A few days ago I asked you to contact me with your questions about beginning your programming career.
Some of you (30+ and 40+) replied saying that you would like to know if your age will stop prevent you from getting hired by employers.
So, here are my career success tips for beginning a programming career when you feel that age is against you!
The golden rule for career success in computer programming
Take a pen and write this down. In the computer programming industry, employers and hiring managers will judge you by “how you perform on the job”. And not by your skin color, your sex and certainly not by your age.
The computer programming career path is unlike others
You may have read that in certain industries, some employers would not hire 40 – 50 year old job candidates.
Well, there is such a demand for good computer programmers, that age is not really an issue in the software development / information technology industry.
.At one of my consulting gigs in 2004, I worked with a gentleman, who was at least 50 years old. He had distinct grey hair and some of my colleagues referred to him as “the old man”.
However, within 3 months of his employment, he was promoted to a team lead position because of his competency, skills and knowledge.
The lesson here is that regardless of your age, if you can do a good job, you will succeed in your programming career.
There is a strong demand for highly skilled programmers
The demand for skilled computer programmers far outstrips the supply of available talent.
So, you really shouldn’t be worrying about your age, but about how sharp your skills are and about how to stay on top of your game.
Go to job boards like Dice.com, Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and note the high number of available jobs. with that in mind, repeat and affirm this statement to yourself.
“There is an abundant supply of programming jobs and one of these jobs is just for me”.
Contract programmers can get hired just from a phone interview
. If you are a contract programmer with good programming skills, all you have to do is to send your resume to a few select places and sit back and wait for your phone to buzz because of the high-demand for programming talent.
So, you don’t even have to interview with an employer until he or she reviews your resume. This is true for other professionals in high-demand Information Technology Careers.
Personally, I have been offered a number of consulting assignments over the phone without the employer seeing me in person or taking the time to find out about my age!
Again, the lesson here is to become very good at your programming career.
If you are that good, some employers will want to hire you even over the phone, because they know that you are only going to be on the market for a short time before someone else makes an even better offer.
Think about your age in constructive not destructive terms
There are always reasons why someone may want to discriminate against you.
It could be that your age, your skin color, your lack of college education, lack of computer science degree, sex (as in you are a female), your accent (regional or national US accent) etc. places you at a disadvantage compared to someone else.
However, none of these reasons beats becoming a top performing computer programmer.
Because, if you are, you will pave your own career and your path will be littered with gold.
Remember that the singular, most important concern employers have is whether you can perform on the job.
You Can, If You Think You Can
One of my favorite books by Norman Vincent Peale, talks about a principle that has worked for me … “You Can, If You Think You Can”. This principle works because career success is in what you know.
If you are not doing well in your programming career and you think it’s because your age is holding you back, I dare you to read Norman Vincent Peale’s book and my book "The Blueprint: Your Roadmap To Career Success", do what both books say and not succeed in your computer programming career.
It’s far better to succeed in your programming career than to point an accusing finger at someone else’s bias as being responsible for your failure.
By learning or doing what it takes to succeed in your computer programming career, you empower yourself and you prove to others who may doubt your abilities, you have what it takes.