Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Ageism and sexism in Germany

112 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, zwiebelfisch said:

 

Hard to know. Consulting skills and devops seem to be hot right now.

 

..

 

 

Of course devops is just a way of working, better to get to know the common technologies and concepts which are being used to enable this. e.g. Containerisation technologies.

Although this is very hot currently I suspect in a few years that this will be the de facto way of working in IT for most companies/projects (but not all)

 

(But generally I agree with what you said).

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, elvy said:

Why doesn't your wife sue them? They're a committing a crime, by paying her less...

 

No, they are not "committing a crime" – labour law is civil law and has nothing to do with crime. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

No, they are not "committing a crime" – labour law is civil law and has nothing to do with crime. 

 

 

Don't understand what you're saying. I'm pretty sure sex discrimination is illegal in any civil country.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, elvy said:

Don't understand what you're saying.

 

Yeah, it's obvious. 

 

Just now, elvy said:

 

I'm pretty sure sex discrimination is illegal in any civil country.

 

"Illegal" isn't the same as "a crime". Actions against unequal payment are based on the AGG, the General Equal Treatment Act, not on criminal law. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IT in Germany has a great future. But whether you can have a job

as a programmer in IT in Germany in the future is a different question.

 

In the UK I programmed ICs in modems and control systems.

Moving to Germany some 30yrs ago, I ended up learning about databases and SAP 

systems. 10 yrs of that (and the company outsourcing their programmers)

lead me to change again - this time as a (technical) project manager.

 

Germany has good laws to look after the workers (eg maternity leave before/after the childbirth; 

time off for either/both parents in the first 3yrs after childbirth).

 

I didn't see any sexism in my work experience. Women working as managers or techies

were treated as equals and their work was indistiguishable from their male colleagues.

 

True, the large companies didn't have 50% female board members, but

that was slowly changing.

 

Large companies often have incentives to shed the over 55s. 

Employees in my multinational looked forward to early retirement

as they knew it was coming and had planned their personal situations accordingly. 

 

It will all depend on you (changing) circumstances  eg : 

Single, no kids --- happy to travel and relocate.

Stable relationship-- do I really want to only be together at the weekends ?

Should there be kids around --  likely only exceptional travel.

 

Sorry, but I don't see it as black/white...

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

Yeah, it's obvious. 

 

 

"Illegal" isn't the same as "a crime". Actions against unequal payment are based on the AGG, the General Equal Treatment Act, not on criminal law. 

 

The point is that is against the law. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, elvy said:

I agree. Experience is better than spending ages studying. I have also heard machine learning engineering is hot too. I'm unsure whether to move toward developer, and whether is better software or hardware. The bad thing about software is the risk of outsourcing or being replaced, or the low possibilities of doing it long term. I've heard you are expected to be in a PM position by 35 years of age. And its rare to find developers over 40's. Is that the case?

 

At my place we have developers in their 50s and 60s who are still very good developers!

 

 

59 minutes ago, elvy said:

..

Isn't 5g more telecommunication engineering type of job?

 

It depends on which area.

 

The phones communicate to radio towers, and there are still microwaves links etc. so this is all about electrical engineering.

 

But in the "core network" then telecoms is moving more and more towards standardised SW sitting on standardised HW.  So the difference is becoming less and less.

 

5G actually moves even more away from the traditional telecoms specific stack and It uses more standardised technology such as REST..

This is partly due to more standardisation and openness, and partly because the HW & SW is now so much more better that you no longer needed custom SW & HW built just for telecoms.

 

 

 

49 minutes ago, elvy said:

 

 

As I said, I've have been speaking with someone in the IT word. Hard to say how much it true. It's depends on the individual. I like programming and maths. Being torn between choosing cs or electronics/mechatronic engineerings. Basically, would like to make a good decision long-term. Thinking of having stability when I'm 40. Low-level hardware programming seems more stable and I think will be hot with the IOT (I guess Germany has a strong demand of electronic engineering working on firmware,right), but is more difficult to break into. While software has a lower entry-barrier, but is less stable.

 

 

If you are not sure then I suggest getting a Raspberry Pi device and playing with it!

 

With this you can do electrical stuff by connecting sensors to the device, and programming stuff by creating programs to read the data and do something with it.

The possibilities are endless and there are 10s of websites online which show projects others have done and can be used for inspiration, here are some:

 

https://pimylifeup.com/category/projects/

https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/

https://www.hackster.io/raspberry-pi/projects

https://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Projects/

 

If you do this, then not only do you learn and have fun, but you might discover which side you prefer. electrical or programming.

