Programming as a career

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by iSlave, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. iSlave macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2007
    Hi, I have a friend who is interested in moving into C/Objective C programming with hopes that it'll be a good career move. The problem is that he's in his mid-thirties. I currently work in IT and have found it to be somewhat ageist, and I've so far advised him not to bother......

    My question I wrong??
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    It is ageist insofar as some companies prefer to hire young people who can be convinced to work long hours for little pay, which may be fine as long as you live with your parents, but not very good if you live on your own, and unacceptable once you have your own family. Long term, people hired like that for cheap money grow up and leave...
  3. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I have not been directly involved in hiring engineers (i have tangentially, writing up technical quizzes, chatting with them to get the cut of their jib, etc.), but I would say that the main source of ageism is the (probably often incorrect) assumption that the older someone is, the less willing they will be to adapt to new technologies, etc. If you show up to an interview and show a passion for the field and are familiar with a number of technologies, and express an interest to continue to learn, it shouldn't be an issue.

    Also, if your friend was in their mid-fifties that would be a much bigger deterrent than being in ones mid-thirties. Our engineering team has a spread from myself at the low end (26) to probably mid- to late-forties on the high end, and the people in their forties weren't hired 20 years ago.

    Honestly, the bigger barrier to overcome will be a lack of experience, and your friend's willingness to work their way up from the bottom. Assuming work or college experience started for this person around 18, they've been studying and/or working for 17-20 years or so. That probably means they've worked their way up in whatever field they are currently working in, and are compensated accordingly. Being willing to accept less money to get their foot in the door and work their way up/prove themselves is going to be a bigger deal, in my opinion, than just their age.

  4. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    To be honest it's going to be harder to get a good Cocoa job. May take a few years to get a full grasp of the framework and be able to write apps using all the various APIs. For someone to hire you you're going to need real-world experience, and that may be hard to find. Much easier to get right out of college :)

    If you already specialize in a field, use that as an advantage when learning Cocoa. For example, if you know Win32 you can start learning good porting techniques.
  5. uaecasher macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2009
    Stillwater, OK
    I had a thread about software engineering as a job

    here is the link:

    I agree with the post before me that let him take advantage of his own skills
  6. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    The iPhone has ignited an interest in Cocoa programming, from a lot of companies that might not have ever had a Mac product at all.

    I just renewed my Mac programming contract for a networking/telco company in Austin, TX through the rest of the year. And I am in my mid-30s. I do not only Cocoa, but HTML/JavaScript, Java and more to support the Mac platform.

    I also routinely get job offers for iPhone-specific projects, at least once a week. Just got one yesterday for some company in "Cupertino" that was "long term."

    Wonder who that was for...
  7. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    Did you go to the Apple job fair a few weeks ago? If so, that might be a good hint. =)

  8. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    I don't at all doubt what you say, but isn't the ratio of Cocoa programmers to Macs a lot smaller than the ratio of Windows programmers to Windows machines? Obviously there are a lot of other variables there, but I would think there would be a fairly reasonable demand for competent Cocoa programmers (pure speculation on my part).
  9. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    Congratulations, that's awesome. :)

    I'd say to be a good programmer there is far more than technical excellence. You need to be able to communicate (in some cases sell!) your ideas, listen effectively, work well with others, manage time effectively, make realistic estimates... etc.

    Someone is slightly older may have more “life skills”, which will help with some of the above. Your friend could turn it to their advantage.

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