Lance, I certainly agree that robots are cool. My undergraduate university was the first to offer a BS degree in robotocs engineering. See Robots at the university level, based on a my visit there last year.
In a previous comment here, I spoke of young engineers being more interested in writing apps than making hardware because apps are cool. Perhaps, but where would all those apps be without the infrastructure behind it? All those "cool" apps need electrical engineers to develop the electrical and optical networks that the apps can;t live without. Thus, all these apps should result in jobs for optical engineers, EEs with skills in high-speed serial links, signal integrity, FGPA, PCB design, etc.
The article, like others, talks about a few programmers who happened to strike it rich with a cool app, but those are few and far between.
I don't understand the point of this article. How can anyone be over qualified in a science profession based upon age? Would one consider going to the hospital and say "I only want a surgeon who has 10 years experience, not 30". Or, how about going to an attorney and insuring he only had less than 5 years of experience? What about a nurse? Or a college professor? Or a military strategist? Political advisor?
Robots are definitely cool, hardware in this case is referring to electronics (Silicon, GAS, etc.) , and not mechanical hardware. Most chips are actually a combination of electronic hardware and software. Mechanical hardware is always cool since you can actually visualize, that's why we add LEDS, too make our stuff look cooler.
I am not sure where anybody gets the idea they are too old for any postiion, except for the title which I did not choose and was different than what I sent in. Over half of our people are well over 40 years old. The requirements for the job was only bound on the lower end and specific to a field and systems that are <10 yrs old. They could have all the total industry experience they wanted. We are hiring these people as consultants so the more experience the better. We hire an individual with over 30 years experince and 6+ yrs in the area we requested, that is not the point of the article.
Best not to read too much between the lines. Perhaps the term target was a poor choice of words, vs expected, we never bound the upper end in any of our hiring needs. And the title did mislead, we have asked to review the title in the future.