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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30? 451

Posted by timothy
from the question-is-will-you-trust-yourself-next-year? dept.
First time accepted submitter possiblybored writes "I'm 30, and I am a technology teacher and the school's technology coordinator. I like my job, but I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector. I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably. Is it too late for me to think about this? What is the best way to get started on this path? I'm not so much interested in programming (though I'd like to learn a language some day) as much as I am intrigued by topics like setting up e-mail servers, reading about cloud stuff like Office 365, and looking at information on collaborative technology. I'm a good teacher and excel at explaining things as well. Any advice the community could offer would be greatly appreciated!"
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

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  • Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:43PM (#46421271)

    Submission is very clearly a troll. Please don't post this kind of crap.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was thinking the same thing... "This cannot be for real"

      First off, how the hell do you get a job teaching even gradeschool computer science without knowing a single programming language? There are people I know who will pick up VBA or PHP over a couple of weekends who are working as technical writers or assembling O&Ms because the high level IT landscape is so competitive. This guy likes Microsoft products and wants to set up email servers? You know who can set up an Exchange server? Any functional hu

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Em Adespoton (792954)

        Somewhere in Oklahoma there is a school district that needs to review its hiring practices.

        I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector.

        I'm wondering if those thoughts were prompted by others.

        I've changed directions in the generic "IT" field a few times, and it all boiled down to "What do I actually WANT to be doing? What am I doing in my spare time in IT that is distracting me from my day job?" I then enter that field, already having experience and connections in the sub-field that I want to be working in.

        So for him, I think the ques

        • Re:Troll (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:09PM (#46422233) Homepage Journal

          I've changed directions in the generic "IT" field a few times, and it all boiled down to "What do I actually WANT to be doing?

          Hey, it's never too late really, if you are quick to pick up things, and smart enough. It doesn't have to be confined to only ONE field.

          I'm over the mid 40's, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

          My degree was in chemistry, never worked in that field, almost did medical school, shy of that I fell in to medical research, started learning databases for that way back in the stone age, did some grad school in IT to try to bring my gpa up (I had a great party life in college)...from there fell into GUI design with a company that was primarily mainframes, but moving interfaces to windows, fell into learning Oracle, and did some DBA work at places, I've designed database driven web apps, played with a few languages, but never really mastering any one. I've worked in restaurants, been a head chef, sold retail, and frankly, I'm looking maybe at some point to see what I can do in the arts maybe. I dunno yet.

          I have mostly been a jack of all trades but likely master of none. However, doing that, learning enough to get through anything (fake it till you make it), having some people skills, I've just gone in different directions where the wind took me and my interests.

          I think Aerosmith said it best "Life's a journey, not a destination".

          I still don't know what I wanna be when I grow up...it can be a lifestyle and philosophy that you go with. I keeps life from being boring, and yes, you can make a VERY comfortable living doing it if you're smart, and do what you set your mind to and don't let things get in the way.

      • Re:Troll (Score:5, Informative)

        by possiblybored (3513109) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:39PM (#46421931)
        Good afternoon, Though I don't want to get into the specifics of my job, I do not teach computer science. I am also not employed in Oklahoma, for the record. :-) I'm more than willing to spend my off time learning skills, and was merely trying to find out what the best entry point would be. I enjoy writing and would be interested in technical writing. Thanks for sharing.
  • by MtnDeusExMachina (3537979) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:43PM (#46421277)
    Whatever you love doing, do more of it. Then just be sensitive, and maybe a little aggressive, about pursuing leads that naturally arise from your avocation.
  • Apply to jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:44PM (#46421281) Homepage
    You're talking about breaking into the IT industry, not politics.

    Start applying for help desk jobs. Yes, it really is that simple.
    • by mysidia (191772)

      You're talking about breaking into the IT industry, not politics.

      You have any suggestions for breaking out of the IT industry at 30 and getting elected to office, such as senator or president?

      • Sell your soul to the devil. Seems to work for the people that try it.

      • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:01PM (#46421529) Homepage
        I'm 31 and seriously looking into getting out of software development.

        It was cool when I was 14. It was still doable when I was 23. Now it's soul-crushing.

        I wish I was a farmer or a carpenter.
        • by mlts (1038732)

          What I have seen is that software development generally has two career paths: One stays with the code tree and becomes the head dev guy, or one moves into management. Of course, one can start transitioning to another role, be it training, QA, or make the jump from dev to IT.

