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Need advice..30 yr old female switching over to IT career..is it too late?

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Need advice..30 yr old female switching over to IT career..is it too late?

ash-post
Hi,
I'm looking at moving into an IT career (network/system administration) and need some advices on whether this would be a wise decision.

I have been working in the media industry for a number of years as TV assistant editor, video editor and new media technical operator.

Would it be too late at the age of 30 to switch career especially if I don't have any working history in the IT industry, although I've had plenty of experiences with computers at my current job - hardware/software installation, setting up office networks, troubleshooting tech issues - I'm sort of the unofficial tech person at work.

And also being female, what are the chances of getting a job in IT? I have a B.A degree and would be looking at getting the required IT certification.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Ashley
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    DaveDXB

    To start doing anything is never to late.

    But the truth is...IT industry doesnt really bring in big money such as other industries. Plus in IT, there are so many Gurus out there who you will have to compete with.

    IT is like being a mathmatician...lot of effort and work invovled...but in the end...ur just a teacher in high school...you dont make money like a business man...

    The **** with IT...dont go for it.

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    Shellbot

    sorry mate, but thats one sh1tty outlook on things..

    doesn't bring in as much money? totally depends on what you do and where you are.

    IT support generally pays feck all unless your the manager..but how about a Senior Developer..pretty good money for that in my world.

    too many guru's? the IT world needs regular people as well..if you want to become a guru..work hard at it and you will..learn the new stuff..AJAX is the buzz right now..find the next new buzz and learn it..

    "IT is like being a mathmatician...lot of effort and work invovled...but in the end...ur just a teacher in high school...you dont make money like a business man"
    Any decent job is a lot of effort and hard work mate..so you want a paycheck for doing nothing?
    high shcool teacher?? what exact job are you doing?
    money like a business man?
    what?? My husband is a developer and makes more than a lot of business men we know..

    maybe you need to re-evaluate what your doing and where your going. its one thing for you to be unhappy, but don't discourage people who are looking to get into the game because you're having a rough time of it..

    how do you know Ash won't learn her stuff, get a great job and be happy with it? Or maybe when she's got 20 years experience in it she won't invent some new great thing in networking?

    I hope you cheer up mate :) Its not all that bad :)

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    DaveDXB

    Dont u read the news my friend....dont make me say it out loud WORD for WORD....it outsourcing is becoming the answer now... TO make what im saying short...

    Call microsoft or cisco or linksys or any big time IT company...and see who pics up the phone...as them were they are located lool...

    This is the TOP NOTCH support you get.

    All the smaller companies are HARDLY making it competing with the big guys...IT is becoming aaaaaaaaaaaaaall about outsourcing...and most of the companies outsour..a.h.what the heck..i see u in 25 years and let you know what happens. :)

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    Wizard-09

    Yes they maybe outsourcing the job's, but i think your talking about call center I.T support, and let's face it all you have to do is read from a script and have the answers to many questions on the data-base.

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    jdclyde

    I know several unemployed techs right now, but that is just how Michigan is right now.

    Check out the local markets for postings for tech jobs.

    Keep in mind that many techs get hired in as help desk for your entry level, and can take years before getting to actually do the Admin jobs.

    I personally welcome people to the field, but don't see a rosy future in it.

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    too_old

    I am having a hard time finding a IT job mainly because I am over 50 and perceived as not being able to do what I am interviewing for or it would take them too much time to bring me up to speed or just being old. Anyway, my point is one must understand the perceptions of the career to be chosen and realize it is a done deal if you do not match.

    Please do not project your negative experiences onto someone else. We are all unique. Sometimes one can succeed at something that another cannot no matter how much they try.

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    mtaylor619

    Opportunities in IT are astounding and remarkably stable IF YOU HAVE TALENT. You can be a generalist and live almost anywhere, but be aware that being a specialist may define where you live.
    Also, get some training in IT from a decent school. It does not have to be MIT, in fact, probably best if it is not too ivy league. A solid technical school teaches the most common software in use, using the most commonly utilized devices. After you master that you can choose a specialty and make bigger money.
    ALSO: Women in IT, big need. Not many of them out there and some customers really prefer a woman's persistance and innate customer service ability.

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    ash-post

    Thanks for your advice. It's exactly what I need in order to make an informed decisions.

    I understand that it would be quite competitive with, like what you said "so many Gurus out there" and I know it would involve hard work and long hours.

    But I've always thought the average salary in IT was quite high so I'm surprise to hear you say IT doesn't bring in big money.

    At the moment I'm on $45K per year (australian dollars) which is about US$39K. I'd be happy to earn around $60K, thats about US$53K. Can I expect to earn this type of salary after working in IT for, say about 2-3 years as Network or Systems Support/Administrator? I've been looking at job advertisements and they're paying up to $80K (US$70K), of course this is probably more for 3rd level support.

    Another reason I want to move into IT is for job security. The IT job market looks more promising than the media/entertainment industry. With the right qualifications, I think it would be easier to find work in IT compared to finding work in film/television/video.

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    DaveDXB

    Taking into account i currently live in a coutry that is the hub of cash flow.

    I work for a company in Oil trading, Real Estate...

    Lets not get itno numbers here....What i meant was....maybe if you put urself in the RIGHT business atmosphere (marketing, trading) You'll be urning up to 5 times the numbers u mentioned earlier...

    But of course...this all depends on what YOU want out of ur life...for me...all i see right now is a joke in IT. I wish i was a guru in busienss or marketing like these guys in my office.,...

    I HARDLY see an IT guy owning his own jet airplane....6 cars...etc...pls point out an IT guy who has that kind of life (besides Bill Gates)

    THATS what i meant...i just want the best for you....and IT is not truely the kind of choice to puyt on the BEST list...keep it for last.

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    Shellbot

    well..depending on the state of the market there at the time..its going to take a while to climb the ladder..80K..i would expect you'd be wanting about 7-10 years of highly technical experience for that. and only a very large organisation would be paying that kind of money i'd say.

    again, depending on market..it will take you a couple years to hit 45K..

    the average salary in IT varies..its a huge area girl..the big money is where there is not enough staff..system/network admins..a good few of those around..trick is to be better than the rest..
    all depends on whats "hot"..and whats hot today is not hot next year..for example, in ireland 5 years ago anyone who could program Java was a god and got paid accordingly. now..unless your very good at it..most places don't pay a lot for it at all..

