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IT Job Opportunities for the Semi-Retired
Ending a lifelong IT career doesn't necessarily mean leaving IT behind. Many semi-retired individuals are finding that they're now free to explore new opportunities.
November 2, 2022
4 Min Read
Evgeny Karandaev via Alamy Stock
Two workforce movements are creating fresh opportunities for semi-retired IT professionals: the rise of remote work and a growing market for freelance talent. “This combination is leading to an uptick in remote developer and engineer opportunities -- often on a part-time, project basis,” says Christy Schumann, senior vice president of talent operations at freelance service platform Toptal. She adds that there are now “great opportunities for semi-retired professionals who still want to engage in meaningful work while also having more control over the complexity of projects they take on and their time commitments.”
An IT professional who has reached the point where semi-retirement is an option has likely “been around the block a time a two,” notes Todd Copeland, platform director, enterprise applications at IT professional resourcing and managed services firm Experis Solutions. “People with this type of experience are extremely valuable to organizations,” he says. “They are the ones who know what to watch out for because they have been there before.”
Copeland observes that experience is not the kind of thing that can be taught. “The fresh, young hotshot with a 4.0 GPA is not going to have it,” he states. “This is your most marketable semi-retirement skill, and you should use it to your advantage.”
The positions that make the most sense are the ones where semi-retired experts can put their experience to effective use, Copeland says. “Architects, technical leads, and project managers make for ideal opportunities in this space,” he says. “If you have spent some time in a senior leadership role, fractional executive positions are in high demand and an excellent way to contribute where your expertise will be appreciated the most.”
There continues to be high demand for remote developers and engineers, Schumann says. “A significant number of opportunities are for short-term engagements, where a client needs help with a specific project.” Such positions are terrific for semi-retired professionals, she notes, since they provide an opportunity to engage in in-demand, meaningful work, yet with a greater work-life balance.
The best job for semi-retired IT professionals is one that allows them to spend at least half their time doing what they enjoy most: working with computers, says Kimberley Tyler-Smith, a former McKinsey & Company analyst, currently strategist at career tech service company Resume Worded. “If you're an experienced programmer who has been in the industry for over 10 years, you may want to consider finding a position as an independent contractor or consultant that allows you to work from home to have more flexibility in your schedule,” she advises. “If you're a network specialist, consider working as a consultant on short-term projects at companies with small IT departments where they need help handling large amounts of data and maintaining their systems without hiring too many full-time staff members.”
Where to Look
Finding IT jobs is easy if you know where to look, says Max Wesman, chief operating officer at employment background check service provider GoodHire. “Platforms like Monster and Indeed have a wide range of tech support roles listed, and you can find them by conducting searches with the appropriate keywords,” he says. Also be sure to include ‘semi-retired’ in searches to find employers that offer part-time positions that align with your lifestyle, he suggests.
Tyler-Smith recommends searching on Upwork, a Web service that allows people who have retired from traditional jobs to go into business for themselves as freelancers or consultants. “One of the most important things a person can do when looking for a job is to find something they enjoy and are passionate about,” she says.
A challenge most semi-retired IT professionals will eventually face is how to stay engaged without being pulled all the way back into their original career, or a close approximation thereof. “Information Systems is a dynamic, sometimes stressful environment that can consume much more time than you intend to give,” Copeland warns. “Some positions are inherently demanding.”
The biggest mistake semi-retired pros make when searching for IT work is having inflexible expectations. It's easy to get hung up on certain job offer aspects that may, at first glance, seem like deal breakers, “but there are still options out there if you're willing to compromise a little bit,” Tyler-Smith advises.
Being semi-retired opens up entirely new avenues of work, pay, and fulfillment. Just be sure to think through any opportunity before committing, Copeland recommends. “Avoid the options that can pull you down, embrace the ones that will keep you satisfied, and you will find a way to stay involved while leaving plenty of room in life for other things.”
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About the Author(s)
Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards is a veteran business technology journalist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous business and technology publications, including Computerworld, CFO Magazine, IBM Data Management Magazine, RFID Journal, and Electronic Design. He has also written columns for The Economist's Business Intelligence Unit and PricewaterhouseCoopers' Communications Direct. John has authored several books on business technology topics. His work began appearing online as early as 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he wrote daily news and feature articles for both the CompuServe and Prodigy online services. His "Behind the Screens" commentaries made him the world's first known professional blogger.
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