I'm looking for a career change

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by mcdirector, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. richtx

    richtx New Member

    Age against you

    I agree with some of what was said from a previous poster. IT and related fields like many others are not geared to entry level applicants pushing 50. There are far too many brilliant youngsters will to work on the cheap that are much more capable on average of learning complex material at a far faster rate. Realistically anything is possible but I truly believe you are getting in the game a bit late. Good luck!
  2. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: Age against you

    That statement is so facially outrageous that it doesn't even require a rebuttal. The wrongness of it speaks for itself.
  3. bing

    bing New Member

    DesElms, you are telling mcdirector to go get a job on a bench. That's a low level cigarette smoking back end contractor help desk job. The help desk people come out to the desks of the people who make the greater money (programmers, analysts, business integrators, and pm's) and take the laptop/pc back to their shop. The bench guys then say, "hmmm. one week of warranty left and needs a new motherboard. " They replace the motherboard and bam...back to the higher paid guy.

    Mcdirector already said that he was interested in programming and he showed two programs of interest, a programming certificate and a master's in computer science. That's not benchwork and benchwork won't help you get a job as a programmer.

    I hire IT people(CM people, analysts, programmers, and informaticists). If I see a resume with bench on it I am thinking low level trade school. I've worked in too many places and seen too much IT to know different.

    Now, some kinds of bench isn't bad. If you are in electrical engineering working on components for chromatography, gasses, or other sensitive instrumentation that's a different story. But, just to say work in a retailer bench to a person interested in programming, or computer science, is unnecessary.

  4. mcdirector

    mcdirector New Member

    mcdirector is a gal, guys :D

    I've read this all with interest. I'd already enrolled in a MEd program via DL at University of Illinois at Springfield and I'm going to go ahead and take the first class there before I decide if I want to continue or if I want to move in the IT/CS direction.

    Of course, now I also know that pushing 50 makes me . . . mmmm . . . Well, I guess now would be the time to keep my mouth shut.
  5. bing

    bing New Member

    mcdirector, I have read Norm Matloff's words with much interest on programmers/IT staff in their 40's and 50's. He writes quite a bit on age discriminitaion in this field. While I have some time to go before I hit that age it does concern me. On the positive side, I have plenty of 50 somethings, sixty somethings, and a few seventy somethings working at my company in IT.

    Maybe my company is not the norm but I have seen them hire permanent IT hires who are pushing 50, and some past the 50 mark. Generally, these people have skills just beyond IT, though. They know the chemistry or biology end, too. Some have a BS in biology, or some have a BS in chemistry, and a master's, or doctorate, in computer science. Some are computer science people with a master's in digital imaging or something like that(they take motion pictures of cells and manipulate those for scientists).

    Another field I see them hire into at work is people who have computer science degrees with tech writing master's or bachelor's. We do a lot of federal regulatory work and need IT staff that can do quality validation.

  6. firstmode4c

    firstmode4c Member

    If you have a passion and desire for something, any field of work is possible.

    People are telling you some of the pitfalls, etc that are very true, but you can always find your niche. May not be as easy as it would be in many other fields, but it is there!

    Keep on truckin!
  7. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    FOR A FEW WEEKS OR MONTHS UNTIL SHE KNOWS WHICH END IS UP ON A COMPUTER. It wasn't a career recommendation, for godsake; or for putting on her resume! It was so she wouldn't embarrass herself as an IT manager not even knowing her way around a ribbon cable. What part of that didn't you understand?

    You don't read very carefully, do you? See above (both my previous remark in this post as a response to what you've just written; and my previous post where I spelled it all out for her. Only this time, read carefully.

    Again, go back and read carefully not only my words, but hers and hers in response to mine.

    Then you're an arrogant, ignorant person who shouldn't be making IT hires.

    I'll match my IT career number of places, number of experiences, areas of expertise, and number of hires against yours any day of the week... and that's without even known anything about yours. That's how sure of mine I am. I've been at this for just under 30 years, you disrespectful twit. I've hired more people than you even know. And if I stop tomorrow, I'll have seen more IT than you will have seen if you worked at it 'til you were 90... and I say that without even knowing how old you are.

