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Old 05-06-2011, 09:05 AM   #1
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Default HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?

Just signed up and was hoping to hear from both seasoned IT guys as well as fresh out of college people to aswer the one question that's been hampering me from diving into this business for which I believe I can excel in...am I too old for this industry?

First, a little background on me, because I wanted to get right into it and haven't updated my profile yet.

Here goes...42 year old living fifteen minutes south of Boston. Working at a hospital as a CNA with certificate in phlebotomy and EKG that I can't use.

Enjoy writing screenplays in my sparetime(have four feature lengths completed) as well as surfing the web(Am VERY comfortable on a computer), Facebook as well as other social websites that I frequent. I have a young heart and have inspiration abound. I'm never short of new ideas and am excellent at problem solving(Patience and the love of peace and quiet are traits I've acquired through the "seasoning" of the years). Not afraid to network or even go biz-to-biz looking to sell myself freelance so those options are on the table.

Dabbled in programming/webdesign over ten years ago so that won't help much but love numbers/ problem solving and am ready to sign up at my local college for computer programming/web developement-two year program for an associates.
I have the gift of youth. I have all my hair and could pass for mid thirties(Yes, this matters!). Am married(18 years) and have three kids(17,13 and 5).

If I had good grades and some great examples(portfolio) of my work and capabilities, could I succeed in this field? Specifically programming/web developement after two years of school and being the age I am(Which isn't supposed to matter...but we all know better)?

I appreciate any feedback. I realize the way the world works and am trying to get a good feel for this industry so please offer your opinion no matter how "realistic" it may be.

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from the people who are already there. You know the field, can see what goes on around you, hear the whispers and needs of real life companies.

Thanks again all who chime in,

Phantomwriter
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?

Some things might be harder at your age - but don't let that put you off, it should definitely be possible for someone like you to get in the field. Sounds like you've got a knack for problem solving, you're hard working and you're eager and keen. With the right qualifications and portfolio of work, you should be able to get your foot in the door and work up from there.

One piece of advice when it comes to interviews and the like - in the above you seemed to write off your current work / certification as something you couldn't use and isn't really relevant. Instead of that try and highlight all the areas that relate to programming (eg. problem solving) in your current area of work, talk about how you were good at that and therefore decided to investigate the programming field further. Something along those lines anyway - it looks much better than saying "I did x for a few years, didn't really get on with it and want to try something else."

Find an area you enjoy, build up a portfolio of work and go for it. If a company makes excuses and writes you off because of your age without looking at your skill set, then chances are that's not an environment you want to be working in anyway. Whilst there are (unfortunately) companies out there like this, there's many more, big and small, that do take the right approach and look at skills independent of age. If you were heading on for 60 I'd say it might be more of an issue (since then it gets to the point where companies don't want to train someone up for 2 years before they retire) but as you are now, the majority of companies shouldn't see that as a problem.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?

I think that you're never too late to start.

but just remember that you are starting again, and probably won't command the same money that you do now as an experienced person in your existing field.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?

Thanks. You know, although age is ALWAYS a factor, I honestly think that the tech world is still on a furious pace forward. All the dust from from the phone/laptop/I-pad is still settling but those will be replaced as surely as I'm sitting in this chair and they'll need people to write those new programs. To develop new code and new technologies.

I also realize that there must be engineers somewhere figuring out a way to make code a lamen term. Software programs designed to teach it, at younger and younger ages.

In the meantime, I'll keep up. Take courses. Learn the latest advances. Right? I mean, seems like the solution. As long as I'm current. In the loop. And get the job done.

Here's to hoping and thanks for the feedback.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?

Quote:
I also realize that there must be engineers somewhere figuring out a way to make code a lamen term. Software programs designed to teach it, at younger and younger ages.
Most definitely. BlueJ makes understanding OO pretty much as easy as it can be; Greenfoot starts people off with writing something in Java in minutes with a few tutorials, scratch gets children involved with programming when they're still nowhere near leaving primary school, and my hopefully upcoming PhD is focused on this area too.

It used to be when someone said "what's the easiest way to get into programming" you'd get a unanimous response of "err... visual basic?". We've come a long way since then
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