Am I too old to return to IT?

I have been in IT since the mid-1970s, mainly as a programmer, analyst or developer, using C, FoxPro and GML. I have recently...

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I have been in IT since the mid-1970s, mainly as a programmer, analyst or developer, using C, FoxPro and GML. I have recently been running a computer skills training company, but I am trying to get back into an IT job. My technical skills are out of date, but I would like to use some of my other skills and am doing a Java course. At 48, would companies be prepared to take on someone like myself who needs to be trained in the latest skills?

Use experience to your advantage

You are not alone in fearing the worst. In a survey of IT professionals last year, two-thirds felt they would struggle to find a job after the age of 45.

However, you have a wealth of experience to bring to the workplace, not only more than 20 years' of technical know-how but also interpersonal skills, which can be a key differentiator at interviews.

Make sure your CV looks professional, and focus on the skills you have used most recently. Also, practice your interview technique to accentuate your business acumen and man-management skills, as these are attributes younger candidates often lack.

Age should not be a prohibitive factor, particularly with your Java qualification. Monarch recently found positions for a 50-year-old C++ programmer and a 59-year-old Delphi analyst programmer. Employers in IT are also realising that to attract and retain candidates, regular training must be offered.

To maximise the number of opportunities available to you, you will need to be as adaptable as possible in both the remuneration package and location of your next position.

This was last published in January 2001



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