          Of course, a lot of people move out of the dev industry entirely. If you can write code, you can become an HVAC person, electrician or plumber... and even though those may not be desk jobs... you always will have work regardless of th

          • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

            by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:27PM (#46421795) Homepage
            I'm already "principal software developer" (team lead?); I really, really, really have no interested in moving over to management. I'm sure I could love being a developer if there were any jobs coding assembly, C, hell even perl. It's 2014 though. The era of coding is virtually gone. All we do now is beat various frameworks into submission. The influx of buzzwords over the last decade or so has really made it unbearable, adding insult to injury. Fuck Spring, fuck agile, and fuck this whole industry.

            Ironically, I used to do menial electrical work after high school. At the time, I thought it was horrible. The grass is always greener...
            • If Spring is the worst you've had to deal with, you're lucky.

              Try any of the frameworks that come from IBM or from companies acquired by IBM. Your soul will be crushed in no time.

            • The era of coding still exists in embedded software. You can't run elaborate frameworks on memory limited systems and performance limitations will dictate the use of C or assembly.

        • Get a job in a less stressful software development environment. Not all are like that. Some are particularly bad like game development. Not everything is like that though. If you get a job doing maintenance of a piece of software in a bank, or some other place like that, it can be positively sedating sometimes.

          • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:4, Interesting)

            by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:29PM (#46421811) Homepage
            I can't handle 40 hours of sedation every week for the rest of my life. I chose to work in the defense industry specifically because I thought it would afford me opportunities to work on exciting high-tech shit. That bubble's been burst for some time now.
            • Me neither. However the opposite, e.g. working for a consulting company, can be even worse. Just make sure you ask to view the workplace *before* you get on board. If they don't let you view the workplace just don't go work there at all. Avoid.

            • by swillden (191260)

              I can't handle 40 hours of sedation every week for the rest of my life. I chose to work in the defense industry specifically because I thought it would afford me opportunities to work on exciting high-tech shit. That bubble's been burst for some time now.

              So a bank or similar isn't what you need. Fine. The GP's point is still valid: it sounds like your problem isn't software development, it's your job. There are plenty of really enjoyable software jobs around, for whatever your definition of "enjoyable" is (assuming you actually like coding, and you probably do otherwise you wouldn't have liked it in the past). You just need to find one, which means you first need to figure out what kind of environment will fulfill your needs.

              Personally, I'm in my mid-40s,

        • At 42, I can tell you it gets worse. The idiocy of management is boundless, as is their energy in pushing their ideas and their inability to absorb any information.

          • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:36PM (#46421885) Homepage
            Sounds like a new Ask Slashdot is brewing:

            How Do I Escape My Tech Career At 30?
            I'm 30 and hate computers with a passion. I used to love them, but then money got involved, and now I want nothing more than to punch through the screen of any laptop I see. Is it too late for me to avoid suicide? Has anyone in the community managed to escape the bondage of the keyboard and trackpad and find a fulfilling career that enables them to support themselves and their family without daily stifling back tears of rage provoked by incompetent management?
            • Look for industries where you can be a systems analyst instead of a software engineer.
              Software engineer is working on the same products/problems/frameworks day in and day out. Sure new problems/challenges are fine, but it gets old and boring. There's constant pressure to churn out code, meet unrealistic deadlines and perform up to some management made up performance levels.
              System analysts take a look at problems and systems and create solutions. Whether the solutions are tools/utilities, products or anyt

          • by Mariner28 (814350)
            At 52 I can tell you it gets much, much worse. I have a BSEE and an MS. I've gone from being a principal network engineer at 38 to taking a career sabbatical at 45 - but continuing to work part-time on various projects. Last year I decided I had enough fun so I'm trying to find work in a different city (my old employer will take me back, but wants me to move back.) I can't find decent work. I apply for mid-level or even low-level NE roles, and get rejected because they think I'll be too expensive with my e
        • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Mark of the North (19760) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:57PM (#46422137)

          Quit the soul-crushing job as soon as you are able. If you use phrases like soul-crushing to describe what you do for 40+ hours of work, you need a change.

