Can I start a career in IT after 50?

1545 pts.
Career Development
Degree programs
IT careers
Networking certifications
I am nearly 50! But I want to change my career from social services to IT. I have a BS degree in social science. I live near a junior college that offers AS degrees in CIS with concentrations in CCNP or CCNA. Which is the better option? Is it possible to take these classes online? Or is hands-on with a teacher better? Do I stand a chance of being hired as an IT specialist at this ripe old age?

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Age is just a number in my view.
First I would like to tell you, Decide as to what you are interested IN?
Secondly, Find out the opprotunities in the market, if there is a huge requirement then companies may over look the age. So better choose something which has market and necessity.
Finally.. Class Room training is always better than Online classes.. If there is something you do NOT understand then you have the tutor to teach you, where as in online teachings you may have write an email or google, which is time killing.

Be a Self decider !!!


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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear Sir or Madam: I can't be entirely rosy about your prospects as a junior IT person at the age of 50 (I'm about to be 56 myself) but I can say that if you do pursue a degree and certification, that will make a convincing show of interest and enthusiasm. If you can dig into and learn the material, I have no doubt you can do the work. You'll need to get a CCNA as a prerequisite to the CCNP, so it's not an either/or proposition: you must get a CCNA to earn any other advanced certs from Cisco. Yes, you can take many such classes online, but you'll need to check with your local community college to find out what's available from them. Please post again if you have any further comments, questions, or concerns. Thanks for posting, --Ed--
    13,955 pointsBadges:
  • Jaideep Khanduja
    I have seen many people going for career or profession diversification even at this age and reaching new heights. It all depends on your desire, fire, will-power and enthusiasm. If you have got a message from within, go for it, obviously hands on experience or learning is always better than the distant or online learning. Meanwhile start preparing a list of your prospective clients (from within your current known contacts), start a small campaign to update your business contacts about your new venture, with a request to give you an opportunity.
    19,805 pointsBadges:
  • Schmidtw
    Now, I may be a bit young to fully relate but when you are in the I.T. world, you get to know a lot of people. Most of my aquaintances over 45 are into more contracter/consultation work. Companies without the internal resources to carry out a job will hire a company with contractors to do it for them. Food for thought.
    11,330 pointsBadges:
  • Robert Stewart
    Follow your bliss, in other words do what makes you happy, if you are happy doing IT work and can do the work it will not matter what age you are. The key is to find a career that makes you happy first. Age can be a hinderance at times, but for an entry level position it might not be the critical factor in the decsion to hire you. Your age may be just what some IT companies are looking for, maybe offer to start off at a lower pay scale in order to prove yourself. If your joining a career field for only monetary reasons I would suggest you look elsewhere, again the key is what makes you happy, if your happy and successful potential employers will see this. Of course get all the education, certs, you can first and if there is an internship at the local college sign up. Good luck on your decision.
    1,810 pointsBadges:
  • Pressler2904
    I posted a recent reply (rant) to a question regarding how to obtain the best salary in IT, and I basically said what has been said above: follow your passion. My wife went to Nursing School with a retired accountant who was 65 years old. He graduated as an RN and started a successful 2nd career, so if the desire is there, no age is a barrier. Be aware that over 50, MANY concerns will not consider you for any position (from first hand experience)if you are about 45 yrs old or more...
    2,190 pointsBadges:
  • Silurian
    Being in my early 40's, I find the idea interesting to totally switch career paths. I am currently in IT myself and thought about finding a different job path. These days with IT being more about project and people management than technical skills, it just isn't "fun" anymore. I get so tired of the processes, procedures, ticketing systems, hour tracking, project tracking, etc. You should also be aware of the fact that as an company IT person you will be thought of as an drain on the company resources. If you get into a service/support organization, you will be expected to constantly and accurately bill for your time and the more hours you can bill the better for the company (but not necessarily for you). The best part of IT is using those technical skills and making things work which is only about 10% of the time. You should also be aware that IT is being heavily outsourced especially entry-level type positions. Anyway, good luck in your career choice. Just be glad that you don't live in Thailand. They don't hire IT people over 35 years old!
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Jdmailny
    I can relate to greatly to what your doing, I attempted to become a teacher at the age of 44 years old after being in IT for 15 year and went back to IT. A good game plan to start is go get your CCNA, while not quiting your job and get employeed part time with a best buy, yes even with a CCNA or see if you can get full time employeed with Dell which I have noticed does employ people who are in our age group, consultanting could provide a entry into the profession. I'm routing for you and I will say a prayer. God Bless
    25 pointsBadges:
  • Shaba
    I am 42 years old. Have experience in ICT / IS sector for 12 years. I am an M.Sc. (statistics) from india and MBA from the UK. My work experience spans across India, middle east and the UK. For the last one and half years (since my return to India) I have become interested in SAP BI and have worked as freelancer in addition to holding other jobs as SAP Business One consultant as well as business development head studying the market opportunities of SAP BI for a particular city in India. Now I am concentrating fully in SAP BI. Earlier I have worked with sybase 10, Oracle 9i, ms sql server 2005 in addition to various operating systems and software applications and ERPs. Please advise if it is possible for me to find a good job in SAP BI now?
    15 pointsBadges:
  • Shilpa Venkateshwaran
    Age is just a number. IT is one of the few industry where there is so much flexibilty that age is the least of the concerns.
    2,500 pointsBadges:
  • Meandyou
    I don't mean to rain on the parade of "age doesn't matter" responses, but the other point of view is that there are many, many 50+ year olds with 30 and 40 years of experience that cannot find work. Now, I am talking about mainframe (system z) jobs. Many of the jobs that these folks are qualified for (and experienced in) have been shipped from the U.S. to places like India and Brazil. These are folks who are SysProgs and other software gurus (whether SMP or CICS or JES or DB2 or what have you). So I suggest you check the job market in your area. The local college placement / guidance office may be able to help. Also the local unemployment office might have some info. Good luck.
