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Career change into IT at 35

  • 17-05-2022 12:00am
    Registered Users Posts: 28 arelyn

    Hello everyone

    I have been working in the healthcare sector for quite a while now and I am tired of the bureaucracy , staff shortages, long hours etc...

    I am looking for ways to break into the IT sector and I have some questions

    1. I have a level 8 which is totally unrelated to IT, what is my option qualification wise...A full 4 year degree is definitely out of it but ready to commit to anything not more than 2years

    2. What are the challenges I should prepare for? I will like to know if ageism is a big thing in this industry

    Thank you all for your response



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,903 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    Do you like Linux?

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,485 ✭✭✭✭Akrasia

    Do you have an aptitude for IT?

    Before you do anything, try a free coursera or udemy course in something like python or java and see if you're interested enough to follow through with it.

    It's not gonna be easy though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 arelyn

    Truth be told, I am an open book at this point in time and I am just certain I can learn anything successfully

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,485 ✭✭✭✭Akrasia

    If you're open to it then there's no reason why you can't make it. The industry is crying out for hard-working talented professionals.

    But please try before you buy. There are loads of really good online courses for free. At the least they might help you decide on which area of development you prefer so you can focus on that

  • Posts: 5,917 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Not sure what your current role is in health care, as in if you are a medical professional or administrative, but when I did my degree there were two nurses who didn't last six months.

    Both were very intelligent and didn't have any issues with the maths subjects, they just didn't have the aptitude for the programming and hardware subjects. So as already advised do some free courses and see if you can follow through on them.

    There are medical software companies who may find your experience an advantage. The main one in Ireland isn't that great a place to work for, as if in a role that requires travel to customers, you will be doing 12+ hours a day between travelling and working on sites but only paid for 7.5 hours at not a great salary.

    They would perhaps be a foot in the door with some basic industry IT qualifications such as the CompTIA A+ or a train the trainer qualification.

    You will need a degree or at least a Higher Diploma in I.T. to progress in the industry just on a purely H.R. screening level unless you have demonstrated evidence of the skills required by taking part in open source projects etc.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,285 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious

    Someone mentioned python and java earlier.

    Just remember OP there is a lot more to IT than programming.

    There is infrastructure, cloud, networks, testing, tech support, technical sales etc etc

    Get yourself an old laptop, install Linux on it.

    If what I just said is absolutely double dutch then good, google it and find out how to do it.

    Then try some of those python and java courses the other poster mentioned and try and write something.

    See how you are getting on with that, and if it's something that is just not appealing to you then maybe IT is not something for you.

    You have to have a interest in IT in the first place to really enjoy it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,283 ✭✭✭wandererz

    I would like to suggest a different way of approaching this.

    There is the field of "IT Security" but it can be very broad. Everything from creating security software, configuring existing security software and hardware, analysis of attacks, architecture etc. etc.

    However, there is also the whole area of Governance, Risk Management and Compliancy.

    This does not require a great degree of technical knowledge, zero coding required etc. It revolves more around understanding standards, rules & regulations and implementation & auditing of these.

    e.g. GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA etc.

    If this is something of interest then it gets you into the IT security space more from an administrative and management perspective and then you can cross skill and work your way into other areas.

    A qualification in healthcare may be of advantage if you are going for such jobs in healthcare institutions as well.

    I'd be looking at quietly getting a few certifications in these areas and then start by approaching the Head of IT or Security at your current workplace to check if there are any suitable roles. Then start applying for other Information Security Compliancy Officer type roles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,815 ✭✭✭Burgo offer IT certification courses (I think they are still free.) They are online, self paced. videos and labs. is another avenue to explore, these courses are mostly ran through ETBs, some online some in person. A variety of IT courses.

    " have been working in the healthcare sector for quite a while now and I am tired of the bureaucracy , staff shortages, long hours etc..."

    Unfortunately these can all be prevalent issues in IT too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,086 ✭✭✭shanec1928

    This right here! if i could thank it more than once i would. if theirs one thing theirs no shortage of in IT is bureaucracy, weather thats dealing with clients or internal with other departments.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 arelyn

    Do you mind if I private chat you?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,167 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    There is also the option of becoming an IT project manager or Business Analyst.

    In those roles, it often appears that the less you know about IT the better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,167 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    I would say that the vast majority of people who work in IT wouldn't know any basic shell commands or how to do anything at a command prompt. So I wouldn't be frightening off anyone by implying they need to.

    I worked in a large organisation in the US for a good few years. There were literally thousands of IT employees. Some on-shore and loads more off-shore in India and elsewhere. The production environment for our section was unix but most of the organisation was just desktops and laptops running Windows. Of those thousands of IT support staff, there were only a handful of unix sysadmins.

