Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

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CobraKai
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Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am

I have been in IT for almost 20 years. My career has stagnated and I've been reading a lot of stuff about ageism in the IT industry. Some people on this very forum have posted that as well. Seems that after a certain point, the more experience one has is a liability.

I have been thinking about studying another field and leaving the industry. The problem is if I went back to school part time while working (and study Accounting for example) then I would be in my mid or maybe even upper 40s before graduating! What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker?

Self employment is another option. It's not an easy road but the thought has crossed my mind that this would be a better investment in my time and money than going back to school.

Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set (system/database/network administration, programming). The job that I have is semi-stable although I am paid below market and it can be pretty stressful at times. Most of the jobs in the area are IT support/sysadmin jobs. I hear there is not as much ageism in that area than software development (which I currently do but it's not a primary part of my job).

Just looking for ideas. Has anyone here successfully transitioned out of IT (or went self employed) when middle age or know anyone that has?

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:11 pm

I left a government job with a science agency and went into teaching at age 42 and put in 11 years of HS teaching as a second career. People with industry experience are always in demand for CTE teaching jobs (career and technical education) but teaching is very regional specific. Some states like Texas make it easy to enter the profession as a mid career professional. Others like MN make it almost impossible. Teaching is not for everyone though. The job is about 90% classroom management, (keeping kids in line and engaged) and about 10% the actual content.

In your position I think I’d be looking at options for management type positions in tech or tech support. You want to be the head of technology for an organization like a school district or business, not the guy who runs around and does software updates and fixes broken laptops.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:17 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:11 pm
I left a government job with a science agency and went into teaching at age 42 and put in 11 years of HS teaching as a second career. People with industry experience are always in demand for CTE teaching jobs (career and technical education) but teaching is very regional specific. Some states like Texas make it easy to enter the profession as a mid career professional. Others like MN make it almost impossible. Teaching is not for everyone though. The job is about 90% classroom management, (keeping kids in line and engaged) and about 10% the actual content.
Given that information, teaching probably wouldn't be for me. I would not mind having summers off. :) That's not a good enough reason to be a teacher though.
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:11 pm
In your position I think I’d be looking at options for management type positions in tech or tech support. You want to be the head of technology for an organization like a school district or business, not the guy who runs around and does software updates and fixes broken laptops.
I would likely have to switch companies to do that as I've been pigeonholed as the guy too valuable in my current position to promote.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Cyclesafe » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:18 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
I have been in IT for almost 20 years. My career has stagnated and I've been reading a lot of stuff about ageism in the IT industry. Some people on this very forum have posted that as well. Seems that after a certain point, the more experience one has is a liability.

I have been thinking about studying another field and leaving the industry. The problem is if I went back to school part time while working (and study Accounting for example) then I would be in my mid or maybe even upper 40s before graduating! What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker? Plus, how will you feel reporting to somebody 20 years your junior? And how much more money will you be likely to make? What about the possibility of having to take an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door?

Self employment is another option. It's not an easy road but the thought has crossed my mind that this would be a better investment in my time and money than going back to school.I would suggest this. Start with side gigs while still fully employed.

Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set (system/database/network administration, programming). The job that I have is semi-stable although I am paid below market and it can be pretty stressful at times. Most of the jobs in the area are IT support/sysadmin jobs. I hear there is not as much ageism in that area than software development (which I currently do but it's not a primary part of my job).

Just looking for ideas. Has anyone here successfully transitioned out of IT (or went self employed) when middle age or know anyone that has? After I was "retired" I went to law school full time with the idea of "re-inventing" myself. Thoroughly enjoyed the process and passed the Cali bar, but realized that actually being a lawyer wasn't all that. Turned out to be an excellent (although expensive) transition into an active and rewarding retirement.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by gunn_show » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
I have been in IT for almost 20 years. My career has stagnated and I've been reading a lot of stuff about ageism in the IT industry. Some people on this very forum have posted that as well. Seems that after a certain point, the more experience one has is a liability.
CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set
i'm all for career planning and looking ahead, but this sounds like thoughts based mostly on assumptions and hearsay. Have -you- actually experienced ageism and issues continuing your career? Has your career stagnated because of what? Small company? Not wanting to be a manager? Not being capable of being a manager? Not accusing, just thinking out loud. Many engineers / IT folks want to remain IC's by design (don't want to manage people) and thus by default have a ceiling because of it. My megacorp (F100) has many thousands of ppl that have been here for decades, many 20-30 years, in engineering roles. Perhaps go find a new company to work for.

