I was a Unix, C, C++ programmer for 17 years then got out of IT during the 2001 dot com crash (to teach Junior/High School). Teaching was/is rewarding but I want to finish my working years in IT. I've been taking some steps (updating my training, etc...) to return to IT but am wondering if my age will be a barrier. I wanted to ask you code warriors out there if you have many fifty year old programmers in your IT groups? All I know is the few interviews I've been to, the hiring managers and programmers all look very very young to me! If you were a hiring manager, would you prefer a college grad vs. an old man?!

The human resources department of a mid to large company (any company) is typically going to prefer someone younger only because they are typically looking for someone who is going to invest a 20+ year career in their company. However, that's not always the case and shouldn't really be a deterrant. C and C++ are still very popular languages and people who know them are still in demand.

You might want to talk to Ancient Dragon ... he's a DaniWeb moderator who is one of our older members. He retired from the US Air Force back in 1982 and just retired as a Sr-level C++ programmer last year.

I was 42 when I retired from the USAF in 1985 and began my programming career. First got an intro job for a temp agency in St Louis then a contracting company. In 1997 landed a job for a company that had a large government contract in my area -- probably 50% or more of the employees were people over 50 (about 200 employees). I was only out of work for 1 day when I got that job and I didn't know anyone there either :) I never found it difficult to find work at my age in the St Louis area.

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like there's hope, even for an old salty dog such as myself. Funny thing, I now find myself back in college, I figured a Masters in Computer Science might add some legitimacy to my quest. I'm by far the oldest person in my classes, but I'm having a lot of fun. I was in such a hurry when I was undergrad, get the heck out and get a big $$$ IT job. Well, I guess I'll just see what happens! (life is that thing that happens while you're working furiously on your plans).

Considering your experiance, i think you will be asset to any company looking for c, c++ programmer.

Best of Luck !!!

Never too old. One thing I would consider doing, though, is getting hands on experience and bringing your skills up to date. You don't need any fancy schooling in order to do this. You just need to tackle some "real-life" software projects for clients (freelancing).

Websites like >snipped< have lists of software projects that you can browse through. All you have to do is place advertisements / cost estimations for these projects and wait for the project owner to contact you. A great way to get experience while making money!

Might be worth checking out .NET, if you want to update some skills. From what I can tell (never been there myself, friends have) its not a hard transition from C++. Employers seem to love it.

I think if you are up to the challenge then go for it, but be specific in what you are looking for. I would suggest you pitch for area that are to your advantage. e.g design/architecture, analysis(you will need UML), business analysis, consulting.