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    sgt_shultz

    Your background in video editing will be a real plus. Get the certs and you will get the dough. At least in the US. The salary range for network/system admins is generally $45K to $65K depending on the region. Your current qualifications are plenty enought to get you in the door right now. Good luck.
    My friend is getting her nursing degree. She is 62. Right on. You still have time for couple more careers, easy.

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    ash-post

    Many thanks sgt_shultz, hearing that is such great encouragement.

    Do you have any recommendations on what would be the best certificates to get for this? I've been looking at the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications. Would that be the right path to go?

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    too_old

    I am female and have been in the IT field for 27 years. I would call myself a IT generalist now. During my job search, the majority of the 'expert' opinions say that one must 'specialize' in one area of IT mainly because the technology changes so rapidly. There are jobs where one can make good money at a mid to senior level (70K - 100,000K plus benefits in the US), one can be a contractor and make $40/hr without benefits supplied by company, one can be a independent consultant making $200/hr without benefits, and so on. Cycles occur in this industry and sometimes during a cycle there may less stability in keeping a job. In my opinion, for the present 'stable' industries in this country is the medical, medical insurance and medical billing fields.

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    ITCompGuy

    Do Not...I REPEAT...Do Not listen to the negative responses or even the overly positive ones. I say lean towards the positive, but keep in mind that there is always a bad side to every occupation. I am currently 41 years old. I decided to go into IT in my 30's. I was 33 years old when I got my first IT entry level job and it was paying around $40,000 dollars US. It depends on how you apply yourself and your professionalism and drive.

    Too many Gurus? Anyone who has been in this field for any amount of time can tell you that NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING. I have run across a lot of people who have made me feel like I was in the wrong field due to their wide knowledge base. Some of this has come from education, but the majority has come from experience and working hard. If you are put in field, learn everything you can in whatever job you are able to get. Then you take that knowledge and experience to the next level. Most IT departments have TEAMS! This means that you have several people that are GURU's at some discipline, and TOGETHER they make organizations run. You sound like you have the drive, so do what makes you happy. One word of advise from me would be to not do it because of the money, but do it because you like technology. If you like the technology and work hard, eventually the money will come. Who wants to go to a doctor who became a doctor just because he wanted the "Dr." title and to make money. A doctor has to have a love for medicine and learning first, and the money will be the cream on top.

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    Shellbot

    Why not get into IT?
    And what does being a woman have to do with it?
    30 is not exactly dead..

    If its soemthing you are interested and you would like to do, go for it. Do you know anyone who does the job you want to do? If so..try and arrange to shadow them for a couple days.
    You've stated you have a bit of experience there..so build on it and go for it..

    I'm *cough cough...29-ish* and its only in the past year or two i've really started to do what i want to do in IT..not everyone wants to hire a 19 year old you know..you've business experience..don't knock it!

    maybe you won't get rich..but if you enjoy what your doing, then what the heck.

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    DaveDXB

    Im LOVE IT...i enjoy what i do for the last God knows when...but at the end of the day Who pays my bills....etc....

    I cantg beleive SO MUCH EFFORT is put into my job...the amount of complexity and houyrs put it....all in the end...just for sake of mind? ahhaha...I prefer the cash :) Which is definitly not here....

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    Shellbot

    yer right, your never going to own your own plane..but be real here..how many people really do..
    the ones that do, they usually had to work really hard to get to where they are..
    look at stock brokers, can make a fortune, they work really hard though and burn out early..

    well..depends on how much you looking to make..again, without getting into numbers..my long term plan is to go into datawarehousing..so in about oh 4-6 years i will be ready for it..average wage here for that type of work is 90-120K per year. If i wanted to live on the egde, i could do the came work as a consultant and make about 120-150K a year.i'm happy with that :) will pay my bills easily.

    Before i got into IT i worked in a supermarket..was long hours and very hard work..and i got paid nothing...
    now i get decent money, like what i do and get to mess aound with a computer all day..works for me..

    :)

    Here's hoping you win the Lotto my friend :)

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    jdclyde

    Not everyone has a big paycheck as their end-all. Job satisfaction is NOT determined by the paycheck. I could double my income if I was willing to relocate to Lansing/Detroit/Grand Rapids, but I know I would HATE it.

    Well, got to go listen to some more music. It is a candlebox morning.... B-)

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    maecuff

    is that code for Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand?

    <good morning, JD..>

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    jdclyde

    oh, I mean, Good morning Mae!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72-rhhD0a6U
    candlebox, from 93.

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    maecuff

    I can't 'youtube' from work anymore. I do have The Replacements playing in my ears right now, so I'm happy..

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    jdclyde

    Anyway you can!

    Candlebox is not a far cry from the replacements, so if you like the one, you will like the other.

    Have moved on to Van Halen II. Needed something a little faster to keep me awake! ;\

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    maecuff

    candlebox is. I was just hanging sh*t on you. sheesh.

    We've moved on to Nirvana.

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    Shellbot

    good stuff.. a bit p*ssy..but good..
    ]:)

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    jdclyde

    I LIKE p*ssy...... ]:)

    I like this music too.... ;\

    It IS fairly mellow, but good for at work. It is too distracting for my coworkers when I bring in Pantera..... B-)

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    ash-post

    Thanks Shellbot. Your advice made me feel a little more positive about this career move although now I'm also a little confused, with some people saying go for it and others telling me IT is a bad career choice. Guess I just have to find out for myself.

    It's a big decision as I've spent the last 10 years (including tertiary studies) trying to build my career in media productions and suddenly switching over to another industry is quite a radical move.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working in the media industry but as I'm getting older I'm starting to feel the need for more job stability and more money. At twenty-something I didn't mind getting sh*tty pay just as long as I could be creative, do what I loved and getting the experience. But at 30, your priorities and needs starts to change. So IT came into mind as the ?other? career option.

    I'm not looking at becoming a programmer or developer as I understand that would require a Computer Science degree or similar. And in regards to the money, well, getting rich is not my goal, it never has been. I don?t believe in having a surplus of money, just a job that I can be good at and enjoy, and something that pays well enough to pay the bills and provide a comfortable lifestyle.

