired to arrange nutritious meals three times a week. By the end of one year he is so much healthier, has a better attitude, and is more productive. He bought a condo overlooking a park where he walks. Even goes on dates!
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