Is it still worth it to pursue an I.T. career? I'm serious

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by jc0481, Aug 31, 2015.


Is it still worth it to pursue an I.T. career?

  1. Yes

  2. No. Pick something else.

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. jc0481 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2005
    I'll be turning 35 next year. I've been steady in my work. Not any in the I.T. field. I wish I could tell this forum differently. Took different paths that lead to nowhere. But I digress. Always been passionate about technology since I was 15 years old.

    I want to pursue a career that has great job stability and I like it. With an I.T. career I have a strong feeling I will be replaced by a younger guy by the time I'm in my 50's or 60's. My new boss will be a younger guy and will soon replace the entire team with his friends. I will be out of work and it will be hard finding a company that will hire me when I'm 62 (An example).
    Also the constant pace that technology changes. It's so fast. That's what keeps it interesting for me. But at the same time the constant need to improve and study for more tests.

    In case you are wondering I am a semi-introvert. I like socializing at parties, barbecues, weddings etc. But I prefer working by myself. I've learned that over the years. Especially with the immature and really annoying co-workers I've had over the years. Again I digress.

    I understand learning a trade is highly praised from some people. Low cost to learn and good wages. I'm not a manual labor/work with my hands kind of guy. When I was a temp worker a long time ago I hated it so much to be into production work. I'm pretty sure I would hate to have a trade job. No offense to the people working trade jobs out there.

    I think I would love to be my own boss one day. I like having job flexibility. Meaning I can take a day off I want to or work longer hours another day. Most importantly I want to be there for my two year old son growing up. I also want to provide for him. I ALWAYS want to have a roof over our heads for my son and I.

    I have been looking into getting a Accounting degree from Western Governors University. But still not sure I want to pursue an Accounting degree. Not sure if it will suit me.

    As time goes by I feel I'm running out of time and options. Believe me if I could go back in time I would change a lot of things for the better. But I don't have that luxury.

    If I could find a job that was good pay (I think good pay would be $50,000 a year and above), I work by myself and have job stability. I would be a happy camper! But I don't think a job like that exists.

    FYI: I am currently learning by myself to program from the free websites that teaches you how to code.

    I hope this friendly forum can offer some good advice.

  2. Suture macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2007
    In order to compete, you will need to continually expand your knowledge. You'll need to be flexible and have initiative. I am in my late 30s, a white hat hacker/cybersecurity consultant for a large firm. I have no degree, but I have a bunch of certifications, and I have been in IT since the late 90s.

    I am just now about to start on a degree so I can close the gap before it becomes a concern.

    Some sites to look at:
    Khan Academy

    There's more free ones out there too. IT people will always be needed, but to do lower level work such as administration, you'll be competing with lots of people. Figure out what you're interested in, and find an aspect of it that can elevate you higher than the bulk of the competition. I had gotten into biometric security and identity management at one point. It's a never-ending cycle of learning if you want to stay ahead of the pack.
  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Excellent post, which has a lot of good advice well worth heeding.

    To the OP, if this is what you are interested in, by all means go for it. Your interest will supply the motivation. When I was a college teacher, I noticed that the 'second chance' students, in other words, the adult students, those who returned to pursue degrees in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and occasionally 60s, were far more motivated than many of the youngsters.

    However, as @Suture has so rightly said, if you are interested in this field, this is an area where you will need to keep on top of the changes in your field constantly once you do decide to specialise in the area. That is no bad thing, as it will keep you fresh, and intellectually interested in - and challenged by - your work. Meanwhile, good luck.
  4. Suture macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2007
    I should have added -- it's cheaper to pay younger people. I look at the billing rates for our younger guys, and it scares me for any projects I may be working on that have budget issues. That's more incentive to make sure you get your management chops down and become a subject matter expert in some arena.

    I imagine you're in the same boat as me trying to find the same work-life balance. I am lucky in that my company will pay for my school, but I am going to start out light until I'm sure both my work and my grades won't suffer. I'm also somewhat of an introvert, and find myself somewhat intimidated by re-starting college so late in life, even though I've been in my career since 1997.

    Good luck, and feel free to ask any additional questions! I started out doing Windows and AIX administration, did ADSL/ISDN engineering, and eventually found my way into Cybersecurity. There's a lot to learn, but if you're interested, you'll find the drive to continue.
  5. ejb190 macrumors 65816


    I was at a FileMaker Pro Developers meeting a couple months back. The room was packed and I realized that at 41, I was on the younger end of the scale. Most of the guys (there were a few women, but not many) that I talked to were second career, self-employed developers. They are in a position to be picky about their jobs, but they were skilled enough that they are in strong demand. Kind of where I would like to be.
  6. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I have just started in IT at 32 and I too am at the younger end of the scale amongsnt people I work with.