    I questioned what the chances are for women getting IT jobs because I've read there's only a small percentage of women in the IT industry compared to men, and although women are encouraged these days to take up IT careers, it still remains a male-dominated industry. This is only significant to me strictly from a job opportunity point of view, as I don't want to leave my present career, spend time studying for a new one then find that I'm struggling to find work. For example, and not trying to be sexist here, employers would generally hire more female receptionists or nurses than males, or more male tradespeople than females. I don't know the IT industry that well but when I was at university, engineering/computer science were generally perceived as a male-dominated discipline. I just need to know for sure that I'm making the right choice and whether there would be any factors that would compromise my job opportunities.

    Cheers,
    Ash

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    Shellbot

    i'm not sure what austrtailia is like..but here in ireland there are plenty of women in IT and i don't feel i have ever been discriminated against.

    i think the reason why there are more men, is because a lot of women don't take an interest..none of my female friends have any interest in computers.

    I wouldn't worry about that part of it..
    There are a good few women IT folk on this site..maybe they will join in and tell you of their expereince..
    I myself have only really has positive experiences being a woman in IT.

    GG, Tig, Mae..where are ye? Come and tell Ash what ya think.

    I'd say with the attitude you've got towards it, why not go for it..if need be, you can always fall back on the stuff you were doing before hand..heck..if you were to get an admin position in a media company you might be pleasantly surprised how well you'd do with that background.

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    JamesRL

    I've done a great deal of hiring in the IT field over the past 9 years. I've hired men and women. And I do notice that there are certain jobs or roles that seem to attract more women candidates than others.

    2/3 of my small programming staff are women. 2/3 of my tech gurus are men. I have one of each in terms of technical writers.

    Do not prejudge an employer - as it may show up in a certain lack of confidence in an interview. I look for talent and attitude, and I don't care if you are from outer space if you can produce good work.

    I have seen sexism in the workplace, but it was more from the staff than the management, but I would never suggest it doesn't exist.

    Life always has uncertainty, whether you stay in your current position or move into a new career. I once worked for a Fortune 100 company that we all thought would always be strong, and today, I hardly know anyone left there.

    You may have to work your way up. You may have to start at an entry level position before you get into your goal job. Thats true in many places and in many careers. But the rewards of fining the role you love can be worth it.

    James

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    stevecottle

    Ash,

    When you say that there aren't many women in the computer field, you are talking about the technical support end. If you look at applications development, at least here in the US, you'll find that 50% of analysts are women. You also mention that needing a Computer Science degree is a barrier to entry as a programmer. That may be true although I would never discourage anyone from pursuing further education. I finished my masters degree this spring at 43.

    I work in the field as a business analyst. A business analyst works in between the users of the system and programmers defining systems requirements, high-level design (what will the system look like, what are the ultimate inputs/outputs), developing test criteria and executing test plans.

    Business analysis is a fast-growing area of the IT industry. The key is to be able to speak the language of both the users and the technicians. I work with the insurance industry, but any area that has extensive industry-specific knowledge can benefit from business analysts.

    At an entry level, look for a position in testing or quality control for a software developer that produces software specifically for the media industry. That's the best way in. It provides you with an opportunity to learn a bit more about application development while capitalizing on your existing experience.

    While the learning curve will be challenging, I think you'll find many similarities between the industries. The project-focus, rush to meet deadlines, satisfaction from completion of a discrete piece of work. This should all sound just like home to you!

    Good luck!
    Steve

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    lexys

    Hi ash, I think you have a fair bit of tech experience behind you already, that will definitely go in your favour. On-going study is a big part of technology also, so be prepared to do refresher courses etc.
    yes IT is still a male-dominated industry, maybe some women are discouraged because very generally speaking, a lot of IT guys have an extreme lack of interpersonal skills and their general behaviour can be off-putting. People who gravitate towards IT are more interested in "things" than people, therefore they don't care too much about how they come across to other people. Look up the blogs in this website for "Asperger's Syndrome".
    Oh yeah and don't get into any dirty joking sessions, this is quite often misinterpreted as a come-on.
    But if you feel you can deal with this aspect of it, you should be ok. Customers will appreciate you more and so will bosses. Be prepared to get into a lot of geek talk with your colleagues (what i affectionately call w*nk sessions) because if you don't talk the talk they will assume that you don't know very much. But be honest about what you don't know as well, there is nothing worse than watching someone dig themselves a hole pretending to know something technical.
    Be aware that if you go to a colleague for advice, they may misinterpret this as you not being able to do the job and they may try to take over your work. Just make it clear you only want advice or to be pointed in the right direction.
    The money gets better with your experience, and be prepared to sell yourself - the men have no qualms in bragging about every little thing they acheived, hence they seem more impressive and get paid more. A boss cannot argue with results. People do notice that women's work is higher quality than the blokes as women tend to pay more attention to detail.
    I think you will do well Ash. If you find it satisfying, go for it.

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    DaveDXB

    Two Jewish men, Sid and Al, were sitting in a Mexican restaurant. Sid asked Al, 'Are there any people of our faith born and raised in Mexico ?' Al replied, 'I
    don't know, let's ask our waiter.'

    When the waiter came by, Al asked him, 'Are there any Mexican Jews?' and the waiter said, 'I don't know Senor, I'll ask the cooks.'

    He returned from the kitchen in a few minutes and said 'No sir, no Mexican Jews.' Al wasn't really satisfied with that and asked, 'Are you absolutely sure?'

    The waiter, realizing he was dealing with 'Gringos' gave the expected answer, 'I will check again, Senor!' and went back into the kitchen.

    While the waiter was away, Sid said, 'I find it hard to believe that there are no Jews in Mexico , our people are scattered everywhere.'

    The waiter returned and said 'Senor, the head cook said there is no Mexican Jews.'

    'Are you certain?' Al asked once again. 'I can't believe there are no Mexican Jews!'

    'Senor, I ask EVERYONE,' replied the exasperated waiter, 'All we have is
    Orange Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews, and Grape Jews.'

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    jdclyde

    I am the only one around here that is suppose to lead a discussion off topic!


    Why does that joke always make me think of soylent green?

