Old developers — we’re still here!

Robert C. Marten, legend of computer science, points out that half of developers have less than five years of experience. It has been this way since the very first programmers in the 1960’s; the number of programmers in the world has been doubling roughly every five years.

Therefore, half of the population is inexperienced; junior to middle-level. With five years, you’re the old guy! (We frequently call them senior software engineers.)

Extend this out:

  • 75% of software developers have fewer than 10 years of experience
  • 87% of software developers have fewer than 15 years of experience
  • 94% of software developers have fewer than 20 years of experience

I’ve been writing software since 1987, earning my Computer Science degree and starting my first professional job in 1998.

Young developers often ask where all the old programmers went. They wishfully think we all got rich and retired early. A few did, but that’s pretty rare. Many moved to management. Some moved to project management, UI/UX design, and other related fields. The rest of us are still here, but with exponential growth in jobs we are vastly outnumbered!

Those of us with a passion for the work stick around. We continue to perfect our craft. We learn from mentors like “Uncle Bob” Martin. We mentor others, trying to level-up our younger colleagues, so that they too can become “seniors”. 😉

Originally posted on my blog.



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Adam Fanello

Adam Fanello

Consulting Software Engineer and AWS Solutions Architect with over 34 years of experience. Specializing in AWS serverless application development and IoT.