          I'm 40 and struggling with the aftermath of a similar situation. My last job as director of tech for a school division came to an end when a new superintendent came in with strong opinions about what technology in a school should be (Apple TVs and Ipads) but didn't have a clue what it took to support those technologies (like a secure network) or an understanding of the regulations we worked under. Being thrown under the bus was pretty painful. Can't say that I have fully recovered, physically or emotionally.

          One thing is for sure, I never want to be stuck in a job where my supervisor is an opinionated moron again. Not unless the job has a short time-frame. This pretty much rules out working directly for government. Even if you are lucky to get in with a good group, it can change in a hurry.

          Now, I'm doing tech consulting, raising sheep, building a green home, and being a dad again. Two months in and I can't see myself ever going back.

      • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:46PM (#46422019)
        I ran for Congress two years ago at age 29. I won the Democratic primary for my district and ran on a technocratic platform. I'd advise anybody with an IQ over 100 to stay the hell away from politics. It is soul-crushing, the people you meet are loathesome, and since the wide-spread adoption of gerrymandering most elections are foregone conclusions anyway. I lost the election with 40% of the vote, went back to being a full-time server admin and couldn't be happier.
  • Look for a consulting gig.

    I've done a lot of work that boiled down to "tell us if and how this will work for us, before we spend all this money"

  • Sounds like you still want to teach so why not teach in the private sector? http://www.microsoft.com/learn... [microsoft.com]

    • Sounds like you still want to teach so why not teach in the private sector? http://www.microsoft.com/learn... [microsoft.com]

      This fellow is a teacher, but it's not clear what his depth is. He says he is "intrigued by topics like setting up e-mail servers, reading about cloud stuff like Office 365, and looking at information on collaborative technology" [emphasis mine].

      It sounds to me like he needs to learn more before he can teach. But he has time -- I mean, he's only 30 years old FGS.

  • by alen (225700) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:45PM (#46421303)

    hadoop, cloudera, etc

    email and traditional databases have peaked out long ago. the future is having to search huge amounts of non-relational data. its still in the early stages where the software is immature and you need to do lots of legwork to search the data.

  • System Administration needs people the customer can understand. But do you really want to compete with 22 year old junior sysadmins? Have you been running a data center out of your basement they way they have?

    There's also value in the sales engineer. But do you have enough of the engineer part? The customer has to be able to understand the sales engineer, that's pivotal, but the sales engineer also has to rough out the system design with the correct company products and come up with a credible cost estimate

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:47PM (#46421341) Homepage

    If I was in your situation given your experience and passion, I would focus more on private home and SMB side of things. Consulting, sales, and perhaps some end-user support. I doubt system and network infrastructure administration is your thing. Perhaps later on, but now.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:47PM (#46421345) Journal

    Bwha ha ha ha ha!!!

    Just how old do you think you *are*, sonny boy? 30 is just barely dry behind the ears! Truth is that there is lots of room for anybody in the tech field who is *competent*. So be competent!

    It does help to be somewhat charismatic and hygienic.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      That was my thought too. He is worried about being 30? WTF dude, just learn something else and move on.

      Now, if you were 50, we might have something to talk about as there is discrimination going on at that level especially if you are changing fields. but 30? Umm, no.

    • 30 is far far too late to be learning a first programming language.

      That tells me he's, at best, a mouse clicker install monkey.

      How do you have 'a passion for computers' and not write one lame little flash game for fun?

  • by Framboise (521772) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:48PM (#46421367)

    Think about the fate of dinosaurs that were replaced by smaller more agile mammals when difficult times came...

  • But I do know ...

    It's easier at 30 than at 40.
    Which is easier than at 50.
    Which is easier than at 60, since no one has done it at 60 yet.

  • I currently work in user experience testing, and never worked in tech until I was 32.
  • by mexsudo (2905137) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:51PM (#46421405)
    Your goal as described would indicate you want to be a teacher!
  • by ryen (684684) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:51PM (#46421409)
    With your limited skillset without programming or intermediate sysadmin, but given your background in teaching and familiarity with concepts i'd say you'd be a good fit for training and/or documentation within a tech company. Training can include on-boarding new hires and getting them familiar with internal systems, or even training customers on using the software. I've worked with many people in these roles at companies i've been with. Documentation also might be a good route: writing manuals, online specs, and online training stuff. Theres lots of people doing this at the larger software shops.
  • by steak (145650) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:55PM (#46421451) Homepage Journal

    they changed the name of the mcse to make it harder for joke acronyms to be created.