    Some people don't even know what they don't even know.

    Man, I don't believe this. I bush my hump to provide a saddle-stiched booklet's worth of help to the thread-starter and anyone else who's interested, and I get someone from the peanut gallery pissing all over it just for sport.

    (shakes head in disbelief) :mad:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2005
  8. bing

    bing New Member

    I still have to wonder about any advice to tell a person who is interested in programming to go get even a little job(even for a few weeks) as a retail bencher...for whatever reason. Programmers don't have to know which end of a motherboard is which...or don't you know that. Analysts certainly don't.

    Here's a tip. Take a look at Dice, http://www.dice.com/ , and I bet you won't find a lot of jobs requiring CompTIA certs...or at least anything more than helpdesk low-level network engineer, cable laying jobs. Most of the reqs you'll find with CompTIA have a requirement of what? A high school diploma? Now, CompTIA is not bad if you are looking to parlay that into a Microsoft certification...but it's elective credit toward that.

    If a kid was right out of high school and interested in getting into computers, and no plans to go to college, I would say that CompTIA is a fine avenue. It would be the minimum a shop might look for...it says at least they know something. I have NEVER seen a programmer or analyst job require a CompTIA cert, though. Many bench shops, to keep certified, will require people to be CompTIA, though. IT managers look at CompTIA like an auto mechanic's ASE certifications.

    30 years in IT! I bet you remember hanging tapes and having to manage your memory. You have experience on me if you have that many years in IT. I'll take my kind comment back about you being on the right track, though. I wouldn't give a great deal for the advice you offered her based on what she has said.

    My advice is to go back to school and learn java, c#, visual basic, and visual studio. Pick up an oracle class or two, too. You can know all there is to know about programming but if you cannot make your code interact with a database then you don't know anything worth much. Get on with a contractor firm that will place lower skilled people. They do it a lot. Then learn like crazy on the job. I've seen MANY people get good jobs going this route(look at Manpower Technical, CSC, or CHC). Often, adjuncts from companies teach these kinds of classes and you can ask them about jobs, too.

  9. richtx

    richtx New Member

    good advice

    That is good advice Bing! Other than the statement "A lowly barnacle on the
    hull of the S.S. DegreeInfo" I tend to disagree with DesElms.
    I have been a Software Engineer in Defense for over 20 years and have NEVER encountered EVEN ONE person who has successfully entered the field as a software engineer or similar as an entry level type person pushing 50 plus. I know of a few who have tried and failed. There is a guy I know who worked many years as a technician supporting NASA. He wanted to become an EE and tried taking all those nasty math and engineering courses to get his Bachelors. Not successful to date. I told him to take programming as it is a bit easier than engineering even though nowadays the OO paradigm I believe is a bit harder to master than structured programming was for several of us old crumudgeons. Several years later different schools etc., this guy still has no success. Now I did work with a guy in Raytheon that did do the tech to programmer transition successfully. Got a CS degree in his mid-forties. He did okay but was sort of handicapped by a lack of experience and become disillusioned by the environment. Wasn't exactly what he expected. Nice personality, go-along, get-along type. Got laid off mainly due to gross mismanagement by the company. He found out the company made a "mistake" and that his security clearance had actually lapsed even though he was working on classified material the whole time. This contributed to his lack of success looking for other work. He was taking MBA courses, on umemployment for a long time, and is now interested in doing other types of work. The point is 50 is a tough age for a career change particularly anything related to IT. There are many reasons for this. For software as I mentioned before there are far too many bright young people that are far more capable of learning rapidly than a pushing 50 type. You don't start learning about complex domains, Calc, Physics, Math, OO and all the associated IT stuff at 50. You learn this at 20. If there are some exceptions GREAT! It's just I haven't seen them. Not even ONE!
  10. richtx

    richtx New Member

    stay in education?


