I'm in school right now, and in a couple of years, I'm going to look for work as a software/systems engineer. The thing is that right now, I'm 32 years old.
With age being a potential issue, where is age less of an issue? What type of company/culture should be absolutely avoided? Any warning signs?
Some backstory, if you have the time. (TL;DR, I'll be an "old" man in a new job, and it could suck.)
I've got a couple more years to go before I graduate with a BS (Yes, I know degrees aren't everything, but I have none at all, except for an Arabic AA.) in CompSci, as well as several AASs (in Computer Programming, Web Development, and Comp Sci) and several certs (C++, Java, OracleSQL). Right now, I'm just not comfortable putting myself on the market because I don't feel yet I'm even an "average good" programmer, though I'm putting tremendous effort toward that.
On the bright side, I didn't start out software/tech ignorant. I was in the Marines for 8 years, finishing the last three in Special Operations Intelligence (Signals), and did contracting for a year in a company that specialized in networking centric geolocation. Got laid off and went back to school. Then was hired as a contract worker for Google for over a year and a half. I've had plenty of computer science exposure and OJT in programming (also UAS systems, remote sensing, GIS, database design/implementation, and SDRs), but have only really dedicated myself academically to Computer Science/Software Engineering in the last year, after realizing this really is what makes me happy, and where I seem to have the most suitable talents.
Thing is, I'm going to be a 34-35 year old entry level employee, working with 22-24 year olds starting fresh as well, but they are all shiny and new(and may actually have more experience in tech industry), which may make me look bad. People my age will have over 10 years experience and will not be my peers, likely having senior positions in company. I feel it could be a situation where it looks like I'm experienced because of my age, but when I behave like a new guy, which I will be, I'll be treated like an idiot, instead of a new guy. I've got a family to worry about, so this is really stressing me out.