Generations are like the groups in a classic American high school movie. A parade of stereotypes only fit for fiction… that often surpass reality. Yes, also in the world of tech professionals.
The Real Academia de la Lengua Española, despite having included the word “almóndiga” among its terms, is still an institution to turn to when we do not understand a concept well. I have written a lot about generations and, when it comes to defining it, I have drawn a blank. Therefore, the RAE has clarified that a generation is…
Set of persons who are approximately the same age
Although in this case I would go with the next dictionary entry which is….
A group of people who, have been born at similar times and have received similar education and cultural and social influences, adopt a somewhat common attitude in the field of thought or creation.
Professionals in the tech world are creators. They sculpt web pages, paint them with content and code… and still have room to make them understandable, accessible to everyone. They are also influenced by cultural, social, economic changes… because they belong to different generations. And they try to make their truth the universal truth. Because, again, they belong to different generations.
I have approached the generational reality from the tech world and it has been like a candy I had never tasted before. These are the conclusions, statistics and other data that I have been collecting from each generation.
- Born between… 1945 y 1965
- Their social network of reference is… Facebook
- Historical changes that influence them: Spanish Transition, civil rights, European openness.
I won’t dwell too much here because this generation, if you do the math, is or will soon be retired (they have more than earned it). They know the world without information technology, so they have been the true digital nomads. This is why it is harder for them to adapt to change, but that does not detract from their effort and dedication to live in a world that is increasingly distant from the one that has shaped them.
- Born between… 1965 a 1982
- Your social network of reference is… Facebook and Twitter
- Historical changes that influence them: Spanish transition, birth of the internet, globalization.
A generation marked by change and, as such, enthusiastic about the challenges it brings. They occupy prominent positions in the tech environment and are reference figures for many. With them, geeks and the digital entertainment industry were born.
They lived the programming of the 80’s and 90’s, the one that focused on banking, insurance companies and public organizations. At home they may not have known what a computer was, but they were already starting to hear the saying “if you study to be a computer scientist, you’ll have a job for sure”.
Many of them are now analysts, project managers or department heads. They have seen the Internet, its languages and programming tools change at breakneck speed. And they have been adapting to this evolution as they have done in all other aspects of their lives thanks to/despite technology.
A curiosity: in these interviews conducted by Xataca, everyone complains about labor intrusiveness, which leads a lawyer to take a Java course and move to the computer science side. Is this seen in the younger generations, or does specialization require more and more people with programming in their DNA?
- Born between… 1982 y 1996
- Their social network of reference is… Instagram
- Historical changes that influence them: Globalization, economic crisis, social polarization.
I belong to this generation and I feel like an outsider compared to those who were born in ’85. Maybe because I’m a generational bridge.
They are a disenchanted generation, especially with the future. For this reason, they live in the now without forgetting that the planet has no option B. In professional terms, they prefer to work in what they are passionate about, entrepreneurship, even if that means worse economic conditions.
Personalization and specialization are words that define very well the attitude of the millennial programmer. They are the first to have experienced the proliferation of technologies and languages on the Internet, and also those who have been able to access a tech university career on a massive scale. Prepared… and very prosumers (consumers and creators of digital).
A key fact: they want control of their personal and professional lives. In other words… they are clear about their needs and companies must satisfy them. If not, they will fly to other jobs.
Anyway, don’t get too upset with this generation. They are quite nomadic in terms of work… and in many cases it is not the fault of the companies. Or yes, but that’s up to your internal processes and employer branding.
- Born between… 1996 y 2010
- Their social network of reference is… TikTok
- Historical changes that influence them: Social polarization, health crisis, global conflicts.
Digital natives par excellence. They do not remember life without internet access, and that makes the public and private sphere dilute, as well as the analog and the digital. Multitasking, multiscreen and multi-attention. You only have a few seconds to conquer them. Also in the workplace.
Their predisposition to the Internet has led them to stand out in tech-related professions. And they have only just begun. They love bootcamps, those dynamics that simulate a work environment guided by a mentor who involves you in a real problem. Learning by doing.
We could also refer to this generation of young tech as the impact generation, but not necessarily centralized. Small projects (even individual ones) that offer solutions of different size, nature or sector. I read it on Hackerrank. They want to make an immediate impact, from minute zero, but without forgetting the work life balance. And they are comfortable with technology… and the changes that are coming in the near future. Whether in large companies or, in their favorites, startups.
Condemned to understand each other
The job of a developer is not that of a lone ranger, but rather that of the imperial fleet. No matter how good they are at what they do, it is a choreography of back, front, QA, full stack and other tech professionals. That also implies diversity of teams and generational samples in them.
There are techniques that reconcile the generations: reverse mentoring, focus on generational bridges… but this is a topic for a second article. For the moment I say yes, it can be done and it is absolutely necessary that they collaborate with each other.