I'm a 56 yr old Canadian who has an opportunity to go back to school. I want to have a career in some facet of internet tech. I have been a dedicated computer user for many years but never gotten into the "guts" of computer programming.
I'm pretty sure I don't want to do web design, tech support or fixing computers. What does that leave me? I will have to choose a course that takes less than 1 year to complete. What should I be learning? I am particularly interested in advice from someone who knows from experience.
Feel free to give me your opinion.


Recommended Answers

All 10 Replies

To be be frank I think you are about 10 years too late to be starting a new career in computer programming You might be able to find an intro position somewhere but companies will want to hire much younger people with no experience. I actually begam mine when I was about 43 in 1986, but that was when the programming field was pretty much wide open to anyone who wanted it.

The most pleantifuly jobs in the USA have been for many years in the mid-west. There are many starving programmers on both coasts.

Education: If you already have a bachelors or better degree then a couple years studying programming at a tech school or junior college might be enough. Otherwise you will most definitely need to get a bachelors because the competition is probably just too greate without it.

If you have the managerial experience for it you might have better chance to get a IT manager's job, such as a team leader. You might also look in areas around major military installations because programming contractors in those areas tend to hire somewhat older people.

I must say, Ancient Dragon you have taken me by suprise with your comments. I had hoped that the IT field would have less of an age bias when it comes to who gets hired. I am re-evaluating my choice now. As I stated, this is to be my last foray into the working world before I retire & it has to be the right one for me.
I certainly appreciate your honesty.
Have you other "older" tech. people found the age bias exists as well?


I don't think it's as much of an age bias directed towards new hirees as it is that I think you're underestimating what it takes to be an employable programmer ... many, many years of fine tuning your craft.

If you're 56 and have programming experience, I think you'd be able to find work. However, if you're 56 and have only a few months to a year of programming experience, an employer isn't necessarily going to want to invest the next five years into molding you into a decent programmer only for you to retire two years later.

On the other hand, an employer would be more willing to hire a 20 year old with the same little to no actual programming experience at a low pay, spend five years teaching, training, and molding them, and then get another 20 years of good performance out of them.

You can always work as freelance programmer, just register at few freelance websites and bid for projects of your choice, however initially you need to bid as low as possible.

It is never too late to learn something new. Ever. It is a dangerous mindset to get into to think that it is "too late" to do something.

That being said, ithelp's post has some good advice. Freelance programming. There are many sites that let you find software projects to work on. I like >snipped<. You browse through software project descriptions and place advertisements for ones that interest you (it does cost a bit of money to place the advertisements, but its WELL worth it in my opinion). You can gain lots of experience (and money!) using this site alone.

Hopefully this helps,


It is never too late to learn something new. Ever. It is a dangerous mindset to get into to think that it is "too late" to do something.

True but that's not the issue here. I think the issue is -- is it too late for him to enter into the IT field as a newbe? Can he get an entry-level job ?

Yes, Ancient Dragon, you are correct.

I pretty much know nothing about IT at the present time, so I would be starting from scratch.
It seems that it will take years to get to the point where I can be sure of a comfortable living from this, even though I realize goals worth pursuing are worth the investment of time.
I have another couple of possibilities career wise, so it looks like one of them might be a better choice. Although I have many years of potential, earning and learning left in me, I want to make the best use of the time I choose to remain in the working world.


Paul, you've got to play to your strengths. Think about what you're already good at, and then how it might apply to IT. For example, if you're good with people, a project management course such as PMP might be worth considering. First you do the basic project management course, and then there is a specialisation for IT projects. PMP is not the only "professional" course though, there are a number of them and it depends on your geographic location which is more preferred by employers. Make a few calls to agents and find out which. There are many IT Project Managers who don't know how to program, but they are excellent project managers because they understand issues and how to solve problems.

I agree that while its not too late to become a programmer, it takes a few years of experience to be very good. Its also a hard slog; think long nights, weekends, etc. You don't want that at any age, but at your age you will be less inclined to put up with it. An employer is more likely to hire a young pup they can whip to within an inch of their lives than a wise owl who knows better than to spend unpaid weekends at work.

Can I recommend a book called KISS Guide to Managing Your Career, its pretty cheap has been around for a while, so you should be able to find it in your local library. It takes you through what your strengths are and so forth, helps you think about what kind of work you would enjoy and therefore be good at. Doesn't give you an answer as such but makes you think about what kind of work you want to work in. I'm not affiliated with the publishers or authors in any way, a friend gave it to me and I found it constructive.

Good luck!

I too am older with a 4-year degree in a totally different area than IT. I'm currently getting ready to take my A+ cerfification and then moving on to MSCE.

I often wondering what my chances are at getting a job in the IT field. Although I am older (52). I work a 60 hour week with no problem, and retirement for me is out of the question right now.

If worse comes to worse, I can always teach Information Technology at the high school level since I am a certified Teacher. However, I would rather stay out of the public schools.

Does anyone here have a 4 year degree in another field and trying to get into IT?

I have a 4 year degree in another field and am trying to figure out a way into the IT world. I am almost 50, but am pretty techie. I was thinking along the lines of an A+ cert as a start? Worthwhile?:?:

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.