Age Discrimination in Tech

June 1, 2020 corporations life facebook [engineering]

Recently on Hacker News I came across a “Ask HN” where the poster asked if there were any job boards and age-friendly companies out there. The replies are hilarious with the top post sharing two anecdotes of older men dying their hair and dressing more hip. The poster then goes on to finish with it’s not your age that will limit you, but your apparent age. If you are old, but look like a younger/fresher version of yourself, you do well. If you appear “old”, you struggle.

So the august minds on Hacker News have decried that appearing “old” is bad and you’re limited by “your apparent age”. There is no discussion about brushing up skills or study tips for the interviews. There even is no suggestion for the applicant try to get a more entry level position. Am I the only one that sees the tech industry has a serious ageism problem if the first top-rated suggestion on a hacker forum about passing technical interviews is to hide your age?

Can you imagine this happening to lawyers and doctors? Do people go in and say “yes, I’d like to be represented in court by your newest lawyer”. Or “I’d like to get my operation done by the newest doctor on your team?” Its only in tech that we have leaders like Mark Zuckerberg issue statements like “you should only hire young people with technical expertise” and “Young people are just smarter.”1 I wonder why anyone chooses to go into tech.

As a side note, there was a hilarious sub-thread about how “graybeard” is now a derogatory term and the best product to dye your beard is Just For Men Mustache & Beard.