Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our brains start sliding downhill at age 24, making it harder for older IT pros to pick up new languages

Ever wondered why it’s hard for older employees to pick up “new skills” quickly, especially for procedural programmers (COBOL, ALC, even original C) to become fluent in object oriented languages or even scripting?  On the other hand, teenagers who learn modern styles of programming first become whizzes at it.
The Post Wonkblog today noted a study by a Canadian University that maintains we start the downhill slope style at age 24 or so.  Yet the brain is thought not to be fully mature in terms of judgment of consequences until 25.  The Post link is here.   A similar link is at Advisor. You’re already using gravity when you’re old enough to rent a car in most states.  
Teenagers have the advantage of becoming super proficient in skills in a lot of things (whether playing piano, competing in speed chess or regular international tournament chess, coding java, or hitting baseballs) before their brains start pruning less used connections and specializing on “expertise”. 
People tend to develop “wisdom” and better judgment as they get older.  In business and an in creative endeavors, the “wisdom” and insights – ability to “connect the dots” and see the subtle significance of things – does improve with age. 

Mark Zuckerberg, approaching 30, still likes to do some (a lot) of his own coding, often at hangouts around Palo Alto.  
Picture: hard to seem but a male flicker (a woodpecker) likes to play on a chimney cover, early in the morning,  Some birds and wild mammals (like foxes) learn to recognize people who live in a suburban neighborhood and don't fly or run.  It's like having a pet without the responsibility.  In the eyes of animals, we're all equal.  Or at least money and wealth doesn't matter. 

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