Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Working across generations, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
(bright pop music) - Young people might look at older generations and think they're just, you know, old codgers, and they don't know anything, and they, or they think they know everything. And that can be a challenge for the young person to recognize that every generation has wisdom and has experiences that the other could not possibly have.
And that to take the wisdom and knowledge that the older people can bring to the project, and older people also need to recognize that young people come from a totally different perspective and totally different world view probably, than what they lived through. And that, regardless, they have experiences and knowledge that, that the older person couldn't possibly have, even at their stage of life.
They, just haven't lived it, so to speak. Everybody has some experiences and knowledge and world view that can contribute to the solution. If you're developing software, we don't want software that's developed only for 30-somethings. We want software that is developed for entire age range. And the only way we get that full range perspective is to include the experiences and wisdoms, wisdom of the developers in all of those age ranges.
- Yeah, I think whenever we work with people that are younger, it's easy to think they don't have a lot of experience. I think, when we work people that are older, it's think, hey, they're out of touch, they don't understand, kinda where the industry is heading. I personally, I always find myself drawn to people that have more experience. I find they have more wisdom. They're able to share with me and I see them kind of, like that's the direction I wanna go with my career. Where they're at, and where they're going, like, I look at that. And so, I find, working on the idea of trying to find a mentor, or mentoring other people, and kind of sharing that knowledge, that's really, really important.
- My experience working cross generations, when I was the older one, you know, are really two different forms. One is, colleague-to-colleague, right. Where, I'm asking someone who happens to be younger than I am, to explain something to me, right. So, I'm the student and they're the sage teacher. I think in that role, it's just a matter of being, nice and humble, and ask good questions, and listen, you know, try to draw out, you know, what you can.
And then, you know I've been in the role where I'm the mentor, the coach for somebody younger, maybe someone that was working for me. And then, I often find, you know, questions are also good. If there's something that I want someone to learn, I find it really valuable to ask them about that sort of stuff. To get them to come to their own realization about what a good approach is. - You know, because I have, I've changed jobs now three times, and I've done it late in life, I've kind of been both really experienced and very inexperienced multiple times.
And even harder, I've been the inexperienced, yet older person in the room, and that can be very difficult. As an inexperienced person, first and foremost, you know you have to know what you don't know, and know that there's context to certain things and the more experience people have that context and they have that understanding. But at the same time, as an inexperienced person, you also need to kind of be gentle with yourself, and understand that you don't have to learn everything all at once.
You don't have to know everything right now. You know, so you may ask a question of somebody and they're going to give you the experienced answer that is just way over your head, and it's okay to say, "Hey, could you explain this to me in simpler terms?" And, you know, be aware that, not everybody's a good teacher, and not everybody can simplify what they know and that's why, I think, you know, instructional videos are (laughs) really fantastic. - I have found that, if you had the idea, like I do of your continuing to looking to solve problems, you'll avoid being obsolete or aged out.
The broader your skillset that you can build, the more likely that you'll survive any type of boom bust cycle in programming. I mean, we're on the dotcom bubble number three, if you ask a lot of people. I lived and worked through the first two, so I see what's going on and I just think, knowing as much as you can, about as many things as possible, is a good way to kinda survive that jump over generations. I got quite a late start as a programmer. I didn't get my first professional programming job till I was 27, which is quite old.
So, I generally work with people who are a lot younger than me so, I'm kind of familiar with how people think that programming is, is a young person's game. No, programming is a game for people that know how to solve problems, and the more stuff that you know how to do, the better equipped you will be for whatever opportunities get thrown at you. (bright pop music)