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Too Old For IT Jobs? 7 Fight-Back Tips
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TomP519
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TomP519,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2013 | 10:45:45 PM
Some things grow better with age
I own a technology company and will be turning 60 in about a month.

I'm constantly amused at many of my younger employees who seem to think they invented technology. Trust me, there's very little new under the sun, especially when it comes to software. Most of the current "toolsets" de jour are just rehashes of old stuff with new vaporware PR campaigns.
JayOza
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JayOza,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2013 | 8:36:29 PM
How to handle the age issue like Reagan did?
 

After reading this post, I wrote this blog based on how Ronald Reagan was prepped for his second debate when age became a big issue after his disastrous performance in the first debate. I think there is something to learn from that.  

Read the blog I write about it.  Note, I do reference this post in my blog since it inspired me to write it.

Thanks.

http://bit.ly/1gCYAmo
gatesvp
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gatesvp,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2013 | 2:40:00 PM
Confusing "Age" with "out of date"
So most of these points are 100% relevant to IT workers of all ages.

#6. It doesn't matter if you're 25 or 55, you should be updating your resume/CV every 6-12 months. Do it with every performance review or set a calendar reminder to take 15 minutes to do it. At the least it will serve as a good "what have I done recently" reminder.

#2. Of course you need to stay current. In IT, it's not just about "staying current", it's a bigger question of "why do you not want to stay current?". You should be learning a new language / major toolset every year. If you're not doing this already, you're actually failing at your current job let alone the job you want to find.

#3. Everyone should be realistic about compensation. If you've been at this for 20 years you have seen 3 or 4 boom/bust cycles. You should know better than anyone what you're actually worth.

#4. This is equally important for young people because they can easily knock off "achievements" that didn't take much time.

I'm really happy you added both #7 & #8, if you're failing at these bits above, it's probably a good time to ask yourself if you really belong in IT.
KevinRCasey
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KevinRCasey,
User Rank: Moderator
12/3/2013 | 11:55:01 AM
Re: Use your age as an advantage
Re: the management track, one underlying driver of age bias in IT and other industries seems to be the perception that if you're not in management by a certain age, there's something wrong with you. But that's an inherently flawed mindset: It suggests that everyone would be a good manager. If you've spent any time in the workforce, you know that's not true.

What's wrong with being really good at what you do, very productive, delivering consistent value to your bosses/employer, etc. without necessarily wanting to manage a team of people, ascend to the C suite, etc?

There's a sports analogy here. Many of the best players in the NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. would/will make terrible coaches or GMs. There are exceptions, of course. But ask a basketball fan what they think of Michael Jordan's tenure as GM/owner, or Isiah Thomas's track record as a coach/executive.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/2/2013 | 8:23:31 PM
Re: Use your age as an advantage
@JayOza -- that's a great point. Use what some may call a disadvantage to your advantage.
Zman7
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Zman7,
User Rank: Strategist
12/2/2013 | 2:28:51 PM
Re: Use your age as an advantage
Mak63- here's a couple of reasons I can think of:

1) Not everyone is cut out for management.  It takes a certain personality and desire to want to manage people.

2) IT is easy compared to management, especially if it's project management.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/2/2013 | 2:18:57 PM
Re: Use your age as an advantage
You could hide your age doing something like dyeing your hair. But it seems a better idea to go on offense, as JMO mentions. In that regard, why don't IT people with skills and experience aim for management positions?
jurowski
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jurowski,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/2/2013 | 2:03:33 PM
prove to them that you're a valuable asset
If you are worried about being viewed as "old school", then it's up to you to prove that you're not. Break the mold and learn a cutting edge web development framework, for example. Devote your nights and weekends to creating a Google App Engine python app, or a Ruby on Rails app... talk about your drive to continually expand your knowledge base, and use your newly developed app to prove that you know what you're talking about.

Ageism in hiring is a reality. You're going to have to prove wrong whomever is on the other side of the table, but it can and should be done.
JayOza
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JayOza,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/2/2013 | 1:51:15 PM
Use your age as an advantage
You can't  hide your age so don't play defense, but go on offense.  This means you have to clearly show how your expereince helps companies make and/or save money.  If they care about that then you have just leveled the playing field and even taken an edge over your youthful competitors.

 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
12/2/2013 | 1:14:06 PM
Re: Jump Before Pushed?
No question it matters if change is big enough. I have relative who works for Microsoft out of Dallas area. Whenever we would visit, he would always hit me up to work there even though my entire career has been in ERP support and development on IBM mainframe and midrange computers.

His argument was that kind of knowledge is what Microsoft needed, to learn from professionals from different platforms, especially a heavy hitter like IBM. But now at age 55, it is way too late to make major shift like that. By time I would integrate with Microsoft so I could actually contribute, how many years of useful work could they expect? It would have made sense back when he first asked when in my 40's, now it would make no sense for Microsoft to make that investment in someone so close to end of career. And who would blame them for that?

Point is, at a certain age, I don't think jobs which are a major change in technology base make sense anymore, for you or for them.
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