I am in IT (sales side) and many of my peers are 10-20-25 years older than me and doing just fine. I do not agree that more experience is a liability, if you are very good at what you do in a demanding field. I think that is a cop-out statement (either an excuse you're telling yourself, or from an employer). The more experience I have gained, the more money I have made. If that is not the case for you, fix it. Or throw in the towel and go wash cars. Can make some pretty nice tips...
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

mega317
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by mega317 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm

What is "another field"? Lots of graduating medical students are closer to 40 than 30. I don't think age would be much of a factor getting a job in most clinical health care positions. It's not particularly onerous to become an EMT, for example.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by JupiterJones » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:50 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker?
Mine would.

What HR dept wouldn't love to fill an entry-level position with someone who is A) qualified, B) eager, and who has C) a track record of previous employment that shows a level of maturity and proven-solid work ethic?
Stay on target...

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:10 pm

Is there something you want to move away from IT and in to?

It sounds like not. You want to keep earning and have heard about ageism in IT. It's real. It may or may not apply to any particular individual or organization, but it's real.

If not, then I suggest careful consideration of what you can continue making money at for another couple of decades. Change is ever more rapid. What you can make money at for another couple of decades today might be completely different from what you can make money at for another fifteen years five years from now.

What those things might be I don't know, but it's better to leave to pursue something else than to be told your team is doing a fantastic job, thank you very much, but the company decided not to do that at all anymore so get out.

It's a tough nut to crack. I don't know the answer for you.

The end of the UNIX epoch comes in 2038, but that's probably too far off to be of use.

PJW
Last edited by Phineas J. Whoopee on Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by KlangFool » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am

Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set (system/database/network administration, programming). The job that I have is semi-stable although I am paid below market and it can be pretty stressful at times. Most of the jobs in the area are IT support/sysadmin jobs. I hear there is not as much ageism in that area than software development (which I currently do but it's not a primary part of my job).
CobraKai,

I have absolutely no idea about your qualification. But, many IT Architect/Network Architect could live anywhere in the USA as long as they are near to a major airport. So, before you write off as to what jobs are available to you. You should check out some of those jobs that are regional or national in scope. For example, The job locations are any major cities on the West Coast, East Coast, and/or Mid-west.

KlangFool

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StevieG72
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by StevieG72 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:36 pm

I dream of changing careers at times.

Reality is I will stay put, buckle down on saving and retire ASAP.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Foredeck » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:41 pm

Hi,

I would suggest talking to a career counselor. They can help you make the transition to something more interesting. Typically, they'll look at your past experience and then look at your interests. From that they'll find something that hopefully hits the sweet spot. Interesting, challenging and allows you to grow, while being paid.

I've personally done this and I'm transitioning from being an Systems Analyst to a Data Engineer.
Along the journey I've been taking data engineering courses and getting practical experience at work by assisting on data projects.

123
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by 123 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:43 pm

If you jump into an alternative career 10 or 15 years later than everyone else who got into that "business" you may forever find yourself a misfit due to your comparative age and experience in that business. Your colleagues may forever be 10 or 15 years younger than you and at a different point in there personal lives. When you start to think about retiring your colleagues may be passing you by as they continue to advance up their own career ladders because they have "time left" in their work lives while you do not.

This doesn't happen to everyone who makes a significant career change in their late 30's or their 40's but it happens to enough of them that it is something to be aware of.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:21 pm

OP, are there opportunities to shift your career at your current company?

I changed from a software development role (PM/Test) to a Finance role at my company. My skills and experience, education made it quite easy to transition into finance/accounting.

I feel "less old" and there is not as much "up or out" pressure from new hires with new tech skills.

Maybe former managers are in roles in the company with different opportunities? My salary was not changed, but my bonus potential is much lower due to being in a cost center.

Just something to consider.
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lostdog
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by lostdog » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:22 pm

You can do end user support or network administration.

You'll take a pay cut but you get to work with end users and meet different people.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Cascade425 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:30 pm

I would not bother with switching to Accounting from IT unless you have a passion for Accounting (hey it happens). Instead do a pivot out of IT and into something related. Since you're in IT then let's assume you are very good at deploying some specific technologies. For this example let's say you're deep in ServiceNow and Azure AD. If so, you're valuable. You could approach not only ServiceNow and Microsoft about jobs there (support, customer success, pre sales, etc.) but also their partner companies that architect and deploy their solutions. You're already deep in the tech and have deployed it for a living!

