Jeremiah Owyang has a post with great advice to developers who are getting older and having a hard time keeping up with the younger crowd. The advice includes:
What specific steps did I tell him to take?
Start reading books on web management and process management Understand how the software fits into the greater scheme of the business, department, or company Expand and learn more about user experience research Grow a network by adopting social media to learn, discuss, and market oneself Lead projects: develop needs, do research, develop plans, create feature function reports, and feasibility reports, learn cost/benefit analysis Lead programs: manage a business program (where software is the core) and manage it like a profit and loss, become an integrated part of the business. Practice presentation to business managers and stakeholders Engage business teams in meetings, training, and lunch
So much of this is true and as developers with many years of experience there are also other ways I think help avoid the feeling of staleness:
- Admit we can’t keep up with young developers willing to work 80 hour weeks, you don’t need to try.
- Take your valuable experience and go out on your own, consult to the companies and teams with those young developers and teach them good practices.
- Think about how your knowledge and experience has evolved and see the patterns of change, translate those patterns to help others.
I have been in the same position and it’s hard to admit we are getting older but with age comes wisdom. If we have been in the industry for 10, 15, 20 or more years we have great knowledge that can help younger developers and teams. Sure, times have changed not all of the techniques we once used apply today but patterns of knowledge do and will help others.