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Are technology careers only for the young?

There is no age limit for learning technology. Technology is the universal language of the 21st century, and almost every aspect of the job market and everyday life is already affected. 

Have you ever heard of ageism? The word, which has synonyms is defined by prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against elderly people by stereotypes that relate advanced age to disability, unproductivity and dependence. Discriminatory behaviors cause suffering and isolation, affecting the physical and emotional health of this social group.

The numbers of elderly Brazilians show that measures to end ageism are urgent. Currently, 14.7% of the Brazilian population is over 60 years old. In absolute numbers, there are 31.23 million people. The data comes from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Continuous Pnad).

From 2031 onwards, Brazil will have more elderly people than children and adolescents. It does not stop there: in 2042, the elderly population will reach 57 million Brazilians. Data are from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

Due to the growing familiarity of the young public with technological tools, it is common to find them in droves in this market. But it is worth remembering that this does not prevent many professionals over 50, who unfortunately suffer from prejudice to be hired, from keeping up to date on the subject and being active in the profession

Example: Just before turning 50, logistics analyst Roselaine Silva do Nascimento was fired during the pandemic, after more than a decade of service. Accustomed to an organized routine with Excel spreadsheets, she began to dedicate eight hours a day on the Internet in search of vacancies. 

After sending more than a hundred resumes with no results, the resident of Canoas, a Municipality in Rio Grande do Sul State – Brazil, suspected that the reason was her age. Her fear was confirmed at the end of a face-to-face interview:

— Your resumé is very good, but we are giving preference to younger people. Anything, I’ll let you know, okay? said the recruiter.

Roselaine was speechless. SOURCE: GZH Education and Work

According to a 2022 Stack Overflow survey of 70,946 respondents, 20% of respondents were 44 years old or older.

(Career Foundry)

Breaking Down Mental Barriers

Even the most experienced developers struggle by people who are prone to self-denial. The individual builds, inside his/her head, a perception of himself/herself of incompetence or insufficiency and is fooled by the deep-rooted prejudice against the elderly.

When taking risks, our brains often struggle with change to “to stay in the comfort zone “. Friends and family can project their fears of change onto you. Looking for responsible friends and role models is a great support. If not in real life, check it out online. Being around other people working towards the same goals can be very motivating.

Example: the 88-year-old Iraqi, fluent in 4 languages who offers free language classes in Curitiba, Paraná – Brazil: ‘Why not pass it on to those who need it?’ Hikmat Daoud Hanna is fluent in Arabic, English, Italian and Portuguese, in addition to being able to communicate in 5 other languages.

(BBC)

Experience and Maturity are of Great Value for Companies

Electronic learning companies employ experienced teachers as well as SAAS (Software as a Service) companies that supply products to schools and universities. Products such as student management systems or online student platforms. There are a large number of Human Resources Startups that contract elderly people. 

Mature people excel in many areas of IT jobs compared to young people. Office politics, emotional intelligence, communication skills and a deeper perspective are skills many young people lack.

EverYoung, a technology company based in Seoul, South Korea, has an unusual but strict condition when hiring new employees – candidates must be at least 55 years old. It has been that way, since EverYoung was founded in 2013, and it employs 420 seniors aged between 55 and 83.

(Oddity Central)

Age will never define your ability to learn, if you believe in yourself. Do not forget that every new professional was once a rookie, and, it wasn’t age that got them to where they are now, but a passion for using their skills to create new things. Once you get started, your passion and experience will take you to new heights.

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Meet the Author

Peter Howard Wertheim & Dayse Abrantes - International Journalists
Peter Howard Wertheim & Dayse Abrantes - International Journalists

peter.howard@thebridge.social dayse.abrantes@thebridge.social International Journalists

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