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How long can you work as an engineer ?

  1. May 1, 2010 #1
    I heard that engineering such as software or electrical demands younger age and older one gets fired around 50... .

    The reason is that th techology and new programming develops rapidly; therefore, old ppl tend to go ad new ppl come often.

    But I think civil enigineers can work longer if they are in government firm.

    So my question is what is the general retirement age for each discipline of engineering ?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I can't speak to Civil Engineering, but for EEs and certainly here in Silicon Valley, age makes basically no difference on its own. What matters is your intelligence, your experience, how well you work with others, and your level of contribution to your projects. At my current company, we have a number of senior engineers over 50 (myself included), who are extremely valued contributors on their projects. You absolutely need to keep learning throughout your career (often on your own time), in order to stay current on new developments and technologies. But if you do that and work hard, getting some snow on the roof doesn't soften the fire that burns within. (Hey, that's poetic!)
  4. May 2, 2010 #3
    My grandmother's retiring from a civil gig at a gov't agency this year; she's 72 and mostly retiring 'cause her boss is too and has been there for about 30 years. I think there are some guys older than her still there.
  5. May 2, 2010 #4

    D H

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Strictly speaking this is highly illegal. It's called age discrimination. Not that this doesn't happen; high tech firms in Silicon Valley are among the bigger culprits.

    The US Department of Labor may have statistics on that; you may want to research it on your own. Some people dream of retiring at 50. That doesn't happen for most people. We have to keep working until we reach 60 or even 70.

    There are some ways to counter the bias some companies/industries have toward younger people. First and foremost, you will need to grow. Expecting to hold on to an entry-level position is unrealistic and is demeaning of yourself. Entry-level positions are for people with little or no experience, little or no skills. Companies expect people to advance with experience. There are many areas for advancement. Climbing the management ladder is an obvious one. Some companies have technical ladders, some have technical sales reps. Striking out on your own is yet another route.
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