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by gclancer » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:25 pm

StevieG72 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:36 pm
I dream of changing careers at times.

Reality is I will stay put, buckle down on saving and retire ASAP.
+1

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by bhsince87 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:44 pm

I know someone who did it in her 50's. She has an accounting degree and and MBA, but dropped out of the workforce to raise her child about 25 years ago.

After he left home she got a 2 year degree in web design. She was hired a few weeks after she graduated, and has been at it for 3-4 years now.
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:54 pm

A friend had a career as a nutritionist/dietitian in her 20's and early 30's and she was married in her early 20's. Then, in her early 30's (with the full support of her husband) decided to go to Medical School and she became a doctor - and a specialist as well. She recently retired after about 30 or so years as a Specialty Physician.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:06 pm

I removed a few posts which appear to be a misunderstanding of intent. The discussion was getting derailed.
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by masonstone » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:29 pm

mega317 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm
What is "another field"? Lots of graduating medical students are closer to 40 than 30. I don't think age would be much of a factor getting a job in most clinical health care positions. It's not particularly onerous to become an EMT, for example.
This is simply not true, most graduating medical students are in their 20s.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by aspirit » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:35 pm

As I'm sure we all recall the tale of Col. Sanders who did it @ 65ish. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/colonel-sanders/

C'mon will you, do you recognize value for yourself elsewhere?

Good Luck!

P.S. Friend transitioned AT&T that became VZ, and is now a self-employed accountant after 2yrs preparing. 8-) yes you can.....
Last edited by aspirit on Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Machine99 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:04 pm

gclancer wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:25 pm
StevieG72 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:36 pm
I dream of changing careers at times.

Reality is I will stay put, buckle down on saving and retire ASAP.
+1
+2

frugalecon
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by frugalecon » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:17 pm

gclancer wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:25 pm
StevieG72 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:36 pm
I dream of changing careers at times.

Reality is I will stay put, buckle down on saving and retire ASAP.
+1
This is my lot in life, as well. Fortunately, I can sort of see a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:18 pm

At age 50, I started a nonprofit that I’ve now run for over a decade and enjoyed it immensely—it’s health education and advocacy. It’s not really related to any of my prior jobs or career. If the will and interest is there, I’d say many folks COULD change careers at age 40 or 50 or whenever they want to put in the effort.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:03 pm

masonstone wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:29 pm
mega317 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm
What is "another field"? Lots of graduating medical students are closer to 40 than 30. I don't think age would be much of a factor getting a job in most clinical health care positions. It's not particularly onerous to become an EMT, for example.
This is simply not true, most graduating medical students are in their 20s.
But then you have at least 3 more years of low paying residency training. With no gap years the progression would be as follows:

Graduate from college at age 22
Graduate from Med school at age 26
Residency and Fellowships take 3-7 years, and at at least 5 years for big dollar specialties like surgery.

So the very youngest doctors are starting at around 29 for short residencies like family medicine or internal medicine. But more typically early 30s, especially for high paying specialists.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by kodachrome » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:00 pm

Well, it’s not related with IT field but, here is a story.
When I started my full-time entry level career in retail banking, a new colleague joined to my team after I worked for only 6 months.
He was about 12 years older than me, but he already had 15+ field experience working at a stock brokerage firm from another country. Yet, he joined to the entry level position as mine. When I asked, he told me that he just got the job available to him because his career was not credited here in the US.
He seldom talked me his stories about that stock broker days like good old days. In general, he was a nice buy, but he just acted like a manager although he was not, and it caused frequent conflicts with the existing manager with him. Sometimes, I got caught in between. About a year later, he resigned.
As for the political correctness, ages doesn't matter, but it matters in real life in some degree, I guess.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:39 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:18 pm
Plus, how will you feel reporting to somebody 20 years your junior? And how much more money will you be likely to make? What about the possibility of having to take an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door?
Not sure. I currently report to someone 10 years my junior. He's not a bad guy although the thought has crossed my mind that he is not qualified for his position (not just the age thing but experience and education). He stays out of the way though so it doesn't really bother me much.
Cyclesafe wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:18 pm
I would suggest this. Start with side gigs while still fully employed.
I'm debating whether to do something related to my field or do something entirely different. I do enough techie work at work but those are my most marketable skills and have the best chance of making money.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:43 pm

