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Retired techies, are you still engaged in tech?
Old 02-16-2021, 09:00 PM   #1
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Retired techies, are you still engaged in tech?

When I was writing code for a living (a long long time ago), I was getting a little burned out. But I could still remember when coding was fun, and I was sure I'd find that fun again once I retired.

I surprised myself by having no urge to code. I took up other hobbies, and found them quite fulfilling for years.

Then one day, I wandered into a makerspace of sorts. I was there to do some woodworking, but there were a few techies around. And it felt like home.

So for the past couple years, I've been combining tech urges with woodworking and doing a fair bit of CNC routing, laser cutting, 3D modeling, etc.

And along the way, I fell in love again with tech stuff via Arduino, Raspberry Pi, robots, IoT, .... Dang. My passion has been totally re-kindled.

So I'm curious if this is an experience shared with others who have retired from tech. Is tech still a post-retirement passion for you?
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Old 02-16-2021, 10:42 PM   #2
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I retired as an electrical engineer (avionics designer). Did plenty of programming as well. I miss the creative part and the comradery. I keep up with reading trade journals and play around with python...tech moves fast. And well...I open up our broken TVs, computers and phones and keep them running way too long.
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Old 02-16-2021, 11:05 PM   #3
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Fixing computers has become difficult. Surface-mounted proprietary chips. Ugh. I need a microscope to do even the simplest soldering job.

And it took me a while to warm up to Python. (Indentation has meaning!?) But it's growing on me, and the platforms for micropython are a lot of fun.

I agree about tech moving fast, but it's moving in a direction that makes it more accessible, which I find exciting. I mean anybody can build embedded systems, massively parallel AI toys, etc. That stuff used to require a PhD.
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Old 02-16-2021, 11:06 PM   #4
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I'm not retired (yet) but I don't see myself stopping programming afterwards. After the day job I still have my own projects, and once the day job is out of the way I'll be able to make more progress. So if anything it should accelerate.

There was never much camaraderie either at work or at home, which has always felt like a shame. Perhaps when I'm not working I can put more energy into looking for makerspace type places or online community or going to conferences. At the moment though I just don't have the time. Of course there's the detail of this global pandemic... though actually it's made the conferences go online which seems like it might have some upside. But on the other hand, an online conference though just feels like... what's the point? May as well watch youtube and then lecture my cat.

A bigger problem is that those things only exist for the more popular interests, but it's a big world out there. It sure seems like the DIY CAD / 3D printing / hardware gadget world has been exploding so there should be plenty of company there.
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Retired techies, are you still engaged in tech?
Old 02-17-2021, 12:55 AM   #5
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Retired techies, are you still engaged in tech?

I was a programmer and I enjoyed it. I thought when I retired I might start doing some programming related to my hobby ( music ) . But as time went on and I had the opportunity to get better at playing music, I actually did get better and was having a lot more fun making music than programming. I have zero interest in programming now.
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:03 AM   #6
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After 20+ yrs of coding, no desire to do it after retiring 11 yrs ago. Great career, but I'm a lot more interested in other things now.
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:07 AM   #7
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I'm envious of anybody with musical chops. I took up guitar playing about 10 years ago, mostly because I perceived it as a humongous challenge. Not my strongest brain hemisphere.

So I played a little fingerstyle and started to become intrigued with guitar tonal variation. Started wondering about the physics involved. And got sucked into building guitars, mostly as a way to experiment with some of the physical parameters.

That led to an interest in CNC and 3D modeling as a path to rapid prototyping.

So basically I got sucked back into tech because it was easier than making music.
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twaddle View Post
When I was writing code for a living (a long long time ago), I was getting a little burned out. But I could still remember when coding was fun, and I was sure I'd find that fun again once I retired. I surprised myself by having no urge to code. I took up other hobbies, and found them quite fulfilling for years.
I'm still self employed, but writing code isn't as exciting as it used to be. I started out on small 8-bit computers writing assembly code. It was fun seeing what I could do with those simple computers. These days I develop software for Windows PC's, but am still way behind on current trends. Unfortunately, most people are moving to phones or tablets, and software sales are moving to corralled stores (Google Play, Microsoft Store, etc.). Online subscription services just feel greedy to me. I guess I've gotten tired of keeping up with tech changes and changing markets. I just don't have the desire to learn new languages, devices, or operating systems at this stage in my life.

