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When i get old, can i still be a programmer?

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i've heard several times about the voice of 'programming is only suit for those young ppl'. at first i didn't put much attention to such voice, but since i heard too many of them i doubt they are just gossip. i really like game development & i want to take a graphics progarmming career, and work in this industry for the whole life. so, could u tell me the truth about the relation between age & programming? Does age have negative effect to programming ability? or positive effect? thx! [edited by - Challenger17 on May 9, 2004 12:50:21 AM]

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actually it has a positive and a negative effect, for graphics like directx it probably will be simpler to older programmers since they know all the math that goes with 3d graphics unlike your average 13 year old programmer who ''tries to make an MMORPG'', since there were like alot of posts on that . anyways programming doesn''t matter which age you start at.

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Age has nothing to do with how much experience you have. Just prove to the company what you can do and you shouldn''t have a problem. I doubt they would hire an 18 year old over a 30 year old with more experience just because they''re 18. I could be wrong though?

-UltimaX-
|Designing A Screen Shot System|

"You wished for a white christmas... Now go shovel your wishes!"

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It can have negative effects if you get arthritis in an older age. It would be hard to type with it (though I suppose by that time, we''ll have decent enough voice applications )

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Guest Anonymous Poster
IMHO it really depends, it''s true that first of all you can get demotivated with programming games for many different reasons (not working on titles you like, life caught back on you like when you get a child your objectives can completely change, etc...).

Then it can get boring like, if you are not working on the ''creative'' part it can become painful to always code the same integration stuff, the same kind of scripts, etc, etc...

I don''t think however that intellectual capabilities can limit you (unless you''re over 90 maybe °: )...

I''ve thought about that a long time ago and when I began working in games I had a really bad experience that put me down for a good year. Still, I was pretty hardcore and I had thought my love for games could never get down but yes, it did, and badly.

If you do not code with experience (whatever the field) it is very likely than younger people will be faster, more motivated and cheaper at ''grunt'' work than you will be when getting old.

It''s very important to stay motivated on the projects you work on. And if the problem comes from the company/team itself and there''s nothing to be done about it, then move.

I believe that most people in the gaming industry do move a lot.

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The programmers that I work with are anywhere from their early 20s to the late 40s.

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quote:
Original post by Kafeen
The programmers that I work with are anywhere from their early 20s to the late 40s.


Same here. The youngest programmer with whom I''ve worked professionally was 19. The oldest have been in their mid to late 40s. Most were in their 20s or 30s, with the average being around 29 or so.

That''s been my experience in all kinds of programming, games or otherwise.

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quote:
Original post by Challenger17
i''ve heard several times about the voice of ''programming is only suit for those young ppl''.

Let me guess: The people who told you that were teenagers with no industry experience? Or older people who wanted an excuse for not trying?

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The big issue is that you have to keep your knowledge up to date. "young" programmers that have been educated in "modern" languages and techniques have an advantage over older programmers whose knowledge may be ... obsolete. Once you are actually employed, it becomes more difficult to keep track of and to actually study all the new developments in computer science: you have *work* to do. When I tried to get my dad to learn some bits of C++ he told me "I would love to, but I have these deadlines to keep up with, and WinDev (a VB-like RAD language) is good enough for me". I read somewhere that, as a rule of thumb, to remain competitive you had to learn at least one new "thing" (complete API, language,...) every year. If you don''t, you''ll be in trouble when Frob3000++ for GameDevOS is the "industry standard" and all you know is C++ on Win32 (or Python or Java or COBOL or C# or Fortran or Modula3 or ...)

Keeping your knowledge up-to-date is the challenge. I learned Python last year, I''m toying with SQL this year... What about you?


“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”
— Brian W. Kernighan

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The reason its a young man''s job is because when youre old, you get to manage people instead... Who the hell wants to program when they can order other ppl to program for them ?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
It''s bull. Most of the programmers where I work (an award-winning game company) are in their forties and fifties.

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I am 39 years old and have been programming for about a year, with the last six months focusing on game programming. I feel that maturity and not age, is more important in the area of programming than anything else.

I expect my first game, an arcade shooter similiar to Galaga, to be released within the next two months.