gunn_show wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm
i'm all for career planning and looking ahead, but this sounds like thoughts based mostly on assumptions and hearsay.
It's very common to run into stuff like this online (articles, forums, etc). Most of the people I've worked with in the various IT groups I have worked in are still in the industry and many of them are 40 and up.
gunn_show wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm
Have -you- actually experienced ageism and issues continuing your career?
No
gunn_show wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm
Has your career stagnated because of what? Small company? Not wanting to be a manager? Not being capable of being a manager?
I'm in a small IT department in a large company and don't want to be a manager.
gunn_show wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm
Not accusing, just thinking out loud. Many engineers / IT folks want to remain IC's by design (don't want to manage people) and thus by default have a ceiling because of it. My megacorp (F100) has many thousands of ppl that have been here for decades, many 20-30 years, in engineering roles. Perhaps go find a new company to work for.

I am in IT (sales side) and many of my peers are 10-20-25 years older than me and doing just fine. I do not agree that more experience is a liability, if you are very good at what you do in a demanding field. I think that is a cop-out statement (either an excuse you're telling yourself, or from an employer). The more experience I have gained, the more money I have made. If that is not the case for you, fix it. Or throw in the towel and go wash cars. Can make some pretty nice tips...
You could be right. Perhaps the ageism thing is overblown but when this forum is full of smart people. When you see Bogleheads concerned about ageism (or experiencing it themselves) then you start to think that perhaps there is something to it.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:50 pm

mega317 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm
What is "another field"? Lots of graduating medical students are closer to 40 than 30. I don't think age would be much of a factor getting a job in most clinical health care positions. It's not particularly onerous to become an EMT, for example.
I was thinking along the lines of Accounting, Finance, or the like. Maybe CNC programmer or the like since I live in the rust belt. Health care seems like a good option as far as security goes although I couldn't see myself being a doctor or nurse. I did a google search on radiology and stumbled on this thread with a lot of angry people who went to school and could not find a job in the field:

https://www.indeed.com/forum/job/radiol ... GY/t394818

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:53 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:50 pm
CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker?
Mine would.

What HR dept wouldn't love to fill an entry-level position with someone who is A) qualified, B) eager, and who has C) a track record of previous employment that shows a level of maturity and proven-solid work ethic?

That's awesome but is that the rule or the exception?

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:56 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:10 pm
Is there something you want to move away from IT and in to?
I had Accounting/Finance in mind since it seems to be a relatively stable field. Looking at the company I work in, some of the Finance/Accounting folks who started when I did are in executive positions while the department I work in was cut significantly and I am in the same position. That's a huge time and mone investment as a far as additional schooling goes, however. I have a Bachelors degree but graduated over 15 years ago and I"m not sure many if any of my courses would count toward a new degree.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:58 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm
CobraKai,

I have absolutely no idea about your qualification. But, many IT Architect/Network Architect could live anywhere in the USA as long as they are near to a major airport. So, before you write off as to what jobs are available to you. You should check out some of those jobs that are regional or national in scope. For example, The job locations are any major cities on the West Coast, East Coast, and/or Mid-west.

KlangFool
Not really interested in travel but thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:59 pm

123 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:43 pm
If you jump into an alternative career 10 or 15 years later than everyone else who got into that "business" you may forever find yourself a misfit due to your comparative age and experience in that business. Your colleagues may forever be 10 or 15 years younger than you and at a different point in there personal lives. When you start to think about retiring your colleagues may be passing you by as they continue to advance up their own career ladders because they have "time left" in their work lives while you do not.

This doesn't happen to everyone who makes a significant career change in their late 30's or their 40's but it happens to enough of them that it is something to be aware of.
Heh, it would probably be 20 to 25 years by the time I would be done with any education needed.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:02 am

Foredeck wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:41 pm
Hi,

I would suggest talking to a career counselor. They can help you make the transition to something more interesting. Typically, they'll look at your past experience and then look at your interests. From that they'll find something that hopefully hits the sweet spot. Interesting, challenging and allows you to grow, while being paid.

I've personally done this and I'm transitioning from being an Systems Analyst to a Data Engineer.
Along the journey I've been taking data engineering courses and getting practical experience at work by assisting on data projects.
I actually did this once, years ago. I read the book the Pathfinder and had a couple of phone sessions with a guy and he was suggesting Market Research Analyst after telling him about my tech background and interest in the social sciences. Didn't seem to be much demand for that where I live, however, so I just stick with IT.

