They say 10,000 hours of programming work are necessary to reach the level of expert, but once reached what happens next? Do you stay? Are you still improving? Do you fall back?

Although there are different opinions, possibly the most common believes that age wears out the ability to adopt and absorb new knowledge.

As the demand for software continues to grow, we begin to question whether the preference of young candidates, or the perception of “too old” makes sense.

Patrick Morrison and Emerson Murphy-Hill from the Software Engineering department at the University of North Carolina, conducted a pioneering study in this line, based on the analysis of data from stackoverflow.com developer community (age, reputation, technologies discussed).

The aim of the first study in this direction is to identify whether some correlation between age and level of programming is observed, before delving with possible correlations between “fluid intelligence” or ability to identify complex relationships and inference, and the “ crystallized intelligence “that reflects the breadth of knowledge, understanding, judgment and wisdom gained by experience.”

The conclusion reached by the authors is that there IS a correlation between age and reputation of stackoverflow.com programmers, suggesting that they can maintain a high programming level during their 50’s to 60’s, and that the more experienced users of StackOverflow are up-to-date and seamlessly acquire new knowledge in the technologies examined in this study.

This is the document of the study: Is Programming Knowledge Related to Age? be submitted by the authors on 18 May at the eventop 10th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories in San Francisco.

 


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