    Mexican Jews indeed..... ;\

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    rjkirk_50

    I hope that Ash understands that you must flunk a sanity test in order to be welcome in IT....or have a lot of jokes

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    Web-Guy

    Yes, it can be done; I switched careers to IT when I was in my early 30?s. Of course that was the late 90?s when it was easy to get a job in IT. The way I did it was by going back to school and getting a Master?s degree in CS (I already had a BS but hated my field). Now I?m happily employed as a developer and making a very good wage (after paying my dues for 9 years).

    Now Help Desk jobs don?t pay as well as developer jobs, but like you know they don?t require as much education. Still I know a number of people who have gotten certificates and could never find a job in the field. Many think certificates are their ticket to a great job, the truth is much harsher. I know in many organizations will never interview candidates for IT positions if you don?t have an IT degree.

    Also keep in mind that there is unspoken age discrimination in this field. Most organizations prefer younger IT people because they don?t mind working the long hours. I would try to get a job at a non profit, government or educational organizations, as they tend to be more stable employers.

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    ash-post

    Yes I agree and fully aware that getting a certificate does not mean an instant job. I've experienced this myself throughout my present career. All the media/TV jobs I've had in the past were more a result of word-of-mouth and less about academic achievements. Having a B.A degree in Media Productions certainly helped in the final selection process but it had nothing to do with securing that initial interview. It's probably different in IT, but in the media/entertainment industry the clich? prevails: "it's not what you know but who you know". Of course, you still need the talent, but just getting the chance to show people that you have the talent usually requires a little more than a piece of paper. And at times, even the experience is not enough, it's having the right connection that is the key in this industry.

    Sorry I've gone a little off topic here...

    Anyway, thanks for the advice Web-Guy and I appreciate you telling it like it is. I did think about going back to school to get an IT-related degree but thought it would be too late by the time I graduated and then having to work my way up again. However, if it is possible as you have done it yourself, it certainly would be another option I can explore.

    Ash

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    Tig2

    I have been in IT for more years than I prefer to admit to. But I am getting out while I still have a modicum of sanity to do work that I find fulfilling and valuable.

    End of story, that is really the question to answer- What are you passionate about to the exclusion of all else? What can you do for work that you would find acceptable to do every single day of your life? What role would never seem like work to you?

    Answer those questions and you will find the right direction. And a way to get there.

    You can make it on the credentials that you have today- easier if you take a few certs. The real question is WHY you want to do this.

    The very best of luck to you!

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    XT John

    What started as a hobby, tinkering with old IBM PC's, led me back to school at the age of 36 to finish up my 2 year degree. I started in IT at the age of 39, after 19 years of printing. I'm not getting rich from it, IT pays the bills, then again I went into civil service rather than the private sector for the retirement and the benefits. I like what I do, we either install something new, fix something broke or teach our users something to make their jobs easier; and they are grateful. I'd always reccomend to anyone, do what you like to do, it makes getting up and going to work that much easier (even if you won't have a million stashed away in 10 years)!

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    ash-post

    It has been really encouraging to hear that a couple of people here entered the IT industry after 30 or even late 30s and have successfully progressed their careers.

    That was one of my main concern - having trouble finding work as by the time I get the qualifications I might be a little too old for an entry level position. But from what I'm hearing, sounds like it can be done.

    Thanks John and everyone else for sharing your experiences, it has been very helpful.

    Ash

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    iShango

    I made the switch in my 45th year. Did a two year full time diploma. Tough on my family but It was that or sit out my life in a Govt debt recovery call center. Got off to a rocky start but doing OK now in a Sysadmin role.
    I was blown away by the breadth and depth of the IT field and the amount of detail you needed to do some of the most basic of Jobs. If you can get a handle on the tech side of things and have good people skills there is limitless potential. It also helps to work in a main center. (Syd,Mel etc)as this increases the chances of getting broader exposure to the industry and finding the niche that you will enjoy. I say go for it!

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    jgtechie

    I decided to change careers 6 years ago, when I was 30, so I started going to a community college to get a certificate. Once I got the cert (A+ yeah, I know) I got a job as a technician. I continued school and received my Bachelor in Network Security last March. My current employer promoted me to Network Administrator after that. My point is that I agree that you will not make hundreds of thousands, if not right away, but you will see compensation for your effort and live comfortably. What you have to consider is a good company, not a big company like Microsoft or Google that's more inclined to outsourcing, but smaller companies. I work in the Healtcare field and IT is a big business in patient care. Best of luck to you.

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    drowningnotwaving

    Your attitude is important. As long as you understand you are taking a backwards step in the short-term, with the aim of moving ahead in the future, then you'll be okay.

    In Sydney you can expect in 4 years to be earning between $80 and $100k. Easy. Do it for a multinational and get international flights and training thrown in free-of-charge.

    Exactly what branch of IT you move into, and what you do, is up to you and your own requirements or goals.

    But with the money comes the hours, working for and with idiots, unreasonable expectations, ground-rules changing beneath your feet etc etc.

    However if you are coming from the Media world I'd expect you are probably used to those things anyway. Really no different to nearly any career, I'd guess.

    I have a friend who changed into IT when she was 31. Long story short - in 12 years she owns her own company worth multiple millions. Pisses me off!! She is an exception but proof of what is possible.

    And Dave's advice is incorrect. On an average scale, you will earn more per day/week/year in IT than in most other industries, particularly in Sydney.

    UTS does a brilliant Grad Dip with many variants in terms of specialisation for people just like you. It's a little more expensive and work-intensive than some private courses but it is a very well respected outcome from a school with a huge reputation for developing commercially aware grads. I'd be extremely surprised if, by taking this course, you didn't have a really good job before you actually finished.

    Good luck :)

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    jedmundson

    NO it's not. I was a 39-year-old US Navy Dental Corpsman when I was discharged. I had earned a BS in Business Administration while on active duty.

    I got a job teaching typing and "Introduction to Data Entry" at a trade school. In the last 19 years, I've grown to have the position of Systems, Network, and Database Administrator. I make a good living (albeit, to a Huge salary) and I like the work.

    At 30, you can remake yourself entirely. Look at both the good and the bad of the job before you jump in.

    As an old boss once told me "Just find the job you love and you'll never have to "work" again."

