The Value of a 70-Year-Old Software Engineer
I was chatting with a 70-year-old man who is an independent “software engineer”—a programmer. I asked him how he keeps up with all the young hot-shots who know the latest fancy programming languages. Simple, he said: There are many companies that are just converting very old systems, and the young programmers don’t know the older languages.
Being technically obsolete gives him an advantage. Economists believe that human capital and technology are complements (something I show by negative example when I can’t get my Powerpoint presentations to work on a projector!). But so long as companies don’t introduce new technologies, those workers with “obsolete” human capital will do OK. Indeed, this man charges higher than average fees, because there are so few other programmers left who can deal with the old technology!