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I never reply to these, but his is personal
I was once in the exact same situation you're in now, or I was thirty years ago. As yourself, IT was a career change for me and I trained to enter a new field. I won't bore you with my background and experience, but suffice to say it's varied. I?ve continuously had IT responsibility, but for a number of years, I also ran a very highly respected IT training institute that produced over 10,000 graduates. With that in mind, I can tell you there have always been entry level jobs. Likewise, many employers have always wanted three to five years experience at an entry level salary, although they seldom get it. That problem is the employer?s as much as it is yours. In my experience, few interviewers/employers rarely know what they really need. Many of the responses here are offering good advice. In light of your age I would agree that you?re far more likely to be successful in your job search if you focus on smaller companies, particularly where IT supports the business rather than ?is? the business. Yes, age discrimination is illegal but it?s also rampant, especially in IT. Be observant when on an interview. If you don?t see people in your age range don?t expect or hope for a job offer. What?s most important is that you maintain a positive attitude. Without it you?ll sabotage every interview as you walk in the door. Also maintain confidence in your ability without being cocky or acting like a know it all. Self confidence is something you wear on your sleeve; if an interviewer doesn?t see it, you?ll seldom get a job offer. With respect to those technical questions you can?t answer, I say this. I?ve never met anyone in the field, coming out of school, or walking on the street for that matter, who didn?t know more about at least one thing than I do. Technical questions should be designed to test the depth and breathe of your knowledge; personally, I?ve always used these questions to try to determine whether an applicant was a student as well as a practitioner. Understand that every position has a technical threshold that must be satisfied, if you don?t meet it you?re rejected immediately. That does not necessarily mean you have be an expert. Are you as ?expert? in IT as you?ll ever be or hope to be? Certainly not at this stage. Beyond that it?s the intangibles that make the difference in the selection of an applicant. A job interview is a sales pitch. Pick up a good book on interview technique. It will identify those intangibles and explain how to sell them. You would be surprised at how many companies don?t realize that those intangibles are as important to them, and sometimes more important than present technical knowledge. Most people changing careers have skills and experience that are universally applicable. What are yours? Identify them and don?t be afraid to emphasize them (note, I didn?t say to grossly exaggerate). Lastly, you went to school (or back to school) for a reason. Has that changed? You?ve had the determination to complete your degree. You put in the time and the effort and I commend you for it; I did it myself and, as I said earlier, I saw 10,000 other people do it. Are you any less determined to start a career in IT? Don?t be. And don?t just accept rejection. After a rejection letter, don?t be afraid to call back and ask why. You?ll be surprised at the number of honest answers that you get. Learn from each rejection and put it to work for you on the next interview.