  • " Is your job running? You'd better go catch it!"

  • Maybe become a gigolo who specializes in masochism. If you like setting up Exchange servers, you'll love it the first time a woman steps on your balls.

    • Second that. Learn anything you can about Linux, and - beyond that - about *at least* one of the other Unices: Solaris... Learn a *real* OS inside out. It will serve(r) you well into your 60s.
  • by santax (1541065) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:59PM (#46421509)
    After reading your question this one came to my mind. Those who can do, those who can't teach. But it does makes me wonder what you are teaching these kids if you have to ask us how to get a job in the tech-world. I hope your pupils won't have to ask that same question.
    • Those who can't teach rely on snarky catchphrases to make themselves feel better about past classroom humiliations.
    • makes me wonder what you are teaching these kids if you have to ask us how to get a job in the tech-world. I hope your pupils won't have to ask that same question.

      That seems unfair. Would you expect a music teacher to lecture kids about recording contracts?

      It strikes me as unfortunate that a technology teacher doesn't know how to code, because that seems like a basic part of the subject matter. But I wouldn't expect a schoolteacher to be an expert on private sector job hunting.

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      Some people just like to play dumb and ask for external opinions. Kind of like when someone asks you something that they could Google in 3 seconds.

      When people ask specific questions, I try to understand their skill level when answering. When people ask very general questions, I assume they're just interested in conversation.

  • Answer (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I like Microsoft products ... Is it too late for me ...?

    Man, there is no hope for you!

  • At 30, you're young enough to do pretty much anything. But I'd caution against tying yourself too closely to a specific software vendor. You may still be in the workplace 30 years from now, so try to cultivate skills that will remain relevant.

    It sounds like you're working in the field already. Have you tried applying for private sector jobs?

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:05PM (#46421589) Homepage

    If once you start down the Microsoft path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will...

    Seriously, Microsoft is in decline, and already has a bunch of people trained up in it. You should consider learning mobile development for Android, iOS, or both. If you want to learn server-side stuff I would learn the open stack: Linux, MySQL and/or Postgres, maybe Hadoop.

  • Most hiring is by or at least through people who have absolutely no clue about the technology of the job they are hiring for.
    Consequently, the only way they have of judging your ability is by a piece of paper that says you can do something.
    The good news is that there are many 2 or 3 day seminars/certification courses that you basically just have to pay one or two grand and basically as long as you show up and demonstrate a level of intellegence that puts you anywhere above clinically braindead you will get

  • Most medium (and up) sized businesses have a training group (usually a subset of HR), and have a real need for people who both know the material and know how to teach it.

    Breaking into "real" IT at your age, without in-field work experience, would mean working the helpdesk - If that appeals to you, great, but it doesn't tend to pay all that well.
  • I switched technology careers at 30 myself; I went from help desk technician and system administration to web development, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. Of course, it probably helps that I'd already been trying to get into web development for the better part of the preceding decade... but that's not the point. The point is that it can indeed be done, if you have the skills and the drive to get where you want to be. Most jobs outside of the education field and higher sciences aren't nearly as d

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:15PM (#46421681) Journal

    IMO, at 30, you're right in the "zone" as far as the age group companies like to hire for computer support or network/server administration.

    (Honestly, I think there's greater interest in hiring younger for software development, due to the mentality that you can hire talent cheap if you catch them shortly after they're out of school. Plus, they haven't been in the field long enough to be "old dogs that know a bunch of tricks you have to get them to un-learn" for your particular environment.)

    It sounds like part of your question relates to which technologies you should focus on learning? One trend I have noticed is that mail servers are becoming more and more centralized. Most growing companies want to eliminate the in-house mail server(s) and sub-contract that out. With the growth of mobile devices that get attached to corporate email, it's nice to offload that bandwidth usage to a 3rd. party, among other things. This has the side-effect of making knowledge of setup/configuration/maintenance of mail servers (like Exchange) a skill-set that gives you a full-time job working only with email. If you really like email and mail servers, great. Go this route and get hired on at one of the cloud-based email services out there! Otherwise, I'd only worry about knowing it from the client side.