    Post edited by Donald Trump on

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,903 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    I'm not frightening anyone. Though you probably are with your threats to run for president in 2024

    There are tons of Active Directory jobs too for those who don't dig Linux. I have never bathered with them but I see them popping up all the time, so that is an option if you can learn it

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,511 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    Ageism is a thing in every industry. Especially IT.

    Try public you'll get better life work balance in the public sector IT.

    There are conversion courses.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,256 ✭✭✭nullObjects

    A common career path is starting in automation and moving into a development role if that's something you wanted to look into.

    Reason being you'll still learn coding and best practices while writing automation but you won't have to worry so much perhaps about things like security / performance to the same extent you would have to for production level code.

    There are a bunch of different technologies you could work with so if you try learning one and it doesn't appeal then don't get too disheartened.

    Shout if you've any specific questions

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 18,075 Mod ✭✭✭✭Kimbot

    There is currently an application for apprenticeship in I.T. in the civil service and applications end tomorrow:

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭ Yara Jealous Wisecrack

    If you really want to make this change, this is a great way to do it, if you can live with the low pay in the short term.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭salonfire

    You'll experience plenty of bureaucracy, staff shortages and long hours in IT as well. Stay where you are.

    Restricted access rights, tickets and approvals needed for everything, reporting to managers that never even look at them, staff turn-over increasing the workload on existing staff while trying to maintain project work, deadlines, projects, training, mandatory courses, pointless meetings, up-skilling, and so on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    If you want to do some serious but very affordable study leading to certification you can take a look at the EU funded EITCA. I’m retired but trying it out for pig iron and to exercise my hungry brain cells. No harm taking a look, and with the pricing there is absolutely nothing to lose.

    You can undertake study in any IT area, but for the fully certified programs like AI, Data Science & Infosec you are required to begin with the fundamentals of computer science, which make learning Linux commands & Python scripting like playing Crossy Road on your phone. But don’t let that put you off either, it starts to sink in.

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.

  • My advice: Run away! Run away!

    If I didn't do what I do, I would have been a hotel manager or a chef. Or an Army officer. Im too tall for the Navy and Air Force.

    Ironically enough, both also involve long hours and stress.

    Unless you have a genuine interest in IT, I would look for something else. I don't mean to belittle your ideas, I'm just saying, it's a hard grind just to get to the middle.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,680 ✭✭✭zweton

    Is it because of the particular area you are in ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    There are many areas of IT, some of them intense like infosec, where one is trying to keep on top of ever changing threats, with todays hackers having increasing knowledge of AI and ones previously learned tools and methods become rapidly out of date and its an uphill battle to keep up with criminals who are highly focussed on getting several steps ahead of you. If you want to get seriously into the heavy side of things AI or Data Science is the way to go, but that’s only one side of IT.

    The creative side of IT might be a very different experience and might suit OP if they want a change of career into tech. Otherwise broadly known as frontend, it is anything to do with creating what is front of the computer user, what they see, hoe they interact with the content, how to make it better. It can involve ideas to make a website much more useful & better to use, coding, design, art, video creation & manipulation, or maybe creating web apps, which involve “backend” stuff to make it work with “behind the scenes” platforms. Again, as I stated above, all these things can be learned at very low cost with EU funded EITCA and this learning could be done in own time over evenings and weekends as OP continues working where they are. In any case useful and interesting stuff will be learned.

    Take a look…

    The most OP would need to fork out is about €220 to get internationally certified. It’s a no brainer, nothing to lose, but interesting knowledge to gain.

    Post edited by recode the site on

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.

  • Registered Users Posts: 600 ✭✭✭PeaSea

    Saying you want to get into the IT sector is the same as saying you want to get into the Health sector - its a very broad area. There are managers, team leaders, business analysts, designers, programmers, testers, report writers, data scientists, database administrators, security specialists, server admin, web design, writing apps, etc and each one of them has a completely different role. Have you any idea what exactly you want to do ? The largest area is programming, for that above all you need to have a logical mind, not necessarily a mathematical one. Think of it like completing a certain number of sudoku puzzles daily, day after day. You will have to re-invent yourself at regular intervals in IT too, as languages and hardware trends come and go, its a constant learning path. Be aware as well that ageism is alive and well in IT like anywhere else, I found my interview numbers dropped off a cliff edge once I passed 50, as have others.

    There are some IT firms who will take people in with no qualifications and train them up internally, this may be an option, the flip side to that is they tend to pay low initially, but it is a path for people like yourself who are proven in an other industry.