    Since you are in education you must be sick of kids. I can see why someone in your career could get burned out and seek a new direction. However instead of a completely "new" path how about rolling your expertise in education to a new job. I was thinking of an Educational Technology type of degree which is somewhat related to your standard MIS. Perhaps a way to stay connected to education yet get you out of your present situation?
    Try Nova Southeastern Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences.
    It might be more expensive than what you plan on spending but worth a look. Good luck!
  11. bing

    bing New Member

    Re: good advice


    I agree that it is going to be extremely tough to break into IT at 50, or 50+. I do have an example, though. When people come into my organization, they have to attend an orientation overview on the goals we have, the methodologies we use, and various other things. (I teach this orientation every other month. )

    One day this group comes in and there was a guy in there who was obviously over 50. I struck up a conversation with him after lunch and found out that he had gone to university and took a java class then got a certification in it after that. He went to a local contractor firm and they were able to place him here. All we do is look at the resumes from them. Under the contract terrms we don't do the interviewing for those contractors.

    He broke into IT when he was 52. He used to teach high school(retired). He was the oldest I had seen doing such, though. The PM later told me that he was one of the better java guys she had.

    Ahh. Raytheon. I have a number of friends working there on a defense contract. Right now, they are looking at making a huge cut in their workforce. One person I know is 51. He expects to get cut but he is ready for an age discrimination lawsuit, too. Already lined up his attorney and all. He's not taking it laying down. As I said, Norm Matloff, writes a lot about the plight of older IT people... http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/itaa.real.html#tth_sEc5

    One programmer I know is a top java, oracle, and pl/sql geek. He does very well on all of his contracts. He is 53 right now and feels he has to continue working until 68 to retire. Wow! That's going to be tough in this environment. I work with an architect who was supposed to retire about three years ago. He is staying on, though, and most are glad. He's 64. I don't see too much slowdown with him. He's glad to be working still.

  12. mcdirector

    mcdirector New Member

    Well, it's not the kids I'm sick of, but all the other stuff that goes along with education -- like NCLB, IEPs, etc. We had gone through accreditation and I was on that steering committee. AND I'd served on several accreditation teams for other schools. I was quite frankly burnt to a crisp at the end of last school year and don't feel quite so frantic now that I need to do something else -- I can take this year to make up my mind. Part of my problem right now is that I'm not passionate about anything, so I had to start with what I'm capable of doing.

    I did look at several M.Ed.s in Ed. Tech and had narrowed that program down to George Washington, Missouri, and Wyoming (which is an adult ed/ed tech degree). All DL. I'm thinking now that I need to do something that will allow me to stay in education but move me out of the classroom into a broader arena. Just the thought of completely starting all over in another field wears me out too. *sigh*
  13. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Whatever you do, don't be misled by the unapologetic ageism, and the software engineering/programmer arrogance that you've seen in this thread from the likes of Bing and richtx; or the unmitigated falsehood and unapologetic misdirection with which they have attempted to misguide you.

    Programmers/software engineers have always thought that what they do is the only thing worth doing in IT; that, in fact, what they do is the only true IT; and that those who provide the very infrastructure on which they do it are lowly peons of a more or less sub-human class. In any organization that isn't, itself, a programming/software engineering enterprise, they are the only ones who have such a high opinion of what they do.

    They are end-users -- nothing more and nothing less -- in exactly the same way as is a clerk in the accounting department or the receptionist out in front... except that instead of using accounting application software as does the accounting clerk, or word processing application software as does the receptionist, they use software development tools and application software. They're all still just end-user applications. Their focus is narrow, and their view of the "big picture" of IT is confined to their elitist little realm where actual IT people are, as can be seen in postings in this very thread, regarded as little more than glorified photocopier repair technicians... just will cooler titles.

    They know just enough about computers and general networking infrastructure to talk a bit of the talk (but certainly not to walk any of the walk); and they are so convinced of their own general and overall technical (and, as can also be seen in the posts in this very thread) psycho-social and intellectual expertise and superiority that they have to be watched like hawks (and severely restricted as to what their logins can do) so they won't try something (without checking with the IT department first) to make sure it won't slow down the network or its servers, or, even worse, just bring everything to a grinding halt.