    Every company I've ever worked at could stand to have more I.T. people on staff with good training skills and an interest in doing it. The "gotcha" there is that usually? It boils down to a situation where you won't really get to do as much of that as you and your co-workers would like because management has other ideas about what's the most valuable use of your time and company resources. (Remember, if you decide to schedule a "training session" for a big group in one of the conference rooms? Now the productivity of ALL of those people attending just dropped to 0 during the time you've got them as a captive audience in there. You're also occupying the room, which may also pose at least some level of inconvenience -- especially if employees regularly book the room to pitch a service or product your company makes to its clients. You'll probably also find that without providing some food and drink, it's tough to get people to show up for such things... so again, another expense for the company.)

    I've always found that good communication skills and ability to teach the software is a really valuable skill, but you'll primarily wind up using it randomly, when assisting people by phone or "one on one" at their desks with issues. If you're lucky, a hiring manager will give you more consideration than "the next applicant" because of a background teaching technology. But it will become "just another thing you do that's kind of taken for granted" once you're hired.

    Especially if you're getting hired via a recruiting firm, they're overly fixated on industry "buzzwords". Certain items are considered "hot" at any given time. For the last couple years or so, "virtualization" was a big one. If you could say you had experience using VMWare ESXi or any of the other products allowing virtual servers, it was a big plus. "Cloud" knowledge is another one. IMO, this is really a bunch of nonsense, because almost ALL the cloud-based services have easy to use web based control panels. Anyone with good general I.T. skills and knowledge can master any of them in short order. Mastering virtual server products is a little more difficult and useful as a real skill .... but again, many places just treated it like it was a big deal, only because of a one-off desire to reduce the number of servers in a server room. Once somebody moved all 7 or 8 of those outdated physical servers onto one virtual server and got them running well? There wasn't a whole lot more to do or know to maintain that.... so other I.T. skills become more important again.

  • by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:25PM (#46421769) Homepage
    I hate to be the Curmudgeon..however with a school you are guaranteed a pension. In the private sector, no matter how much you make, you will never make up the difference. At some point, you'll get tired of bits & bytes and just want to play with grand kids or go fishing. Stay with the school, and you'll be doing that by the time your 55. Leave for the private sector and 55 becomes a hard to reach retirement age.
  • by Peristaltic (650487) * on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:26PM (#46421775)

    Is it too late for me to think about this?

    It is never too late. I have known people that have jumped into unrelated careers, successfully, at 35, 40, 52, and 65.

    How much effort are you willing to put forth? Are you willing to temporarily forgo some of the pleasures in your life to which you've become accustomed?

    Are you willing to immerse yourself in the new career, both at work and after hours? Ask yourself and answer truthfully: do you truly want to make a change, or are you just thinking... "wouldn't it be nice if"? The answer may be painful, and sometimes you won't know until you're there- Are you willing to take that risk?

    Are you willing to risk the possibility of having to start at a lower level on the pay scale in your new field? I have a cousin that graduated from the Air Force Academy, flew F-15's for almost 10 years, and after accepting an engineering job at a defense contractor, quickly realized that he couldn't stand that type of job. With a wife and 3 daughters to support, he left to start a career at an airline.... at the time (mid-80's), he had to start as a flight engineer, at about 20k / year. With his love of flight focusing his resolve, and with the support of his wife (she took a second job), he persevered in a boring, low-paying job, staring at a panel of guages in a jet... but he stuck to it, and over a number of years ended up as a 747 long-haul pilot for Northwest, making just under 200k / year.

    You must decide if you're ready to commit, with all that that implies. If you feel drawn to whatever it is you're thinking of doing, and you're ready to commit, there are few legitimate reasons to hold back- I would say that if you have no legs and desire to win a ballroom dancing championship, you may have a legitimate reason not to compete, but you could still find a way to excel, in some role, in this activity if you truly had the desire.

