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Study: Older Coders Know More Than Their Younger Peers

Based on data from Stack Overflow, enterprises might be wise to recruit developers with a little gray in their hair.


The development industry is notorious for favoring younger workers over older ones, but a new study conducted by North Carolina State University calls that bias into question. In a paper titled Is Programming Knowledge Related To Age? the researchers explain how they analyzed data from the popular website Stack Overflow to try to answer that question.

They found that programmers' reputations on Stack Overflow tended to increase with age, peaking around age 45. And an analysis of coding language tags determined that “there is initially a decline in the mean number of tags per programmer, bottoming around age 30, followed by an increase in the 40’s and 50’s and dispersion in the 60’s.” In other words, coders age 30-59 tended to know more languages than younger developers. The study also found that "we do not have strong evidence against older programmers learning new technologies. It appears that older programmers do learn new technologies."

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