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    andre

    Hi.
    Sorry to say, but yes it do counts against you. My brothers have the same problem on the moment. He made a career change into IT when he was 27. 31 now, and when going for interviews, the only negative he comes out of it, sorry your don?t have enough hands on experience and you already in your senior years. But, don?t let that stop you, give it a shot. You always have your current job description to go back to.

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    cholan41

    Try to get one Net Certificate from CISCO /Microsoft then u already hv some exp in network filed so u try to get job .In network side all get exp from self interset only

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    DaveDXB

    To start doing anything is never to late.

    But the truth is...IT industry doesnt really bring in big money such as other industries. Plus in IT, there are so many Gurus out there who you will have to compete with.

    IT is like being a mathmatician...lot of effort and work invovled...but in the end...ur just a teacher in high school...you dont make money like a business man...

    The **** with IT...dont go for it.

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    Shellbot

    sorry mate, but thats one sh1tty outlook on things..

    doesn't bring in as much money? totally depends on what you do and where you are.

    IT support generally pays feck all unless your the manager..but how about a Senior Developer..pretty good money for that in my world.

    too many guru's? the IT world needs regular people as well..if you want to become a guru..work hard at it and you will..learn the new stuff..AJAX is the buzz right now..find the next new buzz and learn it..

    "IT is like being a mathmatician...lot of effort and work invovled...but in the end...ur just a teacher in high school...you dont make money like a business man"
    Any decent job is a lot of effort and hard work mate..so you want a paycheck for doing nothing?
    high shcool teacher?? what exact job are you doing?
    money like a business man?
    what?? My husband is a developer and makes more than a lot of business men we know..

    maybe you need to re-evaluate what your doing and where your going. its one thing for you to be unhappy, but don't discourage people who are looking to get into the game because you're having a rough time of it..

    how do you know Ash won't learn her stuff, get a great job and be happy with it? Or maybe when she's got 20 years experience in it she won't invent some new great thing in networking?

    I hope you cheer up mate :) Its not all that bad :)

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    DaveDXB

    Dont u read the news my friend....dont make me say it out loud WORD for WORD....it outsourcing is becoming the answer now... TO make what im saying short...

    Call microsoft or cisco or linksys or any big time IT company...and see who pics up the phone...as them were they are located lool...

    This is the TOP NOTCH support you get.

    All the smaller companies are HARDLY making it competing with the big guys...IT is becoming aaaaaaaaaaaaaall about outsourcing...and most of the companies outsour..a.h.what the heck..i see u in 25 years and let you know what happens. :)

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    Wizard-09

    Yes they maybe outsourcing the job's, but i think your talking about call center I.T support, and let's face it all you have to do is read from a script and have the answers to many questions on the data-base.

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    jdclyde

    I know several unemployed techs right now, but that is just how Michigan is right now.

    Check out the local markets for postings for tech jobs.

    Keep in mind that many techs get hired in as help desk for your entry level, and can take years before getting to actually do the Admin jobs.

    I personally welcome people to the field, but don't see a rosy future in it.

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    too_old

    I am having a hard time finding a IT job mainly because I am over 50 and perceived as not being able to do what I am interviewing for or it would take them too much time to bring me up to speed or just being old. Anyway, my point is one must understand the perceptions of the career to be chosen and realize it is a done deal if you do not match.

    Please do not project your negative experiences onto someone else. We are all unique. Sometimes one can succeed at something that another cannot no matter how much they try.

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    mtaylor619

    Opportunities in IT are astounding and remarkably stable IF YOU HAVE TALENT. You can be a generalist and live almost anywhere, but be aware that being a specialist may define where you live.
    Also, get some training in IT from a decent school. It does not have to be MIT, in fact, probably best if it is not too ivy league. A solid technical school teaches the most common software in use, using the most commonly utilized devices. After you master that you can choose a specialty and make bigger money.
    ALSO: Women in IT, big need. Not many of them out there and some customers really prefer a woman's persistance and innate customer service ability.

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    ash-post

    Thanks for your advice. It's exactly what I need in order to make an informed decisions.

    I understand that it would be quite competitive with, like what you said "so many Gurus out there" and I know it would involve hard work and long hours.

    But I've always thought the average salary in IT was quite high so I'm surprise to hear you say IT doesn't bring in big money.

    At the moment I'm on $45K per year (australian dollars) which is about US$39K. I'd be happy to earn around $60K, thats about US$53K. Can I expect to earn this type of salary after working in IT for, say about 2-3 years as Network or Systems Support/Administrator? I've been looking at job advertisements and they're paying up to $80K (US$70K), of course this is probably more for 3rd level support.

    Another reason I want to move into IT is for job security. The IT job market looks more promising than the media/entertainment industry. With the right qualifications, I think it would be easier to find work in IT compared to finding work in film/television/video.

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    DaveDXB

    Taking into account i currently live in a coutry that is the hub of cash flow.

    I work for a company in Oil trading, Real Estate...

    Lets not get itno numbers here....What i meant was....maybe if you put urself in the RIGHT business atmosphere (marketing, trading) You'll be urning up to 5 times the numbers u mentioned earlier...

    But of course...this all depends on what YOU want out of ur life...for me...all i see right now is a joke in IT. I wish i was a guru in busienss or marketing like these guys in my office.,...

    I HARDLY see an IT guy owning his own jet airplane....6 cars...etc...pls point out an IT guy who has that kind of life (besides Bill Gates)

    THATS what i meant...i just want the best for you....and IT is not truely the kind of choice to puyt on the BEST list...keep it for last.

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    Shellbot

    well..depending on the state of the market there at the time..its going to take a while to climb the ladder..80K..i would expect you'd be wanting about 7-10 years of highly technical experience for that. and only a very large organisation would be paying that kind of money i'd say.

    again, depending on market..it will take you a couple years to hit 45K..

    the average salary in IT varies..its a huge area girl..the big money is where there is not enough staff..system/network admins..a good few of those around..trick is to be better than the rest..
    all depends on whats "hot"..and whats hot today is not hot next year..for example, in ireland 5 years ago anyone who could program Java was a god and got paid accordingly. now..unless your very good at it..most places don't pay a lot for it at all..

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    sgt_shultz

    Your background in video editing will be a real plus. Get the certs and you will get the dough. At least in the US. The salary range for network/system admins is generally $45K to $65K depending on the region. Your current qualifications are plenty enought to get you in the door right now. Good luck.
    My friend is getting her nursing degree. She is 62. Right on. You still have time for couple more careers, easy.

