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Don Denoncourt on Aging in IT and Being a Lifelong Learner

| Podcast with Don Denoncourt Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 11 Followers on Oct 30, 2017 |

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This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, talks to Don Denoncourt about remaining an engineer as one ages.

Key Takeaways

  • Looking back over history and programming language changes since the early 1980’s
  • The importance of lifelong learning and putting your personal time into remaining relevant and up to date with new development platforms
  • New graduates get to work on new things because they have just learned about them and they are prepared to take the lower paid roles than “experienced” people
  • If ongoing learning is not fun, then maybe you are in the wrong profession
  • The unconscious bias against older workers in a few teams and how they miss out on great insights
  • Some advice for oldies and youngies working together

Show Notes

  • 0:45 Introductions & having a passion for programming
  • 1:15 Don’s reasons for not wanting to move into management
  • 1:50 The enjoyment of working with people who share the passion for development as a craft
  • 2:00 Looking back over Don’s history and programming language changes as a programmer since the early 1980’s
  • 3:45 The emergence of the personal computer as a development platform
  • 4:45 Wondering about how many mainframe-era programmers left the industry because they didn’t get the opportunity to work on the new platforms?
  • 5:10 The importance of lifelong learning and putting your personal time into remaining relevant and up to date with new development platforms
  • 6:10 Advice for people who haven’t remained abreast of new developments – take a salary cut if necessary and go and learn the latest languages
  • 6:50 Being jealous of people who had the opportunity to work on new platforms and being motivated to learn new things
  • 7:45 New graduates get to work on new things because they have just learned about them and they are prepared to take the lower paid roles than “experienced” people
  • 8:15 If ongoing learning is not fun, then maybe you are in the wrong profession
  • 9:10 The importance and value of a drive for excellence and building valuable products
  • 9:40 Your past successes are not necessarily relevant to the latest technologies – you need to have the ability to learn
  • 10:35 The only advantage to having younger people is that you can overwork them, which is a limited time opportunity before they either burn out or leave
  • 11:15 The story of how someone in the medical profession needs to be a lifelong learner, and how it shouldn’t be different in our profession
  • 12:35 If you do not exercise your brain it will atrophy, just like your muscles
  • 13:35 Meshing generations in the workplace is not difficult
  • 14:00 The unconscious bias against older workers in a few teams and how they miss out on great insights
  • 14:35 The example of NO-SQL – older programmers probably worked in environments before SQL was invented, they know how to work in NO-SQL
  • 15:10 The primary piece of advice for “oldies” – never stop learning, never stop challenging yourself, aim to be among people who are better than you are so you can learn from them and others can learn from you
  • 15:30 If you can’t achieve this in your day job, then join an open-source project that challenges your skills, make sure you learn something new every day
  • 17:05 Advice to “youngies” (especially managers) – entice an older person on to your team because there is a lot you can learn from them, tap into their wisdom and experience
  • 18:05 Older workers should be good at identifying human patterns and smoothing the interpersonal relationships in a team
  • 18:26 Advice for younger teammates – remember you are only as good as your accomplishments over the last two years

Mentioned:

About QCon

QCon  is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 7 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing & Shanghai. QCon London is at its 12th Edition and will take place Mar 5-9, 2018. 100+ expert practitioner speakers, 1300+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit qconlondon.com  to get more details.

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GetPocket instead of GitPocket by Ovidiu Cernautan

I think the proper reference is for the GetPocket (getpcoket.com) tool instead of GitPocket which I do not think exist but in the form of 'Git Pocket Guide' book or something like that.

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