Talent Development Centre

Considering a Career in IT? Don’t Let Your Age Stop You

“There’s no time like the present!” — that inspirational cliché is used around the world and can be applied to any topic… and it’s true! It’s never to late to start something new, including a career in technology.

There’s a myth that unless you’ve been immersed in tech from a young age, you’ll never understand it enough to build a solid career in the industry. According to Dice, that is a straight-up lie and anyone, even those over 30, can start or reboot a career in tech. Naturally, it will not be easy and you will have more hurdles than the IT professional who jumped from high school immediately to post-secondary education in the field and then right to the workforce.

Here are 5 tips Dice provides for anybody who wants to start a career in tech, but later in the game:

  1. Know Your Stuff: Begin by focusing on a specific language and the major frameworks supporting it, and also be able to prove that you’re not a “one-trick pony”.
  2. Network: Start digitally by following developers with careers you aspire to, then find local people in tech and attend their meet-ups. Remember to be positive and keep in mind that the tech community is small.
  3. Have an Online Tech Presence: Be easy to find on places like LinkedIn, as well as sites such as GitHub and Stack Overflow. Don’t underestimate the power of a blog!
  4. Take Side Projects: Get into the Gig economy by taking on a few extra jobs, but keep in mind you may need to undercut your price when starting out, especially if you use sites like Upwork.
  5. Accept the Tech Elephant in the Room: Ageism is real and you’ll need to deal with it head-on. Prove your skills and ability, but also be honest about your age and what prompted you to start so late.

Like many, you may have stopped at point #1 — what specific language or framework should you learn? Fortunately, Dice has you covered there in a separate article they wrote last Spring where they provide the best programming languages to learn first:

  1. Python
  2. JavaScript
  3. C#
  4. Swift
  5. Java

Dice believes that these are not only the easiest languages to learn but are also in high enough demand that you’ll get a job. Each also has specific uses, so it’s worth exploring which one interests you as an individual and working from there.

We hope this article has helped motivate you as well as give you a few tips if you’re looking to get into the IT industry but have been concerned about your age. If you’re already an experienced developer, please take a minute to share this with a friend who may be looking for a career change. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done for them!

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