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    ash-post

    Many thanks sgt_shultz, hearing that is such great encouragement.

    Do you have any recommendations on what would be the best certificates to get for this? I've been looking at the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications. Would that be the right path to go?

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    too_old

    I am female and have been in the IT field for 27 years. I would call myself a IT generalist now. During my job search, the majority of the 'expert' opinions say that one must 'specialize' in one area of IT mainly because the technology changes so rapidly. There are jobs where one can make good money at a mid to senior level (70K - 100,000K plus benefits in the US), one can be a contractor and make $40/hr without benefits supplied by company, one can be a independent consultant making $200/hr without benefits, and so on. Cycles occur in this industry and sometimes during a cycle there may less stability in keeping a job. In my opinion, for the present 'stable' industries in this country is the medical, medical insurance and medical billing fields.

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    ITCompGuy

    Do Not...I REPEAT...Do Not listen to the negative responses or even the overly positive ones. I say lean towards the positive, but keep in mind that there is always a bad side to every occupation. I am currently 41 years old. I decided to go into IT in my 30's. I was 33 years old when I got my first IT entry level job and it was paying around $40,000 dollars US. It depends on how you apply yourself and your professionalism and drive.

    Too many Gurus? Anyone who has been in this field for any amount of time can tell you that NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING. I have run across a lot of people who have made me feel like I was in the wrong field due to their wide knowledge base. Some of this has come from education, but the majority has come from experience and working hard. If you are put in field, learn everything you can in whatever job you are able to get. Then you take that knowledge and experience to the next level. Most IT departments have TEAMS! This means that you have several people that are GURU's at some discipline, and TOGETHER they make organizations run. You sound like you have the drive, so do what makes you happy. One word of advise from me would be to not do it because of the money, but do it because you like technology. If you like the technology and work hard, eventually the money will come. Who wants to go to a doctor who became a doctor just because he wanted the "Dr." title and to make money. A doctor has to have a love for medicine and learning first, and the money will be the cream on top.

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    Shellbot

    Why not get into IT?
    And what does being a woman have to do with it?
    30 is not exactly dead..

    If its soemthing you are interested and you would like to do, go for it. Do you know anyone who does the job you want to do? If so..try and arrange to shadow them for a couple days.
    You've stated you have a bit of experience there..so build on it and go for it..

    I'm *cough cough...29-ish* and its only in the past year or two i've really started to do what i want to do in IT..not everyone wants to hire a 19 year old you know..you've business experience..don't knock it!

    maybe you won't get rich..but if you enjoy what your doing, then what the heck.

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    DaveDXB

    Im LOVE IT...i enjoy what i do for the last God knows when...but at the end of the day Who pays my bills....etc....

    I cantg beleive SO MUCH EFFORT is put into my job...the amount of complexity and houyrs put it....all in the end...just for sake of mind? ahhaha...I prefer the cash :) Which is definitly not here....

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    Shellbot

    yer right, your never going to own your own plane..but be real here..how many people really do..
    the ones that do, they usually had to work really hard to get to where they are..
    look at stock brokers, can make a fortune, they work really hard though and burn out early..

    well..depends on how much you looking to make..again, without getting into numbers..my long term plan is to go into datawarehousing..so in about oh 4-6 years i will be ready for it..average wage here for that type of work is 90-120K per year. If i wanted to live on the egde, i could do the came work as a consultant and make about 120-150K a year.i'm happy with that :) will pay my bills easily.

    Before i got into IT i worked in a supermarket..was long hours and very hard work..and i got paid nothing...
    now i get decent money, like what i do and get to mess aound with a computer all day..works for me..

    :)

    Here's hoping you win the Lotto my friend :)

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    jdclyde

    Not everyone has a big paycheck as their end-all. Job satisfaction is NOT determined by the paycheck. I could double my income if I was willing to relocate to Lansing/Detroit/Grand Rapids, but I know I would HATE it.

    Well, got to go listen to some more music. It is a candlebox morning.... B-)

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    maecuff

    is that code for Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand?

    <good morning, JD..>

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    jdclyde

    oh, I mean, Good morning Mae!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72-rhhD0a6U
    candlebox, from 93.

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    maecuff

    I can't 'youtube' from work anymore. I do have The Replacements playing in my ears right now, so I'm happy..

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    jdclyde

    Anyway you can!

    Candlebox is not a far cry from the replacements, so if you like the one, you will like the other.

    Have moved on to Van Halen II. Needed something a little faster to keep me awake! ;\

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    maecuff

    candlebox is. I was just hanging sh*t on you. sheesh.

    We've moved on to Nirvana.

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    Shellbot

    good stuff.. a bit p*ssy..but good..
    ]:)

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    jdclyde

    I LIKE p*ssy...... ]:)

    I like this music too.... ;\

    It IS fairly mellow, but good for at work. It is too distracting for my coworkers when I bring in Pantera..... B-)

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    ash-post

    Thanks Shellbot. Your advice made me feel a little more positive about this career move although now I'm also a little confused, with some people saying go for it and others telling me IT is a bad career choice. Guess I just have to find out for myself.

    It's a big decision as I've spent the last 10 years (including tertiary studies) trying to build my career in media productions and suddenly switching over to another industry is quite a radical move.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working in the media industry but as I'm getting older I'm starting to feel the need for more job stability and more money. At twenty-something I didn't mind getting sh*tty pay just as long as I could be creative, do what I loved and getting the experience. But at 30, your priorities and needs starts to change. So IT came into mind as the ?other? career option.

    I'm not looking at becoming a programmer or developer as I understand that would require a Computer Science degree or similar. And in regards to the money, well, getting rich is not my goal, it never has been. I don?t believe in having a surplus of money, just a job that I can be good at and enjoy, and something that pays well enough to pay the bills and provide a comfortable lifestyle.

    I questioned what the chances are for women getting IT jobs because I've read there's only a small percentage of women in the IT industry compared to men, and although women are encouraged these days to take up IT careers, it still remains a male-dominated industry. This is only significant to me strictly from a job opportunity point of view, as I don't want to leave my present career, spend time studying for a new one then find that I'm struggling to find work. For example, and not trying to be sexist here, employers would generally hire more female receptionists or nurses than males, or more male tradespeople than females. I don't know the IT industry that well but when I was at university, engineering/computer science were generally perceived as a male-dominated discipline. I just need to know for sure that I'm making the right choice and whether there would be any factors that would compromise my job opportunities.

