What You Need to Know to Enter the Tech Industry After 30
Are you thinking of entering the tech sector? Are you older than 30? This article is just for you.
Many employees are considering moving to the booming tech industry in the wake of The Great Resignation. The high-tech sector is an attractive one with many prospects for career advancement. Additionally, the labour market is oversaturated in the tech sector and there is intense competition.
If you’re like most people above 30, you might believe that a career in tech is mainly for CS grads and people who are already proficient in technology. You could also believe that startups can only be successful with 17-year-old wunderkids. But starting a career in technology can never be too late. In fact, my partner changed their career in their mid-40s, and now, more than ever, they’re content with it.
Of course, you need specialised technical abilities to pursue a career in technology, but you can acquire those skills more quickly than you might imagine, and there are many rewarding, well-paying positions available that don’t require a degree in computer science.
Side note: If you’re absolutely clueless about your future career options, use this career assessment test to figure it out.
But if you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even 90s, what can you do to start a career in technology? Regardless of your year of birth, try these 8 strategies to get started on your path to a job in technology.
1. Begin modestly
You don’t have to change your entire career or your work overnight, even though you might be looking to do so. Instead, take it slowly. For instance, you could hunt for tech-related jobs at your present employment or take on a modest freelance assignment like building a landing page for a writer buddy or assisting with a WordPress plug-in for a nearby company. Whether you receive compensation for the job or complete it for free, you will be building your portfolio and gaining confidence.
2. Find your area of expertise in technology.
First, the tech sector is wide, diverse, and growing quickly. By being more specific with your job search objectives, you might raise your chances of finding a position in the technology industry. I advise you to focus on the kind of business and the particular position in technology that you want. This is an essential initial step since it gives you the chance to become the purple squirrel that tech businesses are looking for.
As you start to find your expertise in the tech field, think about asking yourself the following questions:
• What kind of tech startup (hardware, software as a service, financial tech, etc.) are you aiming for?
• What types of corporate cultures (customer-centric, product-driven, growth-oriented, etc.) do you prefer?
• What position level and functional area are you considering (director-level project management positions, senior management positions in product management, management positions in human resources, etc.)?
3. Increase your network.
When you’re seeking to break into a field, building relationships in the tech sector might be very crucial. You’ll have to put yourself out there, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or unpleasant. In reality, visiting tech meet-ups, conferences, and seminars, as well as taking part in online communities, can help you have a fantastic time getting to know like-minded individuals and developing your abilities.
Additionally, keep in mind that you already have a large professional network because you have at least a few years of career experience. Also, “techies” are bound to be among your contacts no matter what business you’ve worked in.
Don’t stress if you’re concerned that you’ll be the oldest person present at a tech meetup. Being around coders of various ages is also a terrific method to gain inspiration. You’ll bring your experience from other fields to the table.
4. Be very explicit about your special value offer.
The next step is to figure out how to successfully stand out in the crowded tech industry. The best approach to achieve this is to recognise and embrace your fabulousnesses. In other words, you should explain how you differ from other job applicants who are applying to and getting interviews for the same organisations and positions as you.
By considering the areas of your life and career where you consistently receive appreciation, you can pinpoint your distinctive value proposition. This could happen via vocal criticism, performance evaluations, or letters of recommendation. You can also text three individuals and ask, “What makes me fabulous?” then compile their responses.
The next step is to make sure hiring managers and high-tech recruiters are aware of your special value proposition. Be sure to highlight your amazingness in your cover letter, resume, LinkedIn profile, networking activities, and job interviews.
5. Use social media.
It may not be your “thing” to spend all day on Facebook or tweeting, but it doesn’t have to become your way of life. But in the computer world, social media is a crucial hub for networking and information sharing.
By subscribing to a few Twitter lists and joining tech-related Facebook groups, you can benefit from the open tech discussions happening throughout social media. You are welcome to merely listen to the initial conversations. As you get to know people and discover new interests, you can join active communities and benefit from the contacts and knowledge that can advance your tech career.
6. Set aside your age.
Even though you might not be the team’s youngest member, what matters most is that you are qualified for the position and a good match for the business. Therefore, there’s no need to allude to your age (even in jest) or make excuses for it. If you don’t draw attention to your age, prospective employers shouldn’t either. And even if they do, is it really the kind of place you want to work? Tell them to see The Intern, please!
7. Upgrade your resume
Update your résumé as one approach to prevent meaningless conversations about your age. For instance, if your very first roles are not immediately related to the current job you’re applying for, you can (and probably should!) leave them off.
Additionally, make sure you’re familiar with the most recent developments in job applications, such as email cover letters.
Both because you’ll have new talents to highlight in your CV and cover letter and because the job application procedure has undoubtedly changed since you last applied for a position, these adjustments to your job search are crucial. It demonstrates your knowledge of all the key industry trends when you provide application materials that are current.
In fact, having a well-optimized resume can increase your chances of landing an interview by over 80%.
8. Relate your past to your present.
You don’t have to disregard the road in front of you just because you’re taking a different route now. Find out how you can use what you’ve already learned and done to achieve your goals in technology.
I was able to construct a job in IT that I enjoy by fusing my first career in customer service and my second career in language teaching with tech skills. When applying for and interviewing for IT jobs, you may achieve the same results by taking into account all of your transferrable skills and placing special emphasis on them.
9. Think about flexible work
You can take small steps to gain experience in technology, just as you can take on different types of work in the business to transition into the position you want. In the IT industry, there are many 9-to-5, location-based jobs, but there are also a tonne of project-based, freelance, part-time, and remote job options. Employers will respect your flexibility if you can find any that work for you, and you’ll enjoy the fantastic benefits of a flexible employment as well as the chance to practise your new computer skills in a less demanding environment (think: no bean bags and Converse sneakers for 10 hours a day!).
10. Be assured but modest.
You’ve previously established at least one career, and you’re currently striving to acquire another one. Don’t doubt yourself because you have many things to be proud of. And don’t allow your worries stop you from pursuing your goals.
When you make the switch to technology, you should be ready to start from scratch. In the beginning, you’ll probably hold a junior role, although junior positions can be great and well-paying! Just take pleasure in your work, keep learning, and keep an eye out for all the chances that will undoubtedly present themselves as you begin a new career in technology.
11. Be reasonable in your job search expectations.
Finally, if you’re thinking about entering the tech field, you need to have reasonable expectations. A lot of job candidates are interested in working for Meta, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other major, well-known tech firms that frequently make headlines.
While it is acceptable to target the largest names in technology, you might discover that your job search is more successful if you also take into account startups and lesser-known businesses. Your chances of getting an interview offer and securing a position in technology are increased because these smaller firms frequently receive much fewer applications.
These are just a few pointers to assist you make the switch to an IT profession. Recognize that getting a career in technology requires planning, strategy, and reasonable expectations. You can do this.