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Career change at 40 - Like to move into IT

  • 04-08-2022 6:40am
    Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking into the possibility of moving into the IT industry in some form. Currently work in the design side of the construction industry. Someone recently asked me did i see myself still in the industry in 10 years time and instantly filled me with a jaded feeling and dread at the thought of still doing what I'm doing now.

    I've always had the thought in the back of my head of going into IT but never really had the confidence to go for it. I've started looking at different sectors within IT to see what interests me to try and focus it down a bit.

    My main worry is how to go about all this. Do I need to do a full time course? I've heard about conversion courses but don't know anyone who has done them.

    Would appreciate any advice on the above or would love to hear from people who have made similar moves in the past.


  • Posts: 4,727 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    I wouldn't say it's mandatory to do a course to get into IT. You can usually get entry level positions in Technical Support and work your way up from there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,624 ✭✭✭notAMember

    I’m afraid I disagree with no training needed . IT is technology, even a very basic skill level needs some training. Part time or self trained is definitely an option though.

    Its a very broad and fast-changing field too with specialist areas ranging across tech services and support to business analysis , software development, data analytics, system architecture, graphic design etc etc. I think you would need some help to point you in the right direction.

    Is there someone with the type of job you want that you can speak to?

  • Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭passingthrough

    Thanks for the comments. I am speaking to someone at the moment who works in the IT industry. They have been giving me a few pointers and areas to possibly look into in order to get my foot in the door as it were.

    In terms of job opportunities I think I'll look at cloud aspects such as Azure or AWS as a starting point and go from there. I'm sure that research will lead me in many different areas to do further research.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,182 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    Since Azure was mentioned MSFT Dublin seems to be constantly hiring, however it's either difficult to get hired there, or I am blacklisted.

    Linked-in is full of posts how aaawesome MSFT Dublin is.

    However what I've noticed few are staying longer than 3 years even though MSFT Dublin seems like a good choice once you're employed there.

    AWS sells slightly more in the cloud space, but Azure is more sophisticated as a solution, I think.

    Also, if you're new to the IT sector, not everything is good, you'll have to learn how to get along with the "American-style BS...." which can only be accepted, the more you understand about the product and solutions.

    The certifications of Azure or AWS are worth a lot in the IT market, and that's one good investment for anybody's professional future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,505 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Do you have a level 8 qualification in anything? If you do then one of the conversion courses is a good idea.

    If you don't, then you may find that becomes a problem: lots of MNCs now have a rule that they will only employ people with a L8 or more. Below that, won't even look at your CV.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 684 ✭✭✭danoriordan1402

    As mentioned there are a number of conversion courses if you have a lvl 8, MTU for example Personally I did the exact same move 11 years ago. I working in Consulting design in building services for over 15 years all over the world - eventually moved back to Ireland around the time of the Celtic tiger crash and work was pretty slow. As I always had an interest in IT and was technically minded so I started getting some short courses, certs under my belt and got a placement as a sysadmin for a 3 months internship. This little bit of experience was what I needed to get into the Cloud Space with an American MNC and over the years went from support to Engineering. It's tough work in the early days as you are learning new stuff/products but they do look after you and the salary bumps along the way are significant.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Forget it - it's ageist central. Despite the nonsense of their diversity claims, people over 40 are not wanted or valued in IT.

    MSFT, Oracle, Salesforce, Workday, HubSpot (amateur hour company), Slack, Revolut, Twitter, Meta, TikTok, Intercom, Stripe, Amazon, IBM, -they're all at it. ALL of them.

    Eff em. Age Nazis,

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,182 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    Age discrimination isn't that big in IT in Ireland, or at least not yet, but it may be with all these multinationals in other countries.

    What's a problem with IT companies in Ireland is that they are often a miserable copy of the US-counterpart. Also they make their own internal rules, portray themselves as the fairest employers, blabber endlessly about diversity and inclusion, but break their own rules consistently. HR doesn't care, they are only marionettes, not the smartest, and often only administrators. Like you're in sales at IBM, Oracle, Salesforce or MSFT they play around with your sales target, if you complain, you're sacked and blacklisted. That's a real problem. I've seen it often.