    Cheers,
    Ash

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    Shellbot

    i'm not sure what austrtailia is like..but here in ireland there are plenty of women in IT and i don't feel i have ever been discriminated against.

    i think the reason why there are more men, is because a lot of women don't take an interest..none of my female friends have any interest in computers.

    I wouldn't worry about that part of it..
    There are a good few women IT folk on this site..maybe they will join in and tell you of their expereince..
    I myself have only really has positive experiences being a woman in IT.

    GG, Tig, Mae..where are ye? Come and tell Ash what ya think.

    I'd say with the attitude you've got towards it, why not go for it..if need be, you can always fall back on the stuff you were doing before hand..heck..if you were to get an admin position in a media company you might be pleasantly surprised how well you'd do with that background.

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    JamesRL

    I've done a great deal of hiring in the IT field over the past 9 years. I've hired men and women. And I do notice that there are certain jobs or roles that seem to attract more women candidates than others.

    2/3 of my small programming staff are women. 2/3 of my tech gurus are men. I have one of each in terms of technical writers.

    Do not prejudge an employer - as it may show up in a certain lack of confidence in an interview. I look for talent and attitude, and I don't care if you are from outer space if you can produce good work.

    I have seen sexism in the workplace, but it was more from the staff than the management, but I would never suggest it doesn't exist.

    Life always has uncertainty, whether you stay in your current position or move into a new career. I once worked for a Fortune 100 company that we all thought would always be strong, and today, I hardly know anyone left there.

    You may have to work your way up. You may have to start at an entry level position before you get into your goal job. Thats true in many places and in many careers. But the rewards of fining the role you love can be worth it.

    James

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    stevecottle

    Ash,

    When you say that there aren't many women in the computer field, you are talking about the technical support end. If you look at applications development, at least here in the US, you'll find that 50% of analysts are women. You also mention that needing a Computer Science degree is a barrier to entry as a programmer. That may be true although I would never discourage anyone from pursuing further education. I finished my masters degree this spring at 43.

    I work in the field as a business analyst. A business analyst works in between the users of the system and programmers defining systems requirements, high-level design (what will the system look like, what are the ultimate inputs/outputs), developing test criteria and executing test plans.

    Business analysis is a fast-growing area of the IT industry. The key is to be able to speak the language of both the users and the technicians. I work with the insurance industry, but any area that has extensive industry-specific knowledge can benefit from business analysts.

    At an entry level, look for a position in testing or quality control for a software developer that produces software specifically for the media industry. That's the best way in. It provides you with an opportunity to learn a bit more about application development while capitalizing on your existing experience.

    While the learning curve will be challenging, I think you'll find many similarities between the industries. The project-focus, rush to meet deadlines, satisfaction from completion of a discrete piece of work. This should all sound just like home to you!

    Good luck!
    Steve

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    lexys

    Hi ash, I think you have a fair bit of tech experience behind you already, that will definitely go in your favour. On-going study is a big part of technology also, so be prepared to do refresher courses etc.
    yes IT is still a male-dominated industry, maybe some women are discouraged because very generally speaking, a lot of IT guys have an extreme lack of interpersonal skills and their general behaviour can be off-putting. People who gravitate towards IT are more interested in "things" than people, therefore they don't care too much about how they come across to other people. Look up the blogs in this website for "Asperger's Syndrome".
    Oh yeah and don't get into any dirty joking sessions, this is quite often misinterpreted as a come-on.
    But if you feel you can deal with this aspect of it, you should be ok. Customers will appreciate you more and so will bosses. Be prepared to get into a lot of geek talk with your colleagues (what i affectionately call w*nk sessions) because if you don't talk the talk they will assume that you don't know very much. But be honest about what you don't know as well, there is nothing worse than watching someone dig themselves a hole pretending to know something technical.
    Be aware that if you go to a colleague for advice, they may misinterpret this as you not being able to do the job and they may try to take over your work. Just make it clear you only want advice or to be pointed in the right direction.
    The money gets better with your experience, and be prepared to sell yourself - the men have no qualms in bragging about every little thing they acheived, hence they seem more impressive and get paid more. A boss cannot argue with results. People do notice that women's work is higher quality than the blokes as women tend to pay more attention to detail.
    I think you will do well Ash. If you find it satisfying, go for it.

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    DaveDXB

    Two Jewish men, Sid and Al, were sitting in a Mexican restaurant. Sid asked Al, 'Are there any people of our faith born and raised in Mexico ?' Al replied, 'I
    don't know, let's ask our waiter.'

    When the waiter came by, Al asked him, 'Are there any Mexican Jews?' and the waiter said, 'I don't know Senor, I'll ask the cooks.'

    He returned from the kitchen in a few minutes and said 'No sir, no Mexican Jews.' Al wasn't really satisfied with that and asked, 'Are you absolutely sure?'

    The waiter, realizing he was dealing with 'Gringos' gave the expected answer, 'I will check again, Senor!' and went back into the kitchen.

    While the waiter was away, Sid said, 'I find it hard to believe that there are no Jews in Mexico , our people are scattered everywhere.'

    The waiter returned and said 'Senor, the head cook said there is no Mexican Jews.'

    'Are you certain?' Al asked once again. 'I can't believe there are no Mexican Jews!'

    'Senor, I ask EVERYONE,' replied the exasperated waiter, 'All we have is
    Orange Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews, and Grape Jews.'

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    jdclyde

    I am the only one around here that is suppose to lead a discussion off topic!


    Why does that joke always make me think of soylent green?

    Mexican Jews indeed..... ;\

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    rjkirk_50

    I hope that Ash understands that you must flunk a sanity test in order to be welcome in IT....or have a lot of jokes

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    Web-Guy

    Yes, it can be done; I switched careers to IT when I was in my early 30?s. Of course that was the late 90?s when it was easy to get a job in IT. The way I did it was by going back to school and getting a Master?s degree in CS (I already had a BS but hated my field). Now I?m happily employed as a developer and making a very good wage (after paying my dues for 9 years).

