To preface my response, I'm 30 so I'm in a similar-ish boat. I think I'm more connected to this issue through my dad though, who's also a software engineer and has talked about this a good amount (he's in his 60s). That being said, my perspective on this topic is limited, so would love for folks with more first-hand experience to chime in.
For your situation, my answer is: Not really (but I could be wrong).
I have a lot of thoughts on the topic, so I'll split it up into 3 parts:
- Your specific situation
- My thoughts on age discrimination in general
- What can we do about it
For Your Situation And Questions
- You're in your 30s, which isn't really the age I've seen age discrimination historically affect. I've seen it more with folks in their 40s and 50s (and of course, it's worse with folks even older than that).
- However, there is a huge difference between 39 and 30. I'm sure it's far worse at 39.
- I do think that there's an association with leadership and being older. However, I wouldn't say it's a way to "prolong" your career, which I'll talk about more in my next comment. If you're unsure on whether you want to become a software engineering manager, I recommend our masterclass on what a good engineering manager looks like.
- Another path I've seen many software engineers take after they grow past their 20s is to become a TPM (a technical project/program manager). It's generally a semi-leadership role that takes you off the code grind.
- Some SWEs will drop the "T" and become a product manager. However, I feel like this is rarer as being a good product manager is extremely difficult (harder than most people realize).