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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:05 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:21 pm
OP, are there opportunities to shift your career at your current company?

I changed from a software development role (PM/Test) to a Finance role at my company. My skills and experience, education made it quite easy to transition into finance/accounting.
There are jobs in other departments posted from time to time. They seem to look for people who already have experience in those positions, however.

You never went back to school for a second degree?

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:06 am

lostdog wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:22 pm
You can do end user support or network administration.

You'll take a pay cut but you get to work with end users and meet different people.
I do a lot of that now. That's on top of my programming and database admin work. Maybe best to just stay on that jack of all trades path. I won't get wealthy but perhaps there is more job security in that than specializing as a developer or DBA. Most of the tech jobs in this area are tech support/network admin positions.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:08 am

Cascade425 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:30 pm
I would not bother with switching to Accounting from IT unless you have a passion for Accounting (hey it happens). Instead do a pivot out of IT and into something related. Since you're in IT then let's assume you are very good at deploying some specific technologies. For this example let's say you're deep in ServiceNow and Azure AD. If so, you're valuable. You could approach not only ServiceNow and Microsoft about jobs there (support, customer success, pre sales, etc.) but also their partner companies that architect and deploy their solutions. You're already deep in the tech and have deployed it for a living!
I wouldn't say I have a passion for Accounting.

I use ServiceNow to close IT tickets, that's about it. I'm not really too deep into anything (except databases although job title is not DBA) but have a versatile skillset if that makes sense.

SurferLife
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by SurferLife » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:35 am

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
I have been in IT for almost 20 years. My career has stagnated and I've been reading a lot of stuff about ageism in the IT industry. Some people on this very forum have posted that as well. Seems that after a certain point, the more experience one has is a liability.

I have been thinking about studying another field and leaving the industry. The problem is if I went back to school part time while working (and study Accounting for example) then I would be in my mid or maybe even upper 40s before graduating! What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker?

Self employment is another option. It's not an easy road but the thought has crossed my mind that this would be a better investment in my time and money than going back to school.

Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set (system/database/network administration, programming). The job that I have is semi-stable although I am paid below market and it can be pretty stressful at times. Most of the jobs in the area are IT support/sysadmin jobs. I hear there is not as much ageism in that area than software development (which I currently do but it's not a primary part of my job).

Just looking for ideas. Has anyone here successfully transitioned out of IT (or went self employed) when middle age or know anyone that has?
Of course you change your career in your 40s. The real question here is, what is it that you want to do with your life, and how do you get there. So, what do you want to do? As a military officer, I've noticed that officers who retire right at 20 years (around mid 40s), they can usually transition quite well. For officers who stay a bit longer and get out around age 50+, they have a more difficult time finding employment.

My friend who is in his 40s in IT, transitioned into managerial positions within IT and got out of the areas where the younger guys were. He's hating it and would rather code, but maybe it'd work for you. He's also currently preparing for interviews to move yet again. His options do not appear to be limited, and the positions he's looking at pay extremely well.

What about a trade? You could do an apprenticeship and then own your own business. Plumbers can make great money...as an example.

KlangFool
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:15 am

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:58 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm
CobraKai,

I have absolutely no idea about your qualification. But, many IT Architect/Network Architect could live anywhere in the USA as long as they are near to a major airport. So, before you write off as to what jobs are available to you. You should check out some of those jobs that are regional or national in scope. For example, The job locations are any major cities on the West Coast, East Coast, and/or Mid-west.

KlangFool
Not really interested in travel but thanks for the suggestion.
CobraKai,

Okay. Your choice. Please note that for those jobs, you alternate between traveling and working from home. The tradeoff is there is no daily commute to the office.

KlangFool

Zoochadookdook
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by Zoochadookdook » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:11 am

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 am
I have been in IT for almost 20 years. My career has stagnated and I've been reading a lot of stuff about ageism in the IT industry. Some people on this very forum have posted that as well. Seems that after a certain point, the more experience one has is a liability.

I have been thinking about studying another field and leaving the industry. The problem is if I went back to school part time while working (and study Accounting for example) then I would be in my mid or maybe even upper 40s before graduating! What company wants to hire a 40 something entry level worker?

Self employment is another option. It's not an easy road but the thought has crossed my mind that this would be a better investment in my time and money than going back to school.

