How-To IT Career Guide: 7 Critical Strategies, From Getting Started To Semiretiring - InformationWeek

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How-To IT Career Guide: 7 Critical Strategies, From Getting Started To Semiretiring

Driven by our salary survey data, a look at make-or-break moments in a career.

Deal With Age Discrimination
Salary and age: a difficult mix.

Is IT a young person's game? The cliché that young IT pros have an edge because they've been trained on the latest and greatest technology doesn't bear out in the data from the InformationWeek National IT Salary Survey. But a follow-up survey we did shows a notable number of older workers think they--and their higher salaries--have been targeted in layoffs.

Staffers older than 55 garner the highest median salary, at $78,000, slightly more than the $76,000 earned by 46- to 55-year-olds, according to our survey. For staffers 26 to 35, the median salary is $61,000; for those 25 and under, it's $40,000. Our survey reveals a similar trend for business technology managers.

41%
In our follow-up survey to explore age discrimination, which drew 651 business technology pros over 50, about one-fourth say they've been denied jobs or promotions because they were "deemed too old." We asked them to exclude times that their salaries priced them out of jobs.

Breaking the over-50 data into managers and staffers, 54% of managers think they're valued and put in positions to share their experience, 41% say they're valued but underutilized, and 5% don't think they're valued. For staff, it's 40%, 47%, and 13%, respectively.

Take Rob, a 30-year IT veteran who has an MBA, is a CPA, and has certifications as a Java programmer and Java architect. Since being laid off four years ago at age 50, he's been working steadily as a contractor. Based on his billing rate, he figures he makes about $120,000 annually. The permanent jobs he's seen available pay about half of that.

In our survey, 11% of staffers and 12% of managers say they think they've been laid off because of their age. Of those respondents, about three-quarters say the company did so at least in part to replace them with younger or cheaper talent. A third of staff and 20% of managers say outsourcing or offshoring played a part.

Most landed new work, doing the same job at another company (50% of staffers and 69% of managers) or finding different jobs after being retrained (47% of staffers and 20% of managers).

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