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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the question-is-will-you-trust-yourself-next-year? dept.

Education 451

First time accepted submitter possiblybored writes "I'm 30, and I am a technology teacher and the school's technology coordinator. I like my job, but I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector. I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably. Is it too late for me to think about this? What is the best way to get started on this path? I'm not so much interested in programming (though I'd like to learn a language some day) as much as I am intrigued by topics like setting up e-mail servers, reading about cloud stuff like Office 365, and looking at information on collaborative technology. I'm a good teacher and excel at explaining things as well. Any advice the community could offer would be greatly appreciated!"

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Troll (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421271)

Submission is very clearly a troll. Please don't post this kind of crap.

Re:Troll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421315)

Because someone actually finds value from Microsoft products? Welcome to real life, Linuxbot.

Re:Troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421479)

Because technology is a career you can just decide to get into on a whim.

Hmm...maybe I'll just be a particle physicists next year.

Re:Troll (2, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46421519)

He did clearly mentioned that he is a technology teacher. So I presume he is already somewhat "in the field" already. I don't think it's an unreasonable dream for him to change careers within the sector. I've done it several times myself.

Re:Troll (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46421743)

He's 30 and he doesn't know a single programming language. No scripting, no Javascript...

He is where he belongs.

Re:Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421641)

No, because he "excels" at explaining things.

Re:Troll (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421747)

That's because he know the right "words" to say. He is hoping that "access" to a new field will improve his "outlook."

Re:Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421751)

Because someone actually finds value from Microsoft products? Welcome to real life, Linuxbot.

Finding value in Microsoft products, and actually liking Microsoft products are not the same thing.

Re:Troll (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421413)

I was thinking the same thing... "This cannot be for real"

First off, how the hell do you get a job teaching even gradeschool computer science without knowing a single programming language? There are people I know who will pick up VBA or PHP over a couple of weekends who are working as technical writers or assembling O&Ms because the high level IT landscape is so competitive. This guy likes Microsoft products and wants to set up email servers? You know who can set up an Exchange server? Any functional human with a few hours and access to google.

Somewhere in Oklahoma there is a school district that needs to review its hiring practices.

Re:Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421565)

Harsh but you do have a point. Especially with Office 365.. I'm pretty sure like Google docs... as web app it's designed to just work required a no brainer to use. and any malfunction is fixed from MS's IT. excel would be the only learning curve. i could be wrong i suppose

and yea, setting up email in linux.. choosing, configuring, implementing all the dif software... TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORLD

Re:Troll (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#46421647)

Somewhere in Oklahoma there is a school district that needs to review its hiring practices.

I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector.

I'm wondering if those thoughts were prompted by others.

I've changed directions in the generic "IT" field a few times, and it all boiled down to "What do I actually WANT to be doing? What am I doing in my spare time in IT that is distracting me from my day job?" I then enter that field, already having experience and connections in the sub-field that I want to be working in.

So for him, I think the question is, "What am I enjoying teaching right now? What do I dig into in more detail at home after I've done my prep work? What do I spend extra time helping students with?" In those areas, start hanging out on online forums and discussing your passion areas with likeminded techies. Find out about what's happening there in the private sector.

Leverage what you know and what you like; if you don't like what you're doing (that doesn't seem to be the case), then retrain yourself. This is important: in IT, you need to be constantly learning new things; taking courses and getting credentials comes at the end, after you've got some experience under your belt -- the creds are to prove you know what you're doing, not to train you how to do it.

Since you don't have any programming languages, you obviously haven't got a CompSci degree, so you're looking at "lower" IT work (services, not design). This means that you'll likely be working for lower wages, and need a lot of on-the-job training.

So, start at helpdesk, find out what you like and don't, and work your way up inside a company once you've got the experience under your belt. As you have teacher training, working with customers and explaining things in simple terms shouldn't be difficult -- working from a script may bore you to death however.

is it too late for Microsoft products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421273)

yes, yes it certainly is

Re:is it too late for Microsoft products? (1, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46421567)

Has the hatred of MS on /. become so acidic that even the *mention* of MS now must elicit a barrage of hateful responses?

I suspect I would see less venom wearing a "Barack 2012" t-shirt at a Tea Party rally.

Re:is it too late for Microsoft products? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46421715)

There are highschool educated students doing the job he mentioned. So yes it is too late for him to do that.

While there is good paying work with Microsoft products none of the things he mentioned fits that profile.

Follow your fascination (5, Insightful)

MtnDeusExMachina (3537979) | about 8 months ago | (#46421277)

Whatever you love doing, do more of it. Then just be sensitive, and maybe a little aggressive, about pursuing leads that naturally arise from your avocation.

Re:Follow your fascination (3, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 8 months ago | (#46421643)

Wow, mod parent up.

The only other advice I have to give, is check out the free tools that surround the areas you are interested in. Expanding closed source software is still a money pit, and perhaps always will be.

Apply to jobs (4, Insightful)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#46421281)

You're talking about breaking into the IT industry, not politics.

Start applying for help desk jobs. Yes, it really is that simple.

