Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are baby-boomers better learners/developers than Gen-X and Gen-Y?

Part of software development is learning. Part of learning is being corrected. I read this interesting article the other day, Young adults believe in the age of entitlement, claim researchers in the Telegraph. It reflects similar news pieces that I have seen on CBC’s National and PBS.

“the 20-somethings of today have ‘an automatic, knee-jerk reaction to criticism,’ and just dismiss it.”

It’s explains why I have seen solid advice ignored – the older generations would actually take it, or, enter into a discussion (or argument) about the basis of the advice.  Having a good discussion with supporting documentation is an excellent way to improve software quality – everyone learns. 


The article also cites a separate study due to be published in the Journal of Management,

“Generation Y care most about high salaries and lots of leisure time – two apparently incompatible goals”

So we are talking about a generation of developers that expect a 35-40 work week instead of the tradition 50-60 work week that was typical for the older generation.


Bottom line? A hiring manager that knows the literature should prefer developers over 40 and avoid younger developers. The exception would be fresh out of school developers that are “trainable”, once they get a few years of experience their sense of entitlement will likely lead to them ignoring advice, not working as a team member and working “short weeks with low intensity”. 

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