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Generational Differences Affecting Technology

How generational differences can influence application design.

Being Young

I was often the youngest person on staff on many projects in my career.  I took a lot of jobs at older, established companies and usually my coworkers would be 10 - 20 years older than me.

It is nice to be younger in a lot of ways.  People are interested in what new ideas you might bring to the room. They might think you work harder because you are hungry to move up in the world.  Since you cost less, sometimes they are not as hard on you.

Of course there are a lot of disadvantages of being young as well!

Personally, I tried to keep my young appearance in different ways.  Both with lifestyle and attitude, but also with my programming.  I would often try using new technology or programming styles that were not the status norm. Loved staying up all night figuring out problems.

Unfortunately, I didn't stay young.

Getting Older

Recently I celebrated my 38th birthday.  Probably will have "senior" in my title someday.  I am worried about house maintenance and getting enough sleep.  I have a collection of quality warm socks.  I have a regular doctor.  

Of course all people are different no matter the age.  However many reasons why younger people act different is often due to their technology experience.  

The different generations

Generational Influences on ITSM Technology

Here are some differences on technology I have noticed between age groups:

  • Backups. Some younger people grew up in the cloud computing age.  They used Gmail, iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and social networks.  Their files were automatically backed up. They didn't have a backup disaster in their past.  They didn't use unreliable hard drives and floppy disks.  They didn't have the nightmares of a lost presentation or program.  Oh so lucky to never have those experiences!
  • Training. Software is now designed to be intuitive (or supposed to be), you didn't have to "learn" it.   Us old timers didn't always have the internet or simple software.  We needed vast training manuals to use "Word Perfect".  It wasn't as easy as it is today.
  • Printing. I have never had a younger person than me ask about printing.  Older people often had some unreliable software in their past, so they always printed out details for hard copy. Younger people just want it on their phone. I personally dislike printing anything, so I am still young in that aspect.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts. In the old days, You needed to remember special keyboard shortcuts to get around in the app.  Whenever someone asks me about keyboard shortcuts or "tab stops", I can always guess they are older than me.  Maybe they used a mainframe when they started.
  • Self Service.  People now expect self service websites at their companies.  It was only ten years ago that self service was an afterthought, a nice-to-have.  Now people use self service at home, and they expect it at work.  Online chat with the help desk is almost a given now.
  • Email.  Some younger people I know don't even use their personal email account.  They use social accounts and other software instead of email.  At work, I noticed many new developers are much happier using software processes rather than email processes which is nice.
  • Mobile Usage.  ServiceNow is behind on their mobile app.  They haven't released a good one yet, but everyone expects it and wants it.  Hopefully the new app released will be great!
  • Discovery.  People take ServiceNow Discovery for granted.  How it can just go out and discover your network infrastructure.  Many people just expect this due to the visibility of information and power of the internet.  To me it is an amazing feat!

Many more examples too I would think.  Being older isn't necessarily bad, especially if you appreciate the differences in age.  

Mike