It has long been rooted in the mass consciousness that programming is a job for young people. Honestly, I myself thought so until very recently. I proceeded from the assumption that young people learn more easily, think faster and better and, therefore, are more suitable for solving algorithmic problems. It seemed to me that with age the brain works worse, the memory deteriorates, the neurons do not seem to recover, and the ability to learn quickly decreases. True, I was embarrassed by the fact that, on my own experience, I was convinced just the opposite: now, at 42, I definitely think better than at 20.
A recently read article made me drastically change my views.
I mean this article
. The most concise formulation of the conclusion of the scientific studies described in it is an obvious fact: over the years we become smarter. If it is slightly longer, it turns out that the number of nerve cells in the brain only increases over the years, and the concentration of myelin
, which is responsible for the speed of transmission of impulses in the brain, also increases. Therefore, with age, we better solve problems, make less mistakes and, in general, think better. Peak brain efficiency falls between 50 and 60 years.
In practice, this means that a programmer aged 50 years and above is most effective. He may be doing a little slower (because less is released dopamine, which leads to impulsive actions), but the decisions made are better thought out, they have fewer errors. Experience also adds to the good work of the brain.
So, is it better to hire experienced people in the pre-retirement age as programmers? I think that one important problem still remains: at this age, work does not seem so exciting anymore, it makes less effort to learn new things, and it is harder to endure any overwork at work. But if a person has retained a good physical form, has an active life position, and does not allow the brain to become lazy, then, as a programmer, it has a lot of advantages over a young colleague. In addition, the structure of the work of programmers, as the profession matures, changes. If at the beginning of the programmer needed a creative solution to unique problems, now requires the ability to qualitatively apply the already known methods and approaches. That is, the work of programmers is more and more similar to the work of engineers (in fact, in ABBYY we often call programmers engineers), for which experience and knowledge are important.
From this follows another conclusion. The fact is that the profession of a programmer involves hypodynamia. And it, in turn, guarantees problems by the age of 40-50, which can significantly affect the efficiency of the brain and the ability to be productive. And in general, what kind of active life position can a person have who has spent his whole life sitting at a computer? Therefore, it seems that people in this profession need to look for a regular hobby (not twice a year during holidays, but at least once a week) related to movement. For example, I like to run or come to work on foot across the city. Many of our employees go to work by bicycle (we even have special parking for them). Many go to fitness clubs or to classes in the gym directly in the company. And how do you solve this problem?