    No qualifications, only 1 certification..... thats about it.
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Add Microsoft Virtual Academy into that mix. Plenty of jump start materials and the fundamentals along with deep dives into servers and virtualization. I just recently got back into IT and a mentor of mine before my interview told me that he didn't get into IT until he turned 50. There is always time if you are willing to learn and keep your skills sharp. A lot of this involves self teaching and there are a lot of materials available for free. Even check out if there is a local meet up for Windows/Mac/Linux to see if you can network or build skills.
  8. flybub macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    I just changed from an IT major in college. I realized that to be competitive in the developing world you really need to be doing this every day and stay on top of the changing technology. That is not what I'm looking for. I'm 35, have a wife and 3 kids, and the idea of sitting in front of a computer at work and at home wasn't for me. My kids are at the age where we do quite a bit together (hunt, fish, weekend road trips) and I don't want to miss out on that because of my job. I'm sure it gets easier the more you do it but it is a sacrifice of time.

    This is a very competitive field and like someone else posted employers would rather pay the young inexperienced ones cheaper pay than a more mature adult that may or may not have experience. Not trying to be a negative nelly here, but I do want to be honest.

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.
  9. D.T., Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015

    D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Just to clarify: you mentioned coding, and said IT, and I noticed most of the folks responded with jobs in the infrastructure space. While there's not really a formal line-in-the-sand, most of my friends/colleagues would probably differentiate IT (operations - infrastructure/networking/security) vs. development/engineering/architecture.

    There's definitely a call for folks that can do both (i.e., DevOps which also wraps up some PM, Reqs, QA), that's usually in smaller shops, small private technology support teams, etc., though in the larger enterprise (private and public sectors) you tend to see more role boundaries (sometimes to the point of being silly and inefficient ...)

    I've done both, held a number of certs for IT type roles, but quickly found that development was way more compelling for me. Especially in smaller shops where you get to work on different layers of a tech stack: UI/UX, front/back, middle tier, DB; across multiple platforms, web, services, mobile; then toss in the occasional OPS type effort and it's a really interesting mix. I like the really open-endedness of software design and architecture when you're dealing with different clients, however, again, in the enterprise, you can also get relegated to a silo where you're doing nothing but something tedious like writing DB procs or debugging legacy Java code ...

    I've been rolling my own (so to speak) for ~25 years, multiples businesses, startups, radically diverse industry (from medical to law enforcement to hollywood movie production), it's been fun. :) If you're into tech, you can have a blast, if you're doing it purely for the financial angle - like anything - I'd imagine it would be less than ideal as a later-in-life pursuit.
  10. AleXXXa, Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015

    AleXXXa macrumors 6502


    Feb 22, 2015
    It's too late. If you make enough money at your current job, stick with it.
    People start woking in IT in their early-mid 20s and already have some years of experience (at least 4 years of college and the really good guys started learning programming and it-related stuff in highschool)
    You are almost 15 years older than a junior, plus you probably have no experience with coding, algorithms and all the mathematics behind them.

    At 35 it's hard to start again from 0 with a crap salary. And there are lots of young guys that will accept a lower payed job
    35 is usually the age where you have 10-15 years of experience/knowledge and should start thinking about opening a business in the field you worked in and be your own boss.

    In 10-15 years you'll be 45-50. At that age you should be thinking about retirement, instead you'll be fighting for IT jobs with 30-35 year olds.
  11. sdilley14, Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015

    sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
    Do whatever you're passionate about. Follow your passion. Don't worry about being "old" and getting passed by younger people in your field. Contrary to popular belief, the I.T. field isn't filled with young, hyper ambitious, geniuses. There are a lot of "older" people that fill out the I.T. industry. Don't worry about your age. Stay focused, stay diligent, do exceptional work, stay humble, take direction, and you will ALWAYS be employable.

    Edit: I should also say, keep your expectations within reason. After reading your post again, it feels like you're all over the place...I.T. degree, accounting degree, dreams of being self employed, wanting to land a job and make $50k. Make no mistake, the I.T. field is very competitive, and entry level jobs don't pay that well. Getting to $50k will take years if you start from the bottom. And starting your own business is another entirely different challenge. Having said all of that, I would still recommend just pursuing your passion. Work hard, stay the course, do exceptional work, and the money will always work itself out.
  12. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Depending on location and particulars of the position (specifically in the IT or software/hardware engineering), something like $50,000 can be at the bottom end of even an entry level salary (but then again, the cost of living in those areas would be higher as well).

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