    5,220 pointsBadges:
  • Daniel247
    I'm an accountant, 45 and looking to change careers. I'm tired of the long hours and month-end pressure. My wife is a computer programmer in IT, she loves it and makes way more money than I do. I have good computer skills, exposure to a lot of business, personal software and a number of accounting programs. I have a good working knowledge of the internal workings of computers, self taught out of an interest in them. I strip them down, add memory to them, back up data, restore crashed hard drives, perform various hardware upgrades including cleaning and restoring Windows operating systems. So I think I have a better-than-most knowledge of computers. My wife supports my decision to switch to IT, specifically in Networking where she thinks that I will do well. She says that the MSCE certification will supplement my love of computers and be a good start. Does anybody have any ideas on this, as well as how to go about getting an entry level IT job with the skills that I have while taking a 6 month certification course?
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Labnuke99
    The job market is very tough all over. With the right drive and the right opportunity there will probably be something out there for you. Take a look at 10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Starting My IT Career These tips might help you with preparing for a career change. One good way to get experience and offer value at the same time is to volunteer to offer IT support to non-profit organizations. It's a win-win for everyone.
    32,960 pointsBadges:
  • Karenclark
    Why not? It’s never too late to switch paths to something you feel strongly about. The only thing I would tell you is be prepared to start out at the bottom. While your age and previous experience will give you certain skills that your future employers will find valuable, you have to remember the field of IT is entirely new for you and you must start your training at the base level just like others. As far as education is concerned, why don’t you opt for a full <a href="">Computer Science degree</a>? I would think a CS degree would be a lot more comprehensive and give you an edge in the job market. In fact, Stevens-Henager College offers this degree online as well as on campus. The school also offers an AS program in Computer Technology and Networking that you can consider.
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Stevesz
    As a business owner, I can say we would consider hiring you IF you can show us you can do the work we need you to do. We would ask you real world questions of things we have worked with and see how you would resolve the issue. We have seen too many people who have a lot of book learning, but do not have a clue as to how things really work. They do not get hired. The problem here is a disconnect with the academic vs. the real world. The cases they use to teach you are hypothetical and do not include anything else that may be a factor except what they are trying to teach you. We are also wary of people who are on the bandwagon for one OS over the other. All OS's are good and have their place, but not all can meet all needs all the time. The fact is that the business world runs on Windows. There are Macs scattered here and there in Windows environments, but there are very few that run Macs exclusively. Linux also pops up as well, but I seldom see Linux machines installed on a corporate wide scale, though I do see a lot of Linux in some tech companies. I would think that your best bet is to look around at smaller companies to get you foot in the door. I'd suspect they would be more open to hiring you if they need your skill set. Larger companies tend to shy away from older workers looking to break into a new field with a ton of excuses meant to keep them away from an age discrimination suit. You must have some idea of what it is you would like to do in the field, and as others have said, follow that passion. Learn all you can about that aspect. Regular web searches on that topic and problems presented to you in class will give you a broader understanding which should hold you in good stead. I've been doing this stuff for more than 25 years and have changed direction several times (I guess I get bored easily), so do not be surprised if you find something else that may interest you more than your original goal. I've gone from being a low man on a totem pole in one area to being a low man on a totem pole in another several times. Now, as an owner, I am freer to pick and chose the jobs that I do--yes, I still go out in the field--which makes it more fun for me. But being a peon also has its advantages, exposing you to more than you might otherwise be exposed to. I wish you success.
    2,015 pointsBadges:
  • GregInAtl
    I agree with meandyou. I am 60yrs old and have been in IT for over 30 years. Many IT jobs are being offshored to India so there are a lot of stateside IT folks out of work. I think this is going to drive the salaries down here. The IT job market is very competitive. It's not like the good old days where companies are begging for experienced IT people and will offer alot of percs to get them. The thing about IT is that you have to continually upgrade your skills, often at your own expense, to be marketable jobwise. You can become yesterdays news rather quickly. Many employers, when they switch to new technology, instead of training their existing staff will just lay them off and hire someone that already knows the technology they are switching to since they know they won't have any trouble finding anyone. If it were me switching careers, I would consider something in IT that is not technlogy dependent like project management or Business Administration with an IT minor . If you can manage projects it doesn't matter if the software runs on Unix, Windows or is written in Java, Visual Basic or whatever.
    35 pointsBadges:
  • Batuoj
    Hi there, I am 35 years with some computer maintenance and networking skills and willing to drive into the professional world. I will rather go for certification considering my age. I just need your advice. I hope am within age and will catch a job easily after then.
    10 pointsBadges:
  • jimfritz09
    Why do you say that online college is not as good as a community college? With everything online don't you think it would give someone a step up on everyone else?
    10 pointsBadges:
  • mohiik
    I Agree With Respected Imran, Jaideep Khanduja & Shilpa Venkateshwaran

    10 pointsBadges:
  • ToddN2000
    It is possible. You just need to get lucky. After coding in the RPG world for close to 30 years I made a change to the VB.NET world at the age of 49. I have bee here for a few years now and enjoy the new challenged. The possible reason for the new position is I am coding web services for a company linking their web presence to the back end system, an IBM mid range computer.
    136,240 pointsBadges:

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