    Most of the internationals working in IT inside sales in Ireland, especially those from mainland Europe, working for MSFT, Salesforce or IBM leave after 2 or 3 years. They leave, even if they are offered a basic salary between 70 and 90 k plus commission.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 UCDAlum

    I moved into the IT sector within the last year and I'm just over 40, although the field I was working in before involved programming and I have a comp sci degree, so it was more of a sideways move rather than something completely different. In your case you'd probably need to take a pay cut to get your foot in the door of the IT sector. But salary can go up fast. The hardest part is getting your foot in the door, but once you get in and have a year or two of experience you will be a in great position.

    Feel free to pm me if you want. I've actually been thinking lately about how I may be able to assist people who want to move into IT.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,773 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious

    Once you have your foot in the door OP get a degree in IT or if you already have a degree get some sort of post grad in IT.

    I've seen lots of guys who have worked up from different careers and low level IT jobs only to get stalled from further promotion at a certain point because they don't have a degree or post grad in IT that their peers have.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,310 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Play to your strengths which in this case seems like the best move would be in UX design. If you have design skills with CAD you should be able to design GUI screens. There are lots of different methods for it some of which are very technical with a lot of programing and others that are very similar to CAD. My experience with IT is if you can do it there is no need for a qualification. There are more companies than the very strict companies relying on qualifications with many non degree people doing the work and managing it.

    There is also many non technical roles in IT that might workout such business analyst. If you do any project management work with tracking tools the demand in IT is there just like any other business. There isn't much need for any technical knowledge for roles like that but they pay better in IT as people are reluctant to enter the sector as they think it is more difficult. It isn't any different and is very similar to the construction industry and basically a copy of the model.

    I have worked with many a PM that had no IT knowledge and being older is an advantage.

    If you found an IT company making software for your industry they would be delighted to have your knowledge whether it is in the design of how it is used or to test it which would be good ways to get into IT.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,936 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Exactly this. Increasingly IT qualifications are becoming essential.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,505 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Even 10 years ago, I would have have agreed with you about the qualification.

    But add in the age issue - which IS an issue once you turn 50 - and I would say that a level 8 qualification in the field is essential.

    Excellent point about looking for a company making or selling software for ghe industry you already know.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,773 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious

    My experience with IT is if you can do it there is no need for a qualification.

    But if you want to advance in the career you need the qualifications.

    Otherwise you lose out to people who can do it AND have the qualifications.

  • Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭passingthrough

    Hi everyone, thank you all for the replies here. Some very interesting points of view and lots of advice to think about.

    To answer a few points I do have a level 8 qualification which seems like it should help in getting into conversion courses etc. I have been chatting to someone in the industry who has suggested a few courses like AWS cloud etc to get the ball rolling and to see how suitable different areas might be.

    I know that I will need to take a pay cut initially before working back up but I have factored that in to my thought process already and discussed with my wife. Ideally this would be a relatively short term drop before working back up to the same salary and then hopefully more.

    Thanks again for all the feedback.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,310 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    I have not found that to be true but it may be different starting later in life. Most promotions I have seen have been based on knowledge and experience within the companies. You don't seem to be competing with a qualification but ability. Others must be experiencing this for so many to mention it but not my experience. I have no IT qualification and working in the industry 25+years and certainly not alone.

    The other thing is becoming a contractor you can get the same pay as management with less stress.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,936 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Depends not on age but the recruitment process you have to go through. Where I am you are effectively blocked without a level 8 or above in your specialist area, or a load industry certs. That might not be the same everywhere.

    If you have a skillset in a highly technical area that's in demand you might be able to skip that. Or work as a contractor.

    That's my experience, it's obviously not going to be the same for everyone.