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Sloan
Sloan

Posted on

Do DevOps suffer less ageism compared to software developers?

This is an anonymous post sent in by a member who does not want their name disclosed. Please be thoughtful with your responses, as these are usually tough posts to write. Email sloan@dev.to if you'd like to leave an anonymous comment or if you want to ask your own anonymous question.


Don't want to cause any grief or pain with this question, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. I'd love to hear from the community what their thoughts are on this topic.

Top comments (13)

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

There are always two sides to a coin.

Ageism on the one side, where good people don't get a job, because they are (seen as) too old.

On the other side older engineers who want to do things their (old) way, and say new things aren't good or not needed.

There are both problems on frontend (Qt vs React), backend (Perl vs Node.js), or Ops (VMs vs Serverless).

It all comes down to company culture and less on which part of the stack you work.

Make sure you're not seen as one of those nay-sayers (that's what companies fear when they hire older engineers), but as someone who gets things done and can sell their extended experience as a gain and not a liability.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ • Edited on

That's interesting, because the older I get (I'm 40 right now) the easier it seems to me to get a job. Obviously that could plateau or go back when I turn 60 but the trend has been so far clearly positive.

I'm not convinced that the newer technologies are always (or most often) the best choices, Wikipedia still kicks ass with old boring PHP/MySql. But yes I wouldn't start new projects with Qt and Perl.

Now if by "the other side of the coin", you mean the attitude of what Erik Dietrich call Expert Beginners then yes I get why companies wouldn't want to hire those people. Good news is that it's fully in our power of us dinosaurs to not be like that.

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jarrodhroberson profile image
Jarrod Roberson

actually ageism is just about prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age.

it has nothing to do with "older engineers who want to do things their (old) way", that is a different problem and really has nothing to do with age.

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

Could be, I'm just talking about my experience.

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jarrodhroberson profile image
Jarrod Roberson

If you generalize "older engineers who want to do things their (old) way" that is ageism.

There are people that insist the way they always did it is good enough. Whether that is someone with 3 yrs of 1yr experience or 30yrs of 1yr experience.

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jarrodhroberson profile image
Jarrod Roberson • Edited on

Just like any *ism, Ageism is a people problem, it has little to do with what you do, and everything with who you do it for.

ageism; prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age. may or may not have to do with why someone is in a specific career function like DevOps. Or has a better opportunity in DevOps, if at all.

DevOps may tend to have older employees in some places because they age out of keeping up with software development changes or they are considered to treat deployment with the seriousness of such an important task as deploying production software, updating production hardware, etc. because they have the experience of it going bad really quickly and know what they are doing can cost a company millions of dollars a minute when there is downtime.

DevOps may tend to have younger employees in some places because they do not have the experience in the languages or environments that they use in their applications and DevOps is a good way to get those employees familiar with those technologies so they can move into development eventually.

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jenc profile image
Jen Chan

Orrrr... it's just so easy to get into ci/cd by starting with heroku or netlify now so people just crash test their way into devops...?

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jarrodhroberson profile image
Jarrod Roberson

and this has to do with ageism; the prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age, how?

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theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

Hi Anonymous Community Member, I'm the Director of Infrastructure for a large B2B SaaS company; DevOps (SRE) is one of the teams that I manage.

I can say definitively that I do not factor age when evaluating a candidate, for me it's about whether/not you have the necessary hard skills and can participate in a large engineering team (70 across all teams). One of my best hires (software architect) is one of the oldest members on our team, and is one of the top contributors at the company.

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

Ageism is a form of bias, and bias is something everyone has to different degrees.

Companies have different degrees of bias when it comes to hiring, some of it is acknowledged by the company directly or even legally mandatory. People still do the hiring, so their inherited biases may bleed through.

Companies usually need to integrate different industries to function, software development and DevOps are such industries.

Now which of the two industries within a company might not matter much more than the company, or more indirectly the people that make up the company.

Biases are something people/companies/industries usually are always fighting to different degrees of success. However, from an external person affected by said bias, there isn't much you can do about it.

If this question stems more from a place of picking a career in either of these two choices, understand there is always bias, there is also minimal things you can do about any "negative biases" you may run into. We can't turn back the clock, but we can devote ourselves to overcoming those biases and challenges the best we can/

I think life is more about overcoming challenges rather than dodging them. Ageism is something almost everyone will have to deal with at some point, but that doesn't have to be the only bias someone could face. Regardless, being good at what we do, and enjoying what we do with the time we have and "cards we've been dealt" should be enough to get whatever job you need in whatever industry, it might not be easy but its never impossible with the right mindset and enough grit to keep at it.

Good luck, keep learning, keep growing and focus on what you can while you can πŸ‘

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

Actually I'm a dev, I'm 40, and I have a much more interesting and relax time than when I was young.

So I wonder: am I lucky? or do people mean by ageism people older than me?

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jamertest77 profile image
jamer
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ivorator profile image
ivorator

Not that I have noticed.

The hardest is to work with people between 4-7 years of experience. Usually the first peak in SW career and skill come there.

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