Re:Apply to jobs (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#46421349)

You're talking about breaking into the IT industry, not politics.

You have any suggestions for breaking out of the IT industry at 30 and getting elected to office, such as senator or president?

Re:Apply to jobs (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 8 months ago | (#46421435)

Sell your soul to the devil. Seems to work for the people that try it.

Re:Apply to jobs (5, Insightful)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#46421529)

I'm 31 and seriously looking into getting out of software development.

It was cool when I was 14. It was still doable when I was 23. Now it's soul-crushing.

I wish I was a farmer or a carpenter.

Re:Apply to jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421613)

Amen. :(

Re:Apply to jobs (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#46421697)

What I have seen is that software development generally has two career paths: One stays with the code tree and becomes the head dev guy, or one moves into management. Of course, one can start transitioning to another role, be it training, QA, or make the jump from dev to IT.

Of course, a lot of people move out of the dev industry entirely. If you can write code, you can become an HVAC person, electrician or plumber... and even though those may not be desk jobs... you always will have work regardless of the economy. There isn't any way to offshore those jobs either.

Re:Apply to jobs (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46421727)

Get a job in a less stressful software development environment. Not all are like that. Some are particularly bad like game development. Not everything is like that though. If you get a job doing maintenance of a piece of software in a bank, or some other place like that, it can be positively sedating sometimes.

Re:Apply to jobs (2)

bad-badtz-maru (119524) | about 8 months ago | (#46421737)

At 42, I can tell you it gets worse. The idiocy of management is boundless, as is their energy in pushing their ideas and their inability to absorb any information.

Re:Apply to jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421615)

Start applying for help desk jobs. Yes, it really is that simple.

No it is not.

Help Desk pay is shitty. Help Desk work is shitty with it being extremely limited in what you can actually do/learn. You're basically telling him to take a massive pay cut in a job that's typically a dead end with no advancement.

What he actually needs to do is start going out and looking for contract work, and offering to do the type of jobs he's interested in a career in for free, or very cheaply to build up experience and portfolio of work he can then reference when looking for actual paying jobs or a carer.

Re:Apply to jobs (1, Informative)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#46421693)

He said he can't even code. What kind of contract work is he going to find? Private tutor for some rich fuck's kids?

If your tech knowledge consists of clicking "Next" on a Microsoft installer, you're not heading for a career at Google.

I'm surprised I haven't been modded into oblivion for not being a part of the "everyone is a special snowflake" movement. The world needs some people to do shitty work, and some people are only qualified to do shitty work. No amount of "you get a gold star" spin will change that fact.

Consulting (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46421285)

Look for a consulting gig.

I've done a lot of work that boiled down to "tell us if and how this will work for us, before we spend all this money"

Getting in the door (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421395)

Getting in the door is the hardest part about consulting work - and it is VERY difficult. And Microsoft stack consulting is saturated and most companies will not work with one man shops - let alone someone who has no experience in the area. They want companies that have a name and plenty of references.

The folks who go back and "consult" with their former employer have just changed their tax status and saved the employer money.

Re:Getting in the door (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46421455)

Don't go it alone, then. Find a consulting firm that already has a client list.

teaching to industry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421299)

If you're thinking of moving from teaching to industry, I'd suggest getting a job teaching adults for a firm that specializes in teaching/training employees of corporations. And, given that you are impressed with Microsoft, that's probably the best you can do. If you were mainly interested in tech, not Microsoft, I'd advise otherwise. Good luck.

Microsoft Trainer (1)

ChaseTec (447725) | about 8 months ago | (#46421301)

Sounds like you still want to teach so why not teach in the private sector? []

check out big data (2)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46421303)

hadoop, cloudera, etc

email and traditional databases have peaked out long ago. the future is having to search huge amounts of non-relational data. its still in the early stages where the software is immature and you need to do lots of legwork to search the data.

Too late? Dude... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421307)

You're 30. You can do whatever you want. Figure out which jobs you're interested in and start applying.

System Administration (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46421313)

System Administration needs people the customer can understand. But do you really want to compete with 22 year old junior sysadmins? Have you been running a data center out of your basement they way they have?

There's also value in the sales engineer. But do you have enough of the engineer part? The customer has to be able to understand the sales engineer, that's pivotal, but the sales engineer also has to rough out the system design with the correct company products and come up with a credible cost estimate.

Re:System Administration (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#46421441)

But do you really want to compete with 22 year old junior sysadmins? Have you been running a data center out of your basement they way they have?

A 22 year old junior sysadmin is either completely out of his/her element, or more focused in a vertical segment of the network of a fortune 500. Jr or Sr System administration is generally reserved for people that have lots of experience built upon institutional knowledge. Sr sysadmins are damn near close to being an IT director, but do more grunt work whereas an IT director is purely focused on the business side of things (such as planning for future growth and budgeting).

Re:System Administration (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46421695)

You must work somewhere that's really stingy with the job titles. Senior Sysadmins are Lieutenants not Lieutenant Generals. A technical degree and half a decade of experience gets you senior sysadmin if you're any good at the work.

Re:System Administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421447)

System Admin is a field... BUT you are competing against H-1Bs with full CCIEs/MCSM certificate holders who will work for $16,000 a year.