Or maybe just stay in IT and grind it out until I'm no longer employable in the field and then go work at the local car wash. I do have a versatile skill set (system/database/network administration, programming). The job that I have is semi-stable although I am paid below market and it can be pretty stressful at times. Most of the jobs in the area are IT support/sysadmin jobs. I hear there is not as much ageism in that area than software development (which I currently do but it's not a primary part of my job).

Just looking for ideas. Has anyone here successfully transitioned out of IT (or went self employed) when middle age or know anyone that has?

As someone who graduates this fall (26 degree in MIS) this is slightly discouraging. I enjoy hardware it work but have been questioning the potential career pathways with my database based business degree. I'm considering pursuing a degree in engineering or joining the local electricians union (great starting pay with benefits/yearly raises at a 5 year program ending at 42/hr with matching 401 and such) but at 26 I feel like I should be working in the field. Unfortunately everyone seems to be looking for CS majors (why is beyond me as we outsource all programming) or only hiring helpdesk.

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dm200
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:32 am

I know something about both accounting and IT.

I suspect there may be accounting type careers/jobs that can make good use of your IT background - perhaps in a financial institution - such as auditing. A lot of fraud and similar types of bad things involve both accounting and IT.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:48 am

SurferLife wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:35 am
Of course you change your career in your 40s. The real question here is, what is it that you want to do with your life, and how do you get there. So, what do you want to do? As a military officer, I've noticed that officers who retire right at 20 years (around mid 40s), they can usually transition quite well. For officers who stay a bit longer and get out around age 50+, they have a more difficult time finding employment.

My friend who is in his 40s in IT, transitioned into managerial positions within IT and got out of the areas where the younger guys were. He's hating it and would rather code, but maybe it'd work for you. He's also currently preparing for interviews to move yet again. His options do not appear to be limited, and the positions he's looking at pay extremely well.

What about a trade? You could do an apprenticeship and then own your own business. Plumbers can make great money...as an example.
I think I am one of those guys that would rather code than manage tbh. The trades have crossed my mind (plumbing or HVAC).

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:49 am

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:15 am
CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:58 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm
CobraKai,

I have absolutely no idea about your qualification. But, many IT Architect/Network Architect could live anywhere in the USA as long as they are near to a major airport. So, before you write off as to what jobs are available to you. You should check out some of those jobs that are regional or national in scope. For example, The job locations are any major cities on the West Coast, East Coast, and/or Mid-west.

KlangFool
Not really interested in travel but thanks for the suggestion.
CobraKai,

Okay. Your choice. Please note that for those jobs, you alternate between traveling and working from home. The tradeoff is there is no daily commute to the office.

KlangFool
Good point. Not currently near an airport but thanks for the idea.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:54 am

Zoochadookdook wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:11 am
As someone who graduates this fall (26 degree in MIS) this is slightly discouraging. I enjoy hardware it work but have been questioning the potential career pathways with my database based business degree. I'm considering pursuing a degree in engineering or joining the local electricians union (great starting pay with benefits/yearly raises at a 5 year program ending at 42/hr with matching 401 and such) but at 26 I feel like I should be working in the field. Unfortunately everyone seems to be looking for CS majors (why is beyond me as we outsource all programming) or only hiring helpdesk.
It may be discouraging but I wish I had this (and other) information when I started. I started during the .com boom and it seemed at the time that there was unlimited opportunity. I live in an area where people will spend decades in the same job. I thought it was normal to stay in the same job for years and later learned that you don't really get significant raises in the industry unless you jump from job to job (which sometimes requires moving). IT is a good way for younger people to make money so if you enjoy, continue to pursue, and maybe start looking to transition if you would like to o something else. I can relate as most of the jobs in my area seem to be help desk-type positions, very few developer jobs.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:56 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:32 am
I know something about both accounting and IT.

I suspect there may be accounting type careers/jobs that can make good use of your IT background - perhaps in a financial institution - such as auditing. A lot of fraud and similar types of bad things involve both accounting and IT.
I can get a Masters in Accounting by taking 15 classes or so. That would cost a lot less (in time and money) than going for another Bachelors.

