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August 25, 2005

An Aging Issue In IT

A friend posted about some job recruiters with an additional requirement for their applicants to be not more than 30 years old. Like him, I know this has been a practice of some recruiters in the IT industry.

I find most of the job posts with this requirement in the classified ads of local newspapers. Some would indicate a preference for a certain range of age which they deem more suitable for certain technical positions like programmers, systems analysts or database administrators. This I find still surprising as if there is an existing standard among businesses to typecast individuals to certain positions by age.

I have been pondering about this since I started looking for potential employers after graduating from college. Full of dreams and full of confidence, I was glad then that I was under the age limit for computer programmers. But then I would ask myself, what if I started late for a college education and soon got my degree upon reaching 30 or so? Local IT employers would find it difficult to accept me then because I have reached their required age limit for starting positions? But where should I go then and where should I start so I could gain a much needed job experience? I could hear: "Too late, because you are 30 (or so), knucklehead".

What? I am now in the league of other chopped livers (as others would say) out there.

On the other hand, moving on to other companies armed with gainful experiences would not guarantee landing a job. Some would still require an age limit to positions such as programmers. But what if before you have been trained by your recent company to be an expert programmer and analyst (you have been pigeonholed to such a position, yet you have the expertise to be the best among programmers)? With such a good background, you could not be accepted because you are growing old to their standards?

Do they think that being in the range of 20 to 30 years of age is the life span of a sound computer programmer or application developer? Well tell that to my US counterparts who are older than me: fathers and mothers (and even grandfathers and grandmothers) who have children of my age.

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Known to be the webmaster of the defunct Taym Matsing website (well, that's old news now...)