    They are the right-brained, too-smart-for-the-room, often spike-haired (and, often, tatooed and/or pierced... or all of the above), techno-geek hipsters who are the first to break the IT department's end-user rules by listening to streaming audio while they work (thereby using-up untold bandwidth that the rest of the company needs for revenue-generating tasks); or by hosting renegade music downloading servers on their desktop machines so that their employer will eventually get a threatening CEASE AND DESIST letter from RIAA or other copyright holders; or by downloading and installing anything and everything sufficiently shiny and sparkly to distract them from what they're supposed to be doing -- again, without clearing it through the IT department and/or filling-out a requisition for whatever it is to first be assessed to ensure that it will play nicely with the rest of the network and then to be installed in an orderly fashion by someone from the IT department who will know how to configure it so it doesn't screw-up everything -- and, in the process, introducing into the entire system all manner of viruses, worms, trojans and other destructive and/or parasitic crap that can crash the system altogether, or rob others of their productivity or sometimes even their very work, or compromise the system's security so that company secrets or, worse, personal employee data may be obtained by hackers.

    IT -- and I mean the real IT -- is like a train and the tracks on which it runs. IT decides where the tracks will run and then builds, installs and maintains them. IT decides what kind of locomotive will run on said tracks, then obtains or builds, installs and maintains them. IT is the engineer that drives the train and makes sure that when the conductor (which is the closest thing in this analogy to which programmers/software engineers can be compared) says to stop or start or go on one direction or the other, those things are done in a way that ensure the ongoing operability of the railroad in a safe and cost effective manner.

    As you have seen in this very thread, programmers and software engineers try to appropriate the term "IT" for themselves and their extremely narrow realm -- their but one facet -- of what is the larger, overall IT area and function; assuming, apparently, that the computer fairy must have come in while they were sleeping and built the complex computer and networking infrastructure without which they would just be sitting at their desks with their d_cks in their hands; and that those who actually did build (and continue to maintain and grow) said infrastructure are merely "help desk" and "bench" peons and other forms of lowly galley slave losers. Programmers and software engineers are self-interested and effete little vermin who are usually far more trouble than they're worth; and, if the bug-ridden software sitting on my computer is any indication, they're not really good enough at what they do to be so damned arrogant.

    So, don't be misled mcdirector. Bing and richtx are blowing smoke up your ass, and couldn't punch their way out of a truly IT-related paper sack. I've been arguing with, about or over programmer/software engineering knuckleheads like this for most of my (considerably-longer-then-either-of-their) career(s), and in organizations where the IT function -- and the limited programmer/software engineer role therein -- is clearly and rightly understood, they're just frustrated and bitter nobodies who use misdirection and falsehood to make themselves look important to those who -- perhaps like you... at least for the moment -- don't know the difference.
  14. richtx

    richtx New Member

    The Pontificators

    The pontificators are those in IT that make a living, and sometimes a darned good one at that, hearing themselves talk. They don't actually produce anything of value or make things work but do a good job of looking important.
    I don't know how a person in the business for thirty years could possibly call a software engineer in any sense of the word an "end user". Must be in a different industry than I? Actually in my present job our software engineering "end users" are paving the way in areas from requirements analysis, architecture design, configuration management, tool selection, compilers, hardware, testing, etc. I wonder, really wonder, what "IT people" have done to lay the ground work for us end users? Moreover I wonder WHO other than us "end users" might these IT people be?
    I wonder if this is the type of job a fifty something entry level candidate might be interested in getting involved with after plugging in a computer and figuring which end is up? Perhaps, and if so more power to them.
    I recently completed your run of the mill MS in MIS while away on contract in order to keep busy. With my interaction with non-technical oriented classmates such as teachers I found they did not in general have sufficient analytic skills to do well in classes such as Database Systems or Survey of Programming languages. Now this does not mean they are not smart enough to become pontificators perhaps but if they really want to work where the "rubber meets the road" it is a tough hill to climb. For all those willing to try however I do send my best wishes. :cool:
  15. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: The Pontificators

    There's nothing surprising in this smug, dripping-with-arrogance response. It was exactly what I'd hoped for; and makes my point as I never could have. Thank you, richtx, for being so disconnected from reality; so contemplative of your own navel and convinced of your own superiority that you could not help but respond in a way that demonstrates the very character flaws which I described, in living color... like a trained seal.