The certificate treadmill is going to be a constant nightmare, but it is important because those pieces of paper are critical to even getting a resume on a desk instead of /dev/null.

There are always sales jobs, tech writing, even the legal field, since there are so few people who can take legalese and convert it into implementable IT policy.

Re:System Administration (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46421559)

Sure, but the H1-B's can barely speak English at all, let alone in a way that the customer will understand.

Guy says he want's to be more in to the technology. Tech writing is at about the same proximity as teaching.

Don't waste any attention on the certificate treadmill. The only jobs which require it are the ones which royally suck to work for many other reasons. Treat certificate requirements as a first-line weedout for prospective employers. If they won't judge you for you in the interview then they won't judge you for you when it comes time for promotions, vacation, office space or anything else.

Re:System Administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421627)

In my experience at previous places, price is what matters, and even with complaints, a H-1B fresh off the boat will always have priority because they are inexpensive, and 100% loyal because they know that one flub, they get deported. The fact that they have a heavy accent is irrelevant. Plus, good luck finding an endgame cert like a CISSP from a US worker for $16k/year.

You are assuming that the tech guys are the first that interview. Most places, it is the HR people who are on the frontlines and look at things, and they want the alphabet soup... then they will pass things over to the tech guys. HR hires; the tech guys tend to have at best an advisory role.

wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421331)

I'm not so much interested in programming... ... reading about cloud stuff like Office 365...

i would say your are asking to the wrong ppl....

Ok (1, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about 8 months ago | (#46421337)

Whatever you do, do it as an independent consultant. DO NOT take a job with a boss. You will be fired when you can least afford it. American "employers" are not grown-ups. They are not emotionally or mentally capable of employing adults.

Have many clients so if one becomes a douchebag, you can fire them and rely on the others until they are replaced.

Be aware of the fact that if you ignore my advice and take a job, you will be fired, and it will be done in such a way so as to maximize your hardship.

Be your own boss. It is the only option in 2014 America.

Re:Ok (3, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46421475)

Not bitter in the least, are you?

Re:Ok (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46421639)

I wouldn't call that being bitter. It's being realistic, especially for IT staff who are more prone than most to sudden cuts (and woe to he who is least senior at the company).

Really it's a positive message that shows a way out - contract.

Re:Ok (4, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about 8 months ago | (#46421765)

I haven't had a boss for 15 years and I'm more successful now than I ever was in a corporate job.

I also can't be fired. Know why? Because firing me requires my approval.

I'm also intelligent enough to see reality even in the face of being heckled by those who don't know any better.

You keep punching that clock, Jim.

Re:Ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421563)

Sometimes when bad things happen, the problem is you.

Re:Ok (1)

Hentai (165906) | about 8 months ago | (#46421663)

Which times? How do you tell?

Sometimes when bad things happen, the problem is that the world isn't fair.

How do you tell which is which? Or is the just-world fallacy just a nice, comforting way for lucky people to feel better about themselves?

Recommended Career change (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#46421341)

If I was in your situation given your experience and passion, I would focus more on private home and SMB side of things. Consulting, sales, and perhaps some end-user support. I doubt system and network infrastructure administration is your thing. Perhaps later on, but now.

Too late at 30!?!? (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 8 months ago | (#46421345)

Bwha ha ha ha ha!!!

Just how old do you think you *are*, sonny boy? 30 is just barely dry behind the ears! Truth is that there is lots of room for anybody in the tech field who is *competent*. So be competent!

It does help to be somewhat charismatic and hygienic.

Re:Too late at 30!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421535)

Bwha ha ha ha ha!!!

Just how old do you think you *are*, sonny boy? 30 is just barely dry behind the ears! Truth is that there is lots of room for anybody in the tech field who is *competent*. So be competent!

It does help to be somewhat charismatic and hygienic.

Or at least charismatic, talented, and rocking enough hair and beard to be considered "eccentric"

Go for it but be careful. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421351)

Liking microsoft products and being proficient with there are different.

Get a certification or two, be prepared to be questioned as to why you're doing this and then go for it. Just remember tech support is first cut and last hired that goes for most sys-admins too

those that don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421359)

What part of:

"Those that don't -- Teach"

do you not understand?

Good tech teachers should always be contact with industry. Talk to them about part-time consulting work. Being a head hunter might be a good sideline too.

Microsoft is on decline (5, Insightful)

Framboise (521772) | about 8 months ago | (#46421367)

Think about the fate of dinosaurs that were replaced by smaller more agile mammals when difficult times came...

Re:Microsoft is on decline (not so much) (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 8 months ago | (#46421575)

As much as I abhor their monopolistic practices and snicker at some of their poorly executed products, they are still not going away in my lifetime. MS would likely be happy to recruit you for some sort of tech position.

.. but the general steps are:

  • Find a specialization where you feel you could leverage your talents
  • Train yourself and/or get training in that area
  • Find companies you would like to work for
  • Make contacts at those companies--network!
  • Apply for any positions you might be qualified for THROUGH YOUR NETWORK. Best not to apply in