 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, HH_Sailor said:

IT in Germany has a great future. But whether you can have a job

as a programmer in IT in Germany in the future is a different question.

 

In the UK I programmed ICs in modems and control systems.

Moving to Germany some 30yrs ago, I ended up learning about databases and SAP 

systems. 10 yrs of that (and the company outsourcing their programmers)

lead me to change again - this time as a (technical) project manager.

 

Germany has good laws to look after the workers (eg maternity leave before/after the childbirth; 

time off for either/both parents in the first 3yrs after childbirth).

 

I didn't see any sexism in my work experience. Women working as managers or techies

were treated as equals and their work was indistiguishable from their male colleagues.

 

True, the large companies didn't have 50% female board members, but

that was slowly changing.

 

Large companies often have incentives to shed the over 55s. 

Employees in my multinational looked forward to early retirement

as they knew it was coming and had planned their personal situations accordingly. 

 

It will all depend on you (changing) circumstances  eg : 

Single, no kids --- happy to travel and relocate.

Stable relationship-- do I really want to only be together at the weekends ?

Should there be kids around --  likely only exceptional travel.

 

Sorry, but I don't see it as black/white...

 

 

So, is it very common for companies to outsourcing work and leaving their workers empty handed? Did  you change role within the company.

 

I guess 55 is better 40. But since pension will be at  67. I don't know how can they retire, unless they have private pension.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

 

At my place we have developers in their 50s and 60s who are still very good developers!

 

 

 

It depends on which area.

 

The phones communicate to radio towers, and there are still microwaves links etc. so this is all about electrical engineering.

 

But in the "core network" then telecoms is moving more and more towards standardised SW sitting on standardised HW.  So the difference is being less and less.

 

5G actually moves even more away from the traditional telecoms specific stack and towards standard It based technology such as REST.

This is partly due to standardisation and openness, and partly because the HW & SW is now so much more better that you no longer needed custom SW & HW built just for telecoms.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are not sure then I suggest getting a Raspberry Pi device and playing with it!

 

With this you can do electrical stuff by connecting sensors to the device, and programming stuff by creating programs to read the data and do something with it.

The possibilities are endless and there are 10s of websites online which show projects others have done and can be used for inspiration, here are some:

 

https://pimylifeup.com/category/projects/

https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/

https://www.hackster.io/raspberry-pi/projects

https://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Projects/

 

If you do this, then not only do you learn and have fun, but you might discover which side you prefer. electrical or programming.

 

 

Thanks for the info. Which would you advise, for someone seeking more stability?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, elvy said:

 

Which would you advise, for someone seeking more stability?

 

If you want stability + very structured salary levels, check into government jobs. 

 

5g is important because the increased network capacity + speed will make some software ideas/services practical which wouldn't have been without it. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, elvy said:

 

Thanks for the info. Which would you advise, for someone seeking more stability?

elvy, I don't think anyone can answer that question.  When I was younger, getting a job in a bank was considered one of the most stable, secure jobs around, but that's long gone today.  The world is changing very fast and nobody can guarantee what's going to happen over the next 30 years.  What I can tell you is that most people who want to work, will find a job.

 

Do something that makes you happy, that inspires you and try to be the best you can be at it, and after that, it's fingers crossed that you make it through to retirement age.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, elvy said:

 

Thanks for the info. Which would you advise, for someone seeking more stability?

 

 

I don't know electrical engineering, so it is difficult for me to comment and do a fair comparison.  But even if I could, as I can't see into the future then it is difficult to say.

 

And it also depends what you mean by stable.

 

IT is always changing and if you fail to change, adapt and learn then you will find yourself without a job sooner or later.  So you could argue that this is not stable.

But there is always more to learn and understand.  And because of this you could argue that your job is stable, because nobody can ever know everything so if you learn and improve and have the right attitude then there will always be a job for you because you will always have and be willing to gain skills that people want.

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, elvy said:

 

So, is it very common for companies to outsourcing work and leaving their workers empty handed? Did  you change role within the company.

 

I guess 55 is better 40. But since pension will be at  67. I don't know how can they retire, unless they have private pension.

 

Outsourcing comes in waves.... 

My company offered retraining and jobs internally - or a cash lump to go immediately.

or a while it was a terrific idea and as more companies tried it, it snowballed.

Only the bravest companies actually backpedalled when it went pearshaped.

 

The (voluntary) age scheme at my firm put me on ca. 85% netto income at 55.

Still paid me but sent me home at 59. (yes, employed and paid but on leave!) 

Finally out of work (but qualify for state pension at 63).

This is called "Altersteilzeit"  No longer a formal employment law but still

available in many firms today.