Weighing that option vs. self employment on the side vs. getting database certs and focusing on databases. I'd say I enjoy databases more than anything else in the tech field.

frugalmama
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by frugalmama » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:58 am

CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:56 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:10 pm
Is there something you want to move away from IT and in to?
I had Accounting/Finance in mind since it seems to be a relatively stable field. Looking at the company I work in, some of the Finance/Accounting folks who started when I did are in executive positions while the department I work in was cut significantly and I am in the same position. That's a huge time and mone investment as a far as additional schooling goes, however. I have a Bachelors degree but graduated over 15 years ago and I"m not sure many if any of my courses would count toward a new degree.
If you haven't ever done a lot of actual accounting, I recommend that you take a course and see what you think before you dive into it. It isn't for everyone. I would also recommend you figure out what would actually transfer as you may need quite a few hours due to the hours requirement to sit for the CPA as well as the fact that your previous hours are older. I know many people who started in accounting are no longer in that field (me included - I went to the teaching side) and the ones that are often don't care that much for it. Entry level positions often require a lot of long hours and I also know people who are career changers who have struggled to find jobs in that area.

My husband completely switched careers 8 years ago. Looking back it was the best thing he ever did. However, it was because he switched into an area that he is passionate about. However, you may find that if you just pick another career that you aren't that interested in that you aren't any better off...you trade one issue for another...and perhaps for even less pay. If you aren't passionate about another area, I would hang around where you are until you figure out what you are passionate about. Then, if/when you actually experience some ageism issues, you will have a plan that you can execute.

KlangFool
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:03 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:49 am
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:15 am
CobraKai wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:58 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm
CobraKai,

I have absolutely no idea about your qualification. But, many IT Architect/Network Architect could live anywhere in the USA as long as they are near to a major airport. So, before you write off as to what jobs are available to you. You should check out some of those jobs that are regional or national in scope. For example, The job locations are any major cities on the West Coast, East Coast, and/or Mid-west.

KlangFool
Not really interested in travel but thanks for the suggestion.
CobraKai,

Okay. Your choice. Please note that for those jobs, you alternate between traveling and working from home. The tradeoff is there is no daily commute to the office.

KlangFool
Good point. Not currently near an airport but thanks for the idea.
CobraKai,

No idea where you are located. But, one of my co-workers lives in Cleaveland, Ohio.

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:04 pm

CobraKai wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:56 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:32 am
I know something about both accounting and IT.

I suspect there may be accounting type careers/jobs that can make good use of your IT background - perhaps in a financial institution - such as auditing. A lot of fraud and similar types of bad things involve both accounting and IT.
I can get a Masters in Accounting by taking 15 classes or so. That would cost a lot less (in time and money) than going for another Bachelors.

Weighing that option vs. self employment on the side vs. getting database certs and focusing on databases. I'd say I enjoy databases more than anything else in the tech field.
CobraKai,

Then, how about getting certified in Oracle Database Administration?

KlangFool

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unclescrooge
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:09 pm

masonstone wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:29 pm
mega317 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm
What is "another field"? Lots of graduating medical students are closer to 40 than 30. I don't think age would be much of a factor getting a job in most clinical health care positions. It's not particularly onerous to become an EMT, for example.
This is simply not true, most graduating medical students are in their 20s.
Yup.

But then you add in residency and fellowship and you're back at 30-40.

The earliest you could realistically graduate from residency is 29.

CobraKai
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Re: Is it possible to change one's career in their 40s?

Post by CobraKai » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:09 pm

frugalmama wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:58 am
If you haven't ever done a lot of actual accounting, I recommend that you take a course and see what you think before you dive into it. It isn't for everyone. I would also recommend you figure out what would actually transfer as you may need quite a few hours due to the hours requirement to sit for the CPA as well as the fact that your previous hours are older.
Great point. I took a couple of Accounting courses in undergrad, about *shudder* 20 years ago. I don't remember being passionate about it but I don't remember hating it either. That would be a good first step if I seriously think about going in that direction.
frugalmama wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:58 am
I know many people who started in accounting are no longer in that field (me included - I went to the teaching side) and the ones that are often don't care that much for it. Entry level positions often require a lot of long hours and I also know people who are career changers who have struggled to find jobs in that area.
Interesting!
frugalmama wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:58 am
My husband completely switched careers 8 years ago. Looking back it was the best thing he ever did. However, it was because he switched into an area that he is passionate about. However, you may find that if you just pick another career that you aren't that interested in that you aren't any better off...you trade one issue for another...and perhaps for even less pay. If you aren't passionate about another area, I would hang around where you are until you figure out what you are passionate about. Then, if/when you actually experience some ageism issues, you will have a plan that you can execute.
My problem is that the things that I am most passionate about aren't really all that marketable.

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