Choose your language:

Hong Kong
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

Think you're too old for an IT career? Think again

March 04, 2014

From healthcare to government to business, information technology jobs are everywhere and IT professionals are in high demand. People often associate IT jobs with young, tech-savvy experts, but there's no reason why seasoned workers can't get in on the action. In fact, your experience and expertise—even in other areas—can be major assets.

Bringing business value
Many IT careers require a basic amount of technical knowledge and skills, but even if you didn't go to school for computer science or take classes on the latest developments, you might still have just what employers are seeking in a job candidate. 

"It's about being able to demonstrate your accomplishments," Rick Gillis, author, career search expert and consultant, told CIO Magazine. "Most IT firms want to know one of two things: Can you make them money or can you save them money? Then they'll want to hire you, regardless of your age."

As tech jobs expand into diverse industries, they require an ever-increasing variety of skills. Some emphasize soft skills and the ability to solve problems with critical thinking, whereas others demand more specific technical expertise. Identifying the type of role you're interested in will help you evaluate your eligibility and determine whether you should invest some time in a few courses or certifications. For example, a career in technical writing for an information technology company usually requires the ability to comprehend and explain nuanced subjects, but does not often require education centered on computer science or technology. And project management, which can be learned in any industry, is one of the most in-demand skills. 

Adaptability is key
If you have some technology expertise in your background but are looking to make a career change, it's important to make sure you're up-to-date on some of the most important developments. This doesn't have to be overly complicated—you can start just by following some blogs or websites to stay abreast of industry news. 

"You have to be current. That is key, especially in IT," Gillis said. "I find it disturbing when I speak to clients who are older and they aren't spending time studying, staying hip and up-to-date on new technology advances."

If your chosen IT job opportunities demand  specific skills or experience, you can seek ways to supplement your resume by earning certifications. For example, ZDNet listed some of the most valuable certifications for IT careers and CIO Magazine described top certifications for IT professionals. Depending on what sort of job you're interested in, it's worth seeing whether any of these programs would make you a more competitive candidate. Similarly, it's helpful to be aware of the biggest in-demand skills for the field. Right now, these include experience with Big Data, mobile, cloud and security, according to Tech Republic.

Age can be an asset
Pursuing IT jobs when you're on the older end isn't just about playing catch-up with the latest innovations. You probably have a lot of experience and skills to offer that younger candidates are missing. 

"With our younger generation of workers, we force rotational assignments every 18 to 24 months to make sure they are gaining the knowledge and experience of some of our more seasoned people," said Mike Capone, CIO at human capital management solutions firm ADP, according to CIO Magazine. "The younger folks keep the older workers current and up-to-date, while the more experienced folks bring a level of maturity to teams."

If you spent 20 years in the business world, for example, you have a wealth of knowledge that can offer great insights for IT teams working on business projects. Now is a great time to bring these traits to the forefront, especially as many employers are looking for IT experts with a solid base of knowledge in other industries.

Blog Archive