 

But as you're 24, who knows what'll be on offer in 40yrs time ;)

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, lisa13 said:

to sum up, you need solid skills.  Gender and age issues are not a prevalent thing in my experience here in Germany, and your biggest risk is not knowing enough German.

 

 

perfect summary !

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

since we seem to be going anecdotal here:

 

I'm 51, female, object oriented developer.  My base is in C++, and I added Java and a bit of C# later on. I have not yet had any trouble getting a job in Germany as a dev (I've been here for almost 8 years, and on my third job).  I have been temporarily roped into doing PM work but make it clear I'm only willing to do it for a short time to help out, and it hasn't cost me at all.  In fact the overwhelming majority of PMs I've dealt with in Germany have zero programming background.  It's true that I encounter proportionately fewer devs over 45, but I'm never "the only one".  Even in the 15 person company I work in now, there are two of us "oldies" out of 7 total devs.  My last company was similar (2 oldies out of 4 total).  Newer technologies tend to employ younger devs as it's more likely they've been trained in the newer tech in larger numbers, but it's not an exclusive thing.  If you have the skills you have the skills.  If someone needs those skills you should have little trouble finding work. 

 

I have also not encountered any gender discrimination in Germany, very much contrary to my experience in the US which offered a lot more in the way of gender drama.  But in any case, the prevalence of gender problems in a job are very often tied to company culture as well as overall social culture. He even alludes to that when he says his company would not tolerate one group speaking or acting derisively toward another, while apparently his wife's company is perfectly ok with descriminatory behavior.  This all jives with my experience as a female in IT. 

 

Yes you will always have to be prepared to deal with the occasional jerk, but this is true in ANY industry, on the street, it's just life, the fact that a jerk can pick on your gender, instead of having to be more creative.  For me this is very different than having to deal with discrimination on a systemic level. In Germany I have not dealt with gender based issues even as a one off - jerks here do indeed seem to be more creative ;) So my overall take is that the place you want to be is one where there is no evidence of a systemic problem.  You can in fact glean most of what you need to know during the interview process - so far I haven't had any surprises that were not evident during the interview(s).

 

But he then goes on with the tired recs that suggest women are somehow responsible for making up for bad behavior among some men, and I have to call BS on that.  A better strategy is to find a company that does not tolerate the nonsense in the first place.  There are plenty out there. and honestly I've never had trouble sniffing out problem orgs during the interview process. 

 

As for what specialty to get into, I can only suggest you pick one that you are really excited about.  This will more likely inspire you to stay on top of new tech and trends within your area of expertise (or even lead you out of it in new directions) and that is WAY more important than the road than what you studied in your youth.  I think this is often at the heart of why some people become unemployable as they age:  it's not their age, it's the fact that they have stopped growing as devs.  It's the guys who are still specialized in COBOL.  Or who use C++ as if it were C, as they still have no understanding of object oriented dev.  OK maybe they are TOO much in love with their original choice?  I dunno.  To me it comes off as laziness and/or sheer apathy.

 

to sum up, you need solid skills.  Gender and age issues are not a prevalent thing in my experience here in Germany, and your biggest risk is not knowing enough German.

 

51 years old woman in tech. You're my role model, girl :D

I'm really happy to read a positive testimony. It's reassuring. Can I ask if you in Berlin? Berlin seems more modern comparing to the rest of Germany

 

So, is that possible to retrain and change specialty through life, so that you aren't stuck being obsolete?

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried to find a job in Berlin when I moved over in 2011 but nothing panned out.

 

I've been in Munich the whole time.  I don't think this is just a "modern hip Berlin" thing.  My last company was the most Bavarian, family run business you can imagine.  VERY old fashioned and fairly down to earth.  Most employees had worked there literally their whole careers.  But they didn't think twice about hiring me as my skills were perfect for the job.  Remember that on par Germans tend to be pretty damned pragmatic.  Skills win.

 

But I'm going to say something that will probably sound unpleasant:  good devs (or even engineers I expect) don't usually rely on formal "retraining" to get to a new level - you have to CONSTANTLY learn as you go.  Almost entirely on your own!  No one is going to hold your hand, or push you in the "right" direction once you're out of the fresher stage.  If you have a good team, there will be more information sharing/informal learning, but you can't count on having a good team.  Yes you might talk your employer into paying for a training here or there, but these courses are usually pretty dumb and spending a week "in class" is just the start to actually putting the principles into action.  You still have to actively figure out how to put them in to practice in a way that applies to your problem set. 

 

The most important skill you can have is the ability to assess, learn and adapt to changing requirements and conditions - you need to be able to do this on some level just to do your job!

