This post “Resources for Older Developers?” on Hacker News got me thinking about if there are specific resources for older developers of a certain age. When I first read the post only two people had commented, so I started to think if there are resources for different age groups for different developers. After thinking for a while I couldn’t come up with a difference in learning for a developer who is 20 versus one who is 50. Learning new technology or frameworks have never been geared toward a certain age – experience yes, but not age.
Later in the comments, the author of the post makes it clear they are asking this question from the social aspect of things – finding people who have had the same experience they have had over the years, and the question isn’t about age at all. But the question did get me thinking about different resources for different ages, which I don’t think matters as much as the social part. As you get older in technology you learn more about the industry, people, processes and business in general. It’s nice to be able to meet with people who have your experience level in the industry, doesn’t matter how old or young they are, to talk to and bounce ideas off each other. As well as tell stories and just learn from each other. This is what the author of the post is getting at.
From a coding perspective, there shouldn’t be any resources limited to an age group. Technology changes fast and in my twenty years of development there’s never been an age limit for learning new things. Sure, you can argue that there are specific types of resources for young developers with less experience but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with age. There are lots of less experienced developers who are 40+. There is definitely ageism in tech, but there shouldn’t be ageism in the type of resources developers utilize to learn new things. I suppose being a developer for 20 years might give you a better vantage point on a new piece of technology than a person with only a few years experience has. You’ve seen trends and buzzwords so you as a 20 year veteran will be able to spot new technology that sticks or doesn’t easier than an entry level person.
I understand the social aspect of the question and the desire to connect with other developers/technologists who share similar experiences and perspectives. It’s feels nice to have a network of peers who can offer support, advice, and share knowledge of their journeys.
If I were talking to the author, I’d recommend to look for other people with different levels of experience in the software industry by paying attention to the comments on Hacker News and specific Reddit sub-reddits. Find the people who have your level of experience and start a conversation with them. Local Meetups are another great place to meet people. There are good Minneapolis Meetups that I attend with a very large variety of people with experience from still in school to 40 years as a developer/manager/business owner.
While there are not any real specific resources for older developers, developers are always learning and growing in the industry no matter how older they are. And connecting with others with similar experiences, perspectives and industry backgrounds can be pretty valuable and can lead more growth. Or even new jobs or friendships.