In Silicon Valley diversity conversations, age is left out

October 22, 2014 at 8:39 am 3 comments

I’ve heard this from former students in Silicon Valley.  It’s hard to stay in the game for long, because you “age out.”

But one set of statistics has been noticeably absent: the age of those companies workers.Silicon Valleys conversation about diversity has revolved chiefly around gender and race, although the stereotype of the techie as white, male and young has written out the over-40 set as well.”Walk into any hot tech company and you’ll find disproportionate representation of young Caucasian and Asian males,” said Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. “All forms of diversity are important, for the same reasons: workforce demand, equality of opportunity and quality of end product.”

via In Silicon Valley diversity conversations, age is left out – SFGate.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alfredtwo  |  October 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I was a software developer for 18 years. I didn’t so much age out as burn out. I still like writing code but have little desire to do so for a living. I’d probably need professional help to really understand why. It might be the working environment but I wonder from time to time if something changes in the way ones mind works as we get older.

  • 2. David Mattox  |  October 22, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Hmmm, I’m 50+ and still going strong. Though when I walk into the development shop at the company I work for now I feel like I walked into a high school programming class. I was writing code before most everybody in the room was born. But I agree with the previous commenter. You can only pull so many all nighters and weekends before you burn out. The culture in SV is pretty much all or nothing and as you get older your values change. Time is the only thing you can’t get more of and the older you get the more valuable it becomes. I don’t think its discrimination, its just people opting out as they accumulate money and start running out of time.

  • 3. Guy Haas  |  October 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I’ve recently noticed an emphasis on diversity and collaboration in the media. I’m currently reading Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators, in which he is emphasizing how important collaboration and diversity were to the development of the computer and the Internet. And the new PBS series, How We Got To Now, is also showing how important diversity has been in a variety of inventions. So we can hope that people reading/watching will get the point…

    I’m old… But I can’t help but laugh at all the hype about the “cloud” these days. I started out programming for a timesharing company in 1972. We had a very large machine room full of DEC-10s accessed across the US and UK. The technology today has changed dramatically, but we had the same concerns then as we do now, security being just one example. The point is that I think that old-timers in the industry have a great perspective on what’s been done in the past that applies to today. But what do I know, I’m retired…


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