 

I'm really not trying to dissuade you, but I am getting a sense that you really prefer to have a "formula" in life/and or work**?  If so I think you might find software dev *very* stressful.  It's more like working with a recipe where you are trying to cook a new dish, but you are missing some ingredients so you need to find substitutes based on your previous experiece, or maybe you don't have the right cooking pan, and have to think of a way to achieve a similar result using the pan you DO have, based on prior knowledge of how pans work, in general.  You are always left improvising at least parts of the solution (if not all of it).

 

For ME that is the thrill of dev.  I LOVE it.  But if you don't enjoy some elements of uncertainty, I think you might be very unhappy at best.

 

** I want to be clear that there is nothing at all wrong with being a "formula" friendly person.  Not at all!  I am just trying to point out why this may not be a perfect fit for dev work.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, elvy said:

Low-level hardware programming seems more stable and I think will be hot with the IOT (I guess Germany has a strong demand of electronic engineering working on firmware,right), but is more difficult to break into. While software has a lower entry-barrier, but is less stable.

 

I know mostly application developers but also a few embedded and hardware people.  At the moment the robotics people are finding it hard going, but I'm not clear why.  

 

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the low level stuff goes to China and India (and remember Korea etc are already large players). 

 

Tech is fundamentally unstable, its fast changing.  I dont think anyone can accurately predict how it will look in 20 years.

 

I would focus more on what interests you.  Do you want to be soldering circuit boards, and debugging c on a bench or do you want to be building user facing web or mobile apps? Completely different work, different working culture, everything is different.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

I tried to find a job in Berlin when I moved over in 2011 but nothing panned out.

 

I've been in Munich the whole time.  I don't think this is just a "modern hip Berlin" thing.  My last company was the most Bavarian, family run business you can imagine.  VERY old fashioned and fairly down to earth.  Most employees had worked there literally their whole careers.  But they didn't think twice about hiring me as my skills were perfect for the job.  Remember that on par Germans tend to be pretty damned pragmatic.  Skills win.

 

But I'm going to say something that will probably sound unpleasant:  good devs (or even engineers I expect) don't usually rely on formal "retraining" to get to a new level - you have to CONSTANTLY learn as you go.  Almost entirely on your own!  No one is going to hold your hand, or push you in the "right" direction once you're out of the fresher stage.  If you have a good team, there will be more information sharing/informal learning, but you can't count on having a good team.  Yes you might talk your employer into paying for a training here or there, but these courses are usually pretty dumb and spending a week "in class" is just the start to actually putting the principles into action.  You still have to actively figure out how to put them in to practice in a way that applies to your problem set. 

 

The most important skill you can have is the ability to assess, learn and adapt to changing requirements and conditions - you need to be able to do this on some level just to do your job!

 

I'm really not trying to dissuade you, but I am getting a sense that you really prefer to have a "formula" in life/and or work**?  If so I think you might find software dev *very* stressful.  It's more like working with a recipe where you are trying to cook a new dish, but you are missing some ingredients so you need to find substitutes based on your previous experiece, or maybe you don't have the right cooking pan, and have to think of a way to achieve a similar result using the pan you DO have, based on prior knowledge of how pans work, in general.  You are always left improvising at least parts of the solution (if not all of it).

 

For ME that is the thrill of dev.  I LOVE it.  But if you don't enjoy some elements of uncertainty, I think you might be very unhappy at best.

 

** I want to be clear that there is nothing at all wrong with being a "formula" friendly person.  Not at all!  I am just trying to point out why this may not be a perfect fit for dev work.

I understand what you mean. I have OCD type of personality which makes me want to feel in control somehow. I'm not against learning my whole life, actually is beautiful to have a stimulating career My fear was only about been out of the market too young. In the end, nowdays, nothing is certain. In my country, not even medicine gives a certain future anymore.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, zwiebelfisch said:

 

I know mostly application developers but also a few embedded and hardware people.  At the moment the robotics people are finding it hard going, but I'm not clear why.  

 

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the low level stuff goes to China and India (and remember Korea etc are already large players). 

 

Tech is fundamentally unstable, its fast changing.  I dont think anyone can accurately predict how it will look in 20 years.

 

I would focus more on what interests you.  Do you want to be soldering circuit boards, and debugging c on a bench or do you want to be building user facing web or mobile apps? Completely different work, different working culture, everything is different.

 

I would like both. Basically want to make a decision based on better future prospect. Don't think being a web developer is actually a good career (saturated and at risk of automation). But software in general, doesn't seem bad. Surprised that low level programming can be in danger too. I have seen it at more secure.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0