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Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60? 306

First time accepted submitter Hatfield56 writes "I've been in IT since the mid-1980s, mainly working for financial institutions. After 16 years at a company, as a programmer (Java, C#, PL/SQL, some Unix scripting) and technical lead, my job was outsourced. That was in 2009 when the job market was basically dead. After many false starts, here I am 3 years later wondering what to do. I'm sure if I were 40 I'd be working already but over 60 you might as well be dead. SO, I'm wondering about A+. Does anyone think that this will make me more employable? Or should I being a greeter at Walmart?"
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Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60?

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  • Contracting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:45PM (#41921879) Homepage Journal
    Get into contracting. If you've not done it before...look around and get with a contracting company....preferrably one that does Federal Govt Contracting.

    Can you survive a clearance check?

    If so, you should have no problem getting on with a company doing DoD contracting....they OFTEN look for years of experience. If you're good, have a decent resume, they will submit you in....they want you to get the jobs so they can get $$ off you.

    The market is often dying to hire people with lots of resume experience.

    You definitely have a leg up on younger programmers.

  • Expectations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zarjazz ( 36278 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:50PM (#41921973)

    I have to ask what your expectations are and be realistic.

    As an employer actively recruiting IT staff at the moment, rare in the current job market I know, and I have a choice between a recent uni-graduate and someone with 15 yrs experience who I can hire for almost the same wages because so many skilled IT staff have been laid off and need to pay their mortgage. For me the choice is obvious, I don't care about the age factor.

    However I also interview many many people who think they deserve to get the same remuneration they got from their high-flying finance job and wonder why they are still jobless after two years.

  • Write android apps. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:53PM (#41922041) Homepage

    If you can program Java really well then you are 90% there for android app writing, Make your living $0.99 at a time. There is a dearth of real business apps for Android.

  • iOS is an option (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nebulo ( 29412 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:56PM (#41922109)

    A 62-year old friend of mine took an iOS certification course at the University of Washington (Seattle) and promptly found a full-time position at one of the Big Four professional services firms, developing mobile applications for their clients. Prior to this job, he was a self-employed specialty developer, until his wife fell ill and he needed to procure full-time employment.

    So hope springs eternal - it's at least possible to get a job after being Of A Certain Age, if you have the right skills for the right field.


  • by Anonymous Codger ( 96717 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:58PM (#41922141)

    Make sure your skills are up-to-date, and structure your resume in such a way as to not reveal how old you really are. For example, no dates on your education and/or military service, leave off early jobs, etc. You might want to dye your hair if you're gray, although I wouldn't go that far.

    It's illegal to not hire you due to your age, but of course it's hard to win an age discrimination suit. So don't let it go there.

    Other people have mentioned govt. contracting. Some contracting firms like to hire older techies because they fit in well with the aging population of government workers.

  • Failure to launch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:29PM (#41922683)

    If you haven't noticed, programming has changed since the '90s. It's now pretty well a blue-collar job -- under three levels of management. Even in small companies, it's heavily controlled, especially where version control comes into play.

    It's the perfect job for any 20-something.

    By the time 30 roles around, you'd better be the one determining what gets programmed. Whether or not you also do the programming is irrelevant.

    By 60, your value comes as proper experience. You shouldn't be looking for a programming job. You should be looking to manage a programming company, consult for a programming company, assess a programming company, or start your own programming company. Otherwise, you're a) not bringing any more skill than a 20-something and b) wasting a lot of the skill that you certainly have.

    I'm 35, have my own software company that's varied in size between 1 and 5 programmers -- including myself. And that's just the way I love it.

  • Re:Consulting (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:41PM (#41922879)

    Yeah I'm getting tired of all these people who say "oh I'm 40/50/60 and I can't get a job, waah!" This isn't a new trend, it's been there for ages. I'm 50 and even before I graduated I was aware that it would be hard to get a new "programming" job past 30/35, so guess what, whenever I could I demanded high pay and I put the extra money into a retirement fund. Result: at the age of 40 I stopped being a working stiff and became part-time freelance programmer, part-time retired.

    Lesson for the young'uns: don't rely on a company pension, don't rely on having a job beyond the age of 35. Start saving money as soon as you start working. Put the money into aggressive, high-risk mutual funds at first, since you can still recover from losses, then move them into more conservative funds over the years. By the time you hit 35 you'll be telling yourself "heck I can retire tomorrow" and that'll give you the confidence to negotiate a top salary which will pad your retirement fund even more, which will let you retire even sooner.

    And by all means, start organising your own freelance business when you hit 30. Remember: you're not successful as long as you're working for somebody else and have to ask permission to take a week off.

  • Re:A+ = F (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:04PM (#41923227)

    Quoth the un-certified.

    Then hear it from a certified person. I have A+, Network+, Server+, MCSE, CCNP, CCSP, CCDP, CCSE, and about 20 others. I'm a contractor, and for the State of Alaska, to touch a desktop (even to plug in a mouse) as a contractor, you must have A+. To touch a switch (even if just to move it in a rack while it's powered off) you must have Network+. To change tapes in a backup server, you must have Server+. I got those as a condition of employment for a consulting firm. I took 3 tests in 3 days, no studying, passed all three first try.

    They are worthless, and I literally got A+ so I'd be "qualified" to plug in a mouse.

The absence of labels [in ECL] is probably a good thing. -- T. Cheatham