    And, oh... by the way: I've produced more things of value and made more things work in my career and in my life than you're even able to contemplate with the big, big brain of yours.
  16. firstmode4c

    firstmode4c Member

    "Actually in my present job our software engineering "end users" are paving the way in areas from requirements analysis, architecture design, configuration management, tool selection, compilers, hardware, testing, etc. I wonder, really wonder, what "IT people" have done to lay the ground work for us end users? Moreover I wonder WHO other than us "end users" might these IT people be?"

    I just watched an hour long interview with the CIO of AT&T Wireless. He did work at the engineering and programming side of things early in his career with many companies, but transitioned into department lead roles while stil covering technology bases. He stressed that without proper vision and guidance from upper management who understands technology then their is no way for the technology to properly grow with the business and its revenue stream.

    In other words he wants you to sit in your cubicle and do as your told. Those are the "IT people" that lay the groundwork for what you are to do. The people that actually make the technology feasable and profitable. The people who get 2 million dollar bonuses at the end of the year because their vision made the company 100 times that amount.

    You have a rotten attitude and live in delusion.
  17. richtx

    richtx New Member

    Ah! The pontificators

    The pontificators with salutations longer than my average post makes me wonder who really is arrogant and wants to feel important. Yes, I have an MIS degree and read case histories too! They are nice reads but again in my industry I'm wondering who these people really are. If I had the luxury of sitting in my cube and just had to do what I was "told" I'd gladly work for the minimum wage by golly. It would be quite boring work. Anyway some CIOs have vision others not. Even with companies with great technology such as Ameritrade I'm wondering why me as a customer has to beta test their "new and improved visionary" website for free?
    AT&T Wireless? Well I don't have a cellphone. You know I'm still back in the caveman days, but don't they have their problems also?
    Ah well, back to the case studies. Let's pontificate some more on this!
  18. firstmode4c

    firstmode4c Member

    Rich man, the cellular industry is way more that phones. They have giant fiber and RF networks. They have sales stores and huge call centers that all have to be linked to a central point in their company running many oses and custom apps. They have larger infrastructure related businesses than anyone else.

    Telcos and cell providers have the largest most varying network infrastructures in the world. No body beats a telco in network size because their network spans all the way to your house. They are IP networks, SS7 networks, Etc. Lots of translations occurring to get things to run successfully.

    I hate when this happens, when threads turn combative. I am sorry rich, did not mean to jump on you like that. I guess all I am saying is I agree that each aspect of IT is just a small piece fo the pie.

    I work for a Cellular company on Help Desk and we have to troubleshoot the Cellular network, our STPs and varying links to other cell providers accross south america, North america (usa and canada) We have an extensive data network using VOIP for our Push-to-talk, etc. Our Cellular network, like everyones network, is a complex beast of many heads. My friend is a systems analyst for the company and we have a LARGE IS staff who program custom apps and solutions for our employees and retail stores. We have all aspects of IT working for the company and my company is a perfect example of how the infrastructure guys are top dog. We have many engineers and architects of many types that work to constantly expand improve our network.

    The infrastructure reliability and expansion is what makes our customers. Not so much the apps or even features provided believe it or not. People just want their calls to not drop and not have to pay a lot for those said calls. The money in our company comes from our network first and foremost. There has to be a synergy between the IT, Analysts, and Cellular departments to make things successful, but some departments are more important for a company than others. You may be working for a company where the Software engineers and Analysts are the most important part of the company, I really do not know that so i cannot comment on how important your job is to your companies bottom line.

    Sorry for being a jerk to you.
  19. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Great to hear from you again Gregg. Don't be a stranger.

    Abner :)
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that thread is from 2005.


Share This Page