Thanks,
Don
Game On Interactive

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No, when you get old you will not be able to be a programmer. A small crystal on your hand will turn red and start blinking, signalling others to take you away from the computer.

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quote:
Original post by Maega
It can have negative effects if you get arthritis in an older age. It would be hard to type with it (though I suppose by that time, we''ll have decent enough voice applications )
By that time you should be an architect or a manager. If not, you should be fired.

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I think being a programmer isn''t the problem. The problem is to be up to date with technology.

many 40+ years old programmers I knew were programming cobol on old IBM mainframes, and hardly knew something else beyond that.

I think it is well known that it''s harder for old people to introduce new knowledge than for younger ones. And this applies to any discipline.

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It''s obviously easier for "young" people to program, since we grew up doing it (there isn''t anyone in their 80''s who has been programming since the age of 10, I suppose), but as long as you keep up to date, and don''t get alzheimers or something you should be fine.

Some of the finest game programmers out there are in their 40''s or older. How old is Carmack?

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When it comes to suitablility, what the debate reduces to is how much experience the programmer has had. I would say the perception is that today''s youth has grown up with computers and technology, whereas a large fraction of the older generation (say 40 and onwards) may have migrated from other professions. It also depends on the profession.

The beauty of University is that while striving to develop CS skills, leadership and teamplay skills are also instilled, and in the chosen field.







blah blah blah.

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quote:
Original post by Etnu
It''s obviously easier for "young" people to program, since we grew up doing it...
Depends. Many of today''s young programmers are confused by industry buzz. Rather than asking "how do I program?" and acquiring basic skills, they''re asking "how do I make Quake?" or "how do I use C++?" This state of affairs has caused a lot of problems, both in academia (how many CS grads are lampooned every year for their lack of tangible skills?) and in the hobby space (please visit the For Beginners forum for a refresher).

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quote:
Original post by psamty10
The reason its a young man's job is because when youre old, you get to manage people instead... Who the hell wants to program when they can order other ppl to program for them ?


for some ppl, that's true. but u know, it's impossible that every programmer get to manage others when getting old. this industry doesn't have enough room for too many leaders.

[edited by - Challenger17 on May 9, 2004 12:26:43 AM]

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There is always room for more leaders. Im thinking I want to be the Stalin type when im 40-50.

EDIT: In all seriousness though, the only benifit of being younger is the phychological fact that the younger you are, the more apt you are to learning new languages. Which I assume would include computer languages in a sense.

[edited by - paulcesar on May 9, 2004 12:42:00 AM]

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let me tell u what i think to this question. IMHO, i think the fact that programmers around us mostly aging from 20s to 40s is just a special case. it doesn''t means that would happen on the next generation programmers. developers r young today because IT is young today. to some extent i admire old programmers. coz in their student age, CS is a super hi-technology that normal ppl seldom have any chance to contact. programmers r so few back then. that leads to the lack of ''old'' programmers today. so, what would be programmers like in the next 20 or 30 years? ----''old'' programmers will be more and more, IT will be treat as a normal industry like others, not only belongs to youngsters.

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Management is fine and dandy for you manager types, but what about those of us who don''t want to be pulled away from programming?

I''ve been working as a professional game industry programmer for about a year and a half now at a small company. Already, I''ve been promoted to manager, and I''m now responsible for a team of 4 programmers and 4 artists. I specifically told my boss that I will manage the team if he wants me to, but my real love is programming; I don''t want to be taken away from it.

Thus, while I am the team manager (and I have to deal with all the lovely corporate politics, administration, and paper work), I still spend a lot of my time programming. I manage because my boss thinks I''m the man to do it, but don''t you dare take me away from the creation process.

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Well, I am 42 now and doing AI work for Starbreeze and like it as ever before. The disadvantage of being older is perhaps that you have a life (girlfriend and my two kids) but the advantage is experience.

You know beforehand that a certain design is bad and where the tricky parts will pop up. You are generally much better at working than the young programmers (yes, they sit 16 hours in a row but they watch an awful amount of Manga).

On should do what is fun and not think too much about the future. If you would decide against being a programmer because of its old age problems - what line of work isn''t like that?


/ Bucko aka Backman

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