  • by RichMeatyTaste (519596) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:26PM (#46421785)
    Get into consulting, easiest way to get experience (by fire). Volunteer for every project you can, even if you are just asking to shadow others at the start so you can learn.
    Study things like Puppet, OpenStack, VMware vSphere, Hyper-V (along with SCVMM), KVM (part of OpenStack) etc. Be aware of app platforms (e-mail, SQL, etc) but don't make them your career as hosted/cloud based services are a serious threat to onsite stuff (privacy issues aside).
    Find all the key blogs for each of these things I've mentioned, and read them often. Follow the authors of these blogs on Twitter if you really want to keep up to date.
    Oh, and LEARN TO RECOGNIZE WHEN STUFF IS CHANGING and adjust your skills accordingly.
    Remember your users/customers have needs, and your job is to give them what is best for them regardless of your own bias. Despite what vendors tell you, no solution is best for everyone.
  • I lied, I'm not speechless, but if you think you're too old at 30 you need an attitude adjustment. Or to hang out with some olds who aren't as limited in their vision as you are.

  • Consulting. 10 hour work weeks (plus meetings). Couple hundred an hour billable at 40hours/week.

  • I'm the exact opposite of you. I'd love to get out of my IT shop and get into working with kids. I'm 29. Trade? Haha
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:11PM (#46422255) Journal

    Did the same thing when I turned 30; switched from Aerospace Engineering to Structural Engineering (i.e. buildings). I got a masters in the field I wanted to switch to and applied for jobs based on the new degree. Took me 2 years of evenings. And a 50% pay cut. Hey, I didn't say it was easy. (Oh, 15 years out I now gross 3-3.5x what I made when I left Aerospace, run my own consulting firm, and get to post on /. whenever the fuck I want.)

  • Serious answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:23PM (#46422359)

    A lot of people are assuming this is a troll or some sort of joke. That says a lot about how helpful people are! It sounds like you have familiarity with a number of software products, most likely all Microsoft. To strengthen that, you could take some courses at a community college. You could also volunteer some of your services for your local church or other nonprofit to build a resume.

    However, you might want to consider that instead of IT support, in the private sector, going the training route. With your teaching background, many corporations would hire you. In addition, with your current computer background, they could hire you to teach software classes to their employees. Even if you are wanting to get out of teaching and into support, such a path would get your foot in the door and allow you to establish connections, gain experience and pick up additional skills before making the switch.

  • by Halster (34667) <haldouglas@ g m a i l.com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:41PM (#46422573) Homepage

    30 you say? Well that's hardly over the hill now is it?

    I have to say there are some pretty poor responses in the comments, many are very discouraging. Don't listen to them. Let's look at some factors:

    - There's an IT skills shortage, worldwide.
    - As a teacher you must have a degree so you've a proven ability to learn.
    - As a teacher you've proven that you can train people, and speak to groups confidently.
    - As a non-geek originally, people should be able to relate to you better than your average Slashdot troll (sorry, couldn't resist)!
    - You don't need to learn to program to be a sysadmin. Scripting skills would be a big advantage though.
    - Tech is a wide and varied area, you have lots of options for entry, from going back to school through to starting with a small business and doing helpdesk stuff to work up to sysadmin duties.
    - It will take time and effort (be prepared to 'live' IT for several years). But I've seen other teachers do it (I work as an IT Manager at a school).

    Finally, like I said, you can do it, you're by no means over the hill. I wonder if a side-step might be a best first move. Buddy up with some companies that do tech in schools at the same time as doing some out of hours study and you might find you can move over as an educational tech. consultant or a techie with a welcome educational background, and then use that as the foot in the door.

    Anyway, best of luck. Like I say, I've certainly seen teachers do this, I know a former school teacher who works for Microsoft.

    My final words of advice.... prepare to give up the long holidays, forever! ;)

  • Uh oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shoten (260439) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:33PM (#46423715)

    I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably.

    There goes your odds of getting much in the way of help from this crowd...

  • by iceaxe (18903) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @07:15PM (#46424161) Journal

    After college I worked in retail management for a few years. At age 30 I left that field and took a job working in tech support for a large software firm which shall remain nameless. Using that as a springboard, I launched into a career which has included both support and operations type positions and coding positions. I'm currently a senior level software developer/architect leading distributed teams on major projects, and am tracking toward management as I get older and can see where the bread is buttered. It was a bumpy ride getting it going, but some of that was due to macro-economy events outside my control, and some was due to not having all the right buzzwords and HR search terms on my resume at first.

    The one bit of advice I can give for sure is this: work your tail off becoming really freaking good at both what you do, and what you want to do next. If you don't have the depth of resume, you'd better be able to perform in an interview in a way that leaves no doubts that you know your stuff. Then when you land that gig, hit the ground running, and never let up.

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