A year or two ago I thought I would continue writing software after retirement. Now I'm not so sure. I still have a limited niche market, but sales are definitely on the decline. I'll do my best to keep the business going for the next couple years until I retire, but I'm not putting a lot of effort into new software or growing the business anymore. Every few months I get the coding bug again, but it's slowly losing it's appeal.

I studied electronics in college, but kind of got away from that field when I started writing software. These days I don't have the eyesight to be working on those ever smaller electronics projects.

30 years ago I always had to have the latest tech gadget. These days it means very little to me. There's too much to follow and it changes too quickly. I have developed other hobbies like woodworking and creating videos that interest me more these days. I like to take things slower now and prefer a simpler less tech centered lifestyle.
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:24 AM   #9
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I was a programmer for 33 years.

Retired for almost 5 years, I also have zero interest in writing code.

I'd rather do work in the yard, or fix something around the house, or wax the car or change the car oil, etc.

I do surf the web with my Chromebook and Kindle tablets. That's as close to technology as I get these days.

Well, and I fire up my Windows 10 desktop just to open a video call with friends. Logging into Windows reminds me how tedious the platform is - constant updates and reboots and the disk drive always churning away madly doing something. I'm so glad I no longer have to use the damn thing 40+ hours a week!
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Old 02-17-2021, 06:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RetiredAt55.5 View Post
I was a programmer for 33 years.

Retired for almost 5 years, I also have zero interest in writing code.

I'd rather do work in the yard, or fix something around the house, or wax the car or change the car oil, etc.
Sounds familiar. Here's my story.

I was a programmer for 33 years.

Retired for almost 3 years, I also, also, have zero interest in writing code.

I'd much rather do work in the yard. I stopped waxing my old car, but I change the oil, etc.

I'm into "hands work" and volunteer doing light carpentry and handyman work helping people affected by disasters.

I see a day in about 7 to 10 years where I will not be physically able to do this work, and hope at that time to dabble in code and tech, but I'm not sure because right now, I have absolutely zero desire! It is incredible how much I don't care for something I used to absolutely love.
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:03 AM   #11
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So I'm curious if this is an experience shared with others who have retired from tech. Is tech still a post-retirement passion for you?
Software engineering / mathematics is an enjoyable hobby for me - it always has been. I suspect that there aren't many geezers who code, but we exist as oddities upon the human landscape.

When I climb into my software engineering cockpit, I'm using what is arguably the most powerful tool ever created by ingenious humans. You really expect me to give this up just because I'm elderly? Ain't gonna happen.

P.S. We old guys have a history in tech that the youngsters just can't match. For example, in the mid-1970s my Dad (an engineering college prof) arranged for me to talk with a prof at his university about a summer internship working with his computer, which was basically a row of lights and associated hardware (an accumulator). Not exactly the sexiest of computer human interfaces. I ended up working on a family farm in North Dakota instead. That old computer is now probably processing IRS 2020 tax returns.
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:04 AM   #12
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Retired software developer. I had this idea that I'd create some programs/apps for fun, but trying to set up my environment was a pain and I wasn't having any fun so I bagged it. I've helped maintain and update a few web pages, which sometimes means dropping into using HTML tags. So, no, hardly any.
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:34 AM   #13
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I'm recently retired after a thirty year career in tech. I spend a few hours every day reading papers, writing code and generally exploring pure math. I am also fascinated by electronics and spend a lot of time breadboarding circuits.

This is such a fascinating field, there is an endless amount of material to cover.

I just finished re-reading Alan Turing's original 1936 paper and wow is it amazing. I last read it over thirty years ago in grad school for an exam and I did not appreciate it then.

