Are older people better programmers?
Peter Knego states something interesting: “It's official: developers get better with age. And scarcer.”. He uses reputation and other metrics from StackOverflow to corroborate his point.
His summary is:
- Number of coders drops significantly with age. Top developer numbers, at age 27, drop by half every 6-7 years.
- Developers in their 40s answer roughly twice as much and ask half the questions compared to colleagues in their 20s. It seems younger generation learns and older generation teaches.
- Quality of posts, i.e. upvotes earned by post, only slightly increases with age.
- Seniors earn their high reputation by being more active than younger developers.
- Each year, I’m getting better at seeing the “big picture”. I don’t think that process will ever stop. The decisions I make now are better and calmer than the decisions I made 10 years ago. This is due to me being more relaxed and me having more experience.
- Increased experience and clearer thinking have made my code better, but I still need to invest time to make it really good (several iterations, etc.).
- I have learned to take more breaks  and am nicer to my body, but it’s still not nearly enough.
- Fast programmers who produce disorganized code rely on their superior short term memory to get things done. These programmers get worse with age as their short-term memory weakens. They tend to drop out of the field.
- Slow programmers who produce well-organized and readable code avoid relying on short-term memory. They tend to get faster and better with age as they accumulate in their long-term memory an ever increasing portfolio of strategies, patterns and techniques.