Are You Too Old to Land a New IT Job?

Age really is just a number. If you're keeping current on new technologies and advancement, and show a willingness to keep learning and growing, there's no reason it should be an impediment to your job search.

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Thu, February 27, 2014

CIO — Looking for a job or a promotion and worried that your age might be an impediment? Don't be. Age really is just a number, and especially in IT, that number isn't as important as your accomplishments, your adaptability and willingness to learn.

"It's about being able to demonstrate your accomplishments," says author, career search expert and consultant Rick Gillis. "Most IT firms want to know one of two things: Can you make them money or can you save them money? Then they'll want to hire you, regardless of your age," he says.

Nobody would hire a doctor, for example, who isn't using robotics in his practice, says Gillis. Staying current on new technologies, advancements and methodologies can keep your skill sets relevant and will help you avoid becoming one of those 'former masters of the universe' who've faded into obscurity and can barely turn on their computer, he says.

Too Old for IT

Stay Hip and Up on Tech

"You have to be current. That is key, especially in IT," Gillis says. "I find it disturbing when I speak to clients who are older and they aren't spending time studying, staying hip and up-to-date on new technology advances," he says.

"If you've been looking for a job for six months, you have to realize how much has happened in that time -- learn about emerging technology. Know the terminology. Be able to show that you've added to your knowledge and your skills," Gillis says, and be able to demonstrate how that knowledge and your skills have positively impacted previous employers.

As an example, Gillis cites a former client who was struggling to demonstrate his achievements while searching for a job. The client had one specific job for which he wrote nearly 10,000 lines of code for a bank, but couldn't point to a specific outcome, Gillis says.

"I advised him to take a personal inventory, to reach out to his contact and determine how to quantify what he did," Gillis says. "When we talked to his contact, we were told that the code he wrote was used by the bank to fix some significant security flaws with their ATMs that used to require a lengthy, expensive service call and two people to address," Gillis says.

"It turns out, my client saved the bank more than half a million dollars a year on this expense, and while it did take some time and digging to determine how to quantify his efforts, it was worth it," he says.

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