Today, for no particular reason, I started reading about Lamport's Paxos algorithm for distributed consensus. I'm loving retirement :-)
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:59 AM   #14
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After 20+ yrs of coding, no desire to do it after retiring 11 yrs ago. Great career, but I'm a lot more interested in other things now.
+1
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Old 02-17-2021, 08:08 AM   #15
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After 20+ yrs of coding, no desire to do it after retiring 11 yrs ago. Great career, but I'm a lot more interested in other things now.
+1

I was full time programmer for a bit over a decade, and adjacent to it for a decade before that. I wrote some genuinely fun software, stuff people really loved. I got a kick out of seeing all the interesting ways they used it and enjoyed the process of continually improving. I loved creating new things and pushing boundaries. I was engaged, really really engaged.

But things change. I thought it was the job, the ecosystem, the tool chain, the methodology. I thought all that was getting worse. I thought when I retired that I'd spend a few months hanging out and then I'd have a spark of inspiration and go deep into a problem without having to worry about market opportunity, board presentations, the latest framework or technical debt.

I was wrong. It wasn't any of those things. It was me.

I thought all those meetings were keeping me from my screen, hard problems and elegantly coded solutions. Really it was my screen keeping me from doing all the other things I really wanted to be doing. These days I'm far more interested in developing a new and exciting pasta salad for DW and I to enjoy on a picnic.
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Old 02-17-2021, 08:12 AM   #16
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H*ll no.
I did about everything you could do in technology, development, support, performance, disaster recovery..... most of these were trial by fire. You learn a lot if you can't go home until the customer is happy. Many of the development projects I had the pleasure of working on had failed in prior attempts, there were many midnight to six am learning experiences. My BP is up just typing this.

No, not ever again.
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Old 02-17-2021, 08:43 AM   #17
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After a career in electronics, software, and systems engineering, I have retired to carpentry. I have been building my own house for the last 7 years or so and enjoy it as much as I did learning about the tech stuff so many years ago. I want to put some tech and a home theater in my house, so I will do what I need to make that work. Its all fun. Focusing on code is more of an effort than it used to be.
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:06 AM   #18
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Great responses. As I mentioned, woodworking became an interest of mine as well. Guitar making specifically, and there's nothing as satisfying as making thin curls of wood with a sharp plane.

But I would find myself sometimes frustrated by the lack of precision. "Eyeballing." "Sanding to the mark."

You've got computer skills, and a robotic router catches your eye, well it's an odd love story. FWIW, I find the only woodworkers willing to even consider a CNC almost always have a background in tech or engineering.
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:08 PM   #19
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I am still engaged. Computers and tech were always a strong interest since I first started coding in high school. It was a key reason why many times my job was more like a hobby. My home lab peaked at around 16 servers running close to a dozen different operating systems, and multiple types of web servers, application servers, databases, management tools, etc. In the course of the year I might program in a dozen different languages. Combined with my work lab, Megacorp let me get any software and access to all kinds of hardware platforms for free, unlimited use.

I still engage more based on interest and curiosity. I keep writing code, just not in as many languages, as a way to keep my mind sharp.I keep a list on my home office whiteboard of open source technologies that I come across that seem interesting, and may one day play with. Virtualization, Docker, and the cloud make it easy to get those things up and running. I have accounts in the "free" tier for the major cloud vendors, which gives me access to interesting APIs (which I never use at the rate at which they charge me).

My biggest "challenge" is to not spend too much time at a stretch in front of the servers and monitors. I have learned to keep the snacks on another floor of the house from my home computing center.
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:16 PM   #20
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Software developer for 20+ years. Left it all behind in 2017. No regrets. Well, maybe a little regret. I didn't manage my career (i.e., job choices) very well, and I neglected trying to make friends with the people I worked with. And then there's the H-1B visa issue, which is more of an issue in my part of the US than in others. If I had managed things better, I might still be in it.

The field was key in helping my wife and me retire early, but I've no interest in getting back into it, nor am I interested in staying engaged in it post-retirement.
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