    After reading a bit about the different roles, I would contact one of the bigger IT recruitment agencies (not a general recruitment agency), and be open about where you are and what you want to do, they will advise as well as anyone what your chances are and will know what is currently in demand. If you pick programming, search for "how to program" in youtube and watch a few videos, you will very quickly decide if its for you or not. I can't complain, it's been a very good industry for me over the last 30 odd years, so if its for you I would recommend it without hesitation. But its not for everyone. Feel free to PM if you want to ask anything specific.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,256 ✭✭✭nullObjects

    If you wanted to learn a bit and then practice with some challenges:

    And then some tougher ones:

    You could read up on security stuff to see if that's something you were interested in:

    (Detailed write ups from people using a site called hack the box that is for security training)

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    I’m quite sure OP is quite intelligent & logical enough to learn coding, it doesn’t take a genius. I knew little about it, really, until a year or two ago, and I’m now 61. To take a look at a few pages, or a video or two you could too quickly decide “that’s not for me”. When I started learning coding and all that stuff I thought it was totally alien, but so was sitting in a car and learning to drive all those years ago, learning to land an airplane in a crosswind seemed impossibly hard at first, learning to get a smooth sound out of a clarinet too, a smooth tuneful note out of a violin. What seems undoable can become doable as you gain familiarity. The more you learn the easier it gets to learn the next bit. I urge OP not to be put off by sentiments that “you can’t do it”.

    I’m not criticising any other poster, but I hate people being put off even trying to pursue a dream. I know the realities of working in any job are never those which are perceived by outsiders, but some people can well step up to the mark.

    OP, learn some coding via an online course or app, or by the way I suggested above, and do NOT be put off when it first seems illogical, because you are only getting to grips with rules and syntax some other mind invented to interact with the computer. It will come to you, slowly at first. Tons of errors to be made, but you start to get to know how to find out how to fix them, how to avoid them, and how to get less frustrated. As a poster above suggested you could get an entry level job, and with previous work experience and training build and training build up to a niche area.

    I was stuck all my working life in a frustrating public service job for years, yes I have the little pension etc, but I know right well I could have cut out a great career in likes of web development. Part of my multitasking job was running IT systems, which I had more of a taste for than other staff and I was the fixer. It was the bit I was best at and I much preferred it to the interacting with the public. I would always much rather have my head stuck in a computer rather than plámás customers at the other side of the counter.

    So my advice, do take on board what others say here about various areas in IT, and get a sense of which of the many areas that might suit you.

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    The program I’m studying with EITCA is Information Security as I’m a bit of a detective by nature and fascinated by how hackers work. I’m familiar with python & Linux, these didn’t take too much bother to learn the basics, and for fun I write web crawling scripts. At work I was always creating databases with search queries, and some complicated excel apps that worked perfectly for my work.

    But it’s mainly a hobby project. By nature I’m highly creative and find web design almost too unchallenging, and I can take little websites and redesign them much better than the original, just for my amusement. I learned some JavaScript but all those curly brackets started to confuse my eyes, my close site not being great 😂 and I got distracted by making Python do little things.

    OP will have talents and abilities which will fit some area of IT. If you feel you have a taste for it, you almost certainly will find your feet.

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭salonfire

    You are coming at it from a totally different angle. You're retired, you're doing this for a hobby.

    The things the OP is trying to get away from, he is going to run straight into in the IT world. And to get there means studying on top of his current job, multiple interviews, code challenges, aptitide tests and years spent on graduate salaries if he does finally land something.

    Or he could stay where he is and continue to get salary increases in his current job.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,511 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    You won't get past the HR filter without decent qualifications and the experience.

    Hobby projects with a few certs won't cut it, unless it's a very basic level with a salary that's too low to be viable for most.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    One way for OP to grow familiarity and find encouragement online is by following coders on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, where’s a genuinely good community. I like the little Python challenges in Python community on LinkedIn. On TikTok unethical hackers are rapping the latest tricks of hacking as a way of communicating to each other!

    OP could teach themselves the basics of other operating systems, which is really useful. Eg, how to set up Virtual Machines (either with VMWare or VirtualBox) and get to know a few of the distributions of the free Linux operating system. Fun to learn how to create a portable Tails operating system (Linux based) on USB stick where you could snoop around the dark web incognito without a trace. I’m not recommending anything illegal, but learning tricks of the trade is fun & informative.

    Learning the basics of SQL is useful for “backend” stuff, that is learning to get specific information from databases. It’s not difficult to learn (of course you’ll make mistakes & sometimes get a bit confused) and a good place to begin for an absolute novice. I followed a Udemy video course on this where a large database is set up to practice on, and where graded challenges are set. This is really really easy to begin with, so I suggest it as a great place to dip a toe in.

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,207 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    EITCA is an internationally recognised certification where the early modules I’m studying involve advanced cryptography, it’s no Mickey Mouse course, so park that notion there. However in my particular case, I’m doing it as a hobby. Yes, OP can expect to go back to square one regarding earning, but maybe their life situation can accommodate this. And if their current work experience is relevant to a new UT role combined with study, it may not be such a financially retrograde step.

    Boys and girls, repeat after me 20 times: “I should have known, but I had to learn”.