Saturday, April 18, 2015

Age bias in tech -- did this contribute to the Obamacare implementation catastrophe?

“Model View Culture” has an interesting perspective on ageism and tech, “Silicon Valley’s Other Diversity Problem: Age Bias in Tech,” by Grace Wong, link here
She even links to a 2007 Cnet story where a 22-year-old Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as saying “Young people are just smarter”, link here.  Perhaps then Zuckerberg didn’t know employment law very well.

But it’s true, I’ve run into the idea that a lot of skills – like hyperproductivity in coding – are best learned in the teen years, the same way that piano is, or chess, for that matter.
Older techies with largely mainframe skills are baited with “gigs” and W-2 contracts for very specific skills, living out of corporate apartments.  And it is the same kind of maturity in systems implementation – and conception – that older workers offer is what might have prevented the Obamacare (“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) implementation debacle.  And the current legal uncertainty before SCOTUS does not help.
I’ve seen comments on Facebook – that going back to school can give the older professional his mojo back.  In practice, that’s a hard sell in the real market.  There is nothing like real experience with the technology at hand – and getting it from ground up on a project.
That said, contractors, especially in health care systems, badly need to look broadly at the management, people and implementation skills that older professionals offer – even when they are fluent with all the latest coding. 

Update: April 20

Cnet has a story "How to solve Silicon Valley's diversity challenges?  Google has ideas", link here

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