    Now Help Desk jobs don?t pay as well as developer jobs, but like you know they don?t require as much education. Still I know a number of people who have gotten certificates and could never find a job in the field. Many think certificates are their ticket to a great job, the truth is much harsher. I know in many organizations will never interview candidates for IT positions if you don?t have an IT degree.

    Also keep in mind that there is unspoken age discrimination in this field. Most organizations prefer younger IT people because they don?t mind working the long hours. I would try to get a job at a non profit, government or educational organizations, as they tend to be more stable employers.

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    ash-post

    Yes I agree and fully aware that getting a certificate does not mean an instant job. I've experienced this myself throughout my present career. All the media/TV jobs I've had in the past were more a result of word-of-mouth and less about academic achievements. Having a B.A degree in Media Productions certainly helped in the final selection process but it had nothing to do with securing that initial interview. It's probably different in IT, but in the media/entertainment industry the clich? prevails: "it's not what you know but who you know". Of course, you still need the talent, but just getting the chance to show people that you have the talent usually requires a little more than a piece of paper. And at times, even the experience is not enough, it's having the right connection that is the key in this industry.

    Sorry I've gone a little off topic here...

    Anyway, thanks for the advice Web-Guy and I appreciate you telling it like it is. I did think about going back to school to get an IT-related degree but thought it would be too late by the time I graduated and then having to work my way up again. However, if it is possible as you have done it yourself, it certainly would be another option I can explore.

    Ash

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    Tig2

    I have been in IT for more years than I prefer to admit to. But I am getting out while I still have a modicum of sanity to do work that I find fulfilling and valuable.

    End of story, that is really the question to answer- What are you passionate about to the exclusion of all else? What can you do for work that you would find acceptable to do every single day of your life? What role would never seem like work to you?

    Answer those questions and you will find the right direction. And a way to get there.

    You can make it on the credentials that you have today- easier if you take a few certs. The real question is WHY you want to do this.

    The very best of luck to you!

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    XT John

    What started as a hobby, tinkering with old IBM PC's, led me back to school at the age of 36 to finish up my 2 year degree. I started in IT at the age of 39, after 19 years of printing. I'm not getting rich from it, IT pays the bills, then again I went into civil service rather than the private sector for the retirement and the benefits. I like what I do, we either install something new, fix something broke or teach our users something to make their jobs easier; and they are grateful. I'd always reccomend to anyone, do what you like to do, it makes getting up and going to work that much easier (even if you won't have a million stashed away in 10 years)!

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    ash-post

    It has been really encouraging to hear that a couple of people here entered the IT industry after 30 or even late 30s and have successfully progressed their careers.

    That was one of my main concern - having trouble finding work as by the time I get the qualifications I might be a little too old for an entry level position. But from what I'm hearing, sounds like it can be done.

    Thanks John and everyone else for sharing your experiences, it has been very helpful.

    Ash

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    iShango

    I made the switch in my 45th year. Did a two year full time diploma. Tough on my family but It was that or sit out my life in a Govt debt recovery call center. Got off to a rocky start but doing OK now in a Sysadmin role.
    I was blown away by the breadth and depth of the IT field and the amount of detail you needed to do some of the most basic of Jobs. If you can get a handle on the tech side of things and have good people skills there is limitless potential. It also helps to work in a main center. (Syd,Mel etc)as this increases the chances of getting broader exposure to the industry and finding the niche that you will enjoy. I say go for it!

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    jgtechie

    I decided to change careers 6 years ago, when I was 30, so I started going to a community college to get a certificate. Once I got the cert (A+ yeah, I know) I got a job as a technician. I continued school and received my Bachelor in Network Security last March. My current employer promoted me to Network Administrator after that. My point is that I agree that you will not make hundreds of thousands, if not right away, but you will see compensation for your effort and live comfortably. What you have to consider is a good company, not a big company like Microsoft or Google that's more inclined to outsourcing, but smaller companies. I work in the Healtcare field and IT is a big business in patient care. Best of luck to you.

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    drowningnotwaving

    Your attitude is important. As long as you understand you are taking a backwards step in the short-term, with the aim of moving ahead in the future, then you'll be okay.

    In Sydney you can expect in 4 years to be earning between $80 and $100k. Easy. Do it for a multinational and get international flights and training thrown in free-of-charge.

    Exactly what branch of IT you move into, and what you do, is up to you and your own requirements or goals.

    But with the money comes the hours, working for and with idiots, unreasonable expectations, ground-rules changing beneath your feet etc etc.

    However if you are coming from the Media world I'd expect you are probably used to those things anyway. Really no different to nearly any career, I'd guess.

    I have a friend who changed into IT when she was 31. Long story short - in 12 years she owns her own company worth multiple millions. Pisses me off!! She is an exception but proof of what is possible.

    And Dave's advice is incorrect. On an average scale, you will earn more per day/week/year in IT than in most other industries, particularly in Sydney.

    UTS does a brilliant Grad Dip with many variants in terms of specialisation for people just like you. It's a little more expensive and work-intensive than some private courses but it is a very well respected outcome from a school with a huge reputation for developing commercially aware grads. I'd be extremely surprised if, by taking this course, you didn't have a really good job before you actually finished.

    Good luck :)

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    jedmundson

    NO it's not. I was a 39-year-old US Navy Dental Corpsman when I was discharged. I had earned a BS in Business Administration while on active duty.

    I got a job teaching typing and "Introduction to Data Entry" at a trade school. In the last 19 years, I've grown to have the position of Systems, Network, and Database Administrator. I make a good living (albeit, to a Huge salary) and I like the work.

    At 30, you can remake yourself entirely. Look at both the good and the bad of the job before you jump in.

    As an old boss once told me "Just find the job you love and you'll never have to "work" again."

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    andre

    Hi.
    Sorry to say, but yes it do counts against you. My brothers have the same problem on the moment. He made a career change into IT when he was 27. 31 now, and when going for interviews, the only negative he comes out of it, sorry your don?t have enough hands on experience and you already in your senior years. But, don?t let that stop you, give it a shot. You always have your current job description to go back to.

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    cholan41

    Try to get one Net Certificate from CISCO /Microsoft then u already hv some exp in network filed so u try to get job .In network side all get exp from self interset only