My pay is falling, have I been in IT too long?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

The question: My pay is falling, have I been in IT too long?

I am a 54-year-old woman who has been in IT for more than 20 years, adapting to frequent changes in platforms and languages. However, since 2000 I have experienced a salary decrease of 50%. Despite six years' experience in C++ and SQL, I find myself virtually on the scrap heap. When agencies have presented my CV to employers, they have not had any success. Is it my age, my sex, or simply that I have been in IT too long?

The solution: Upgrade your skills and revise your CV

First, remove your date of birth from your CV. To comply with age discrimination legislation, agencies and employers should not ask about your age at the application stage.

You clearly have great IT experience, and C++ and SQL are certainly in demand. Nevertheless, I advise anyone working in IT at any stage of their career to keep on learning. Have a look at the MCSD (Microsoft certified solutions developer) certification, which will enable you to create applications within the .net Framework using C#. Agencies frequently have development vacancies requiring these skills.

Have you considered putting your CV on job sites? Recruitment agencies often search for candidates on job boards, so this will give you extra exposure.

It is also worth doing some research on "good" CVs, then re-writing yours from scratch, emphasising your key skills at the top of the front page. This is critical as a well-written CV will always improve your chances of finding the right job.

Solution by Jeremy I'Anson, principal IT consultant at Hudson

The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group

Computer Weekly has put together a panel of experts whose specialist knowledge you can draw on to solve a problem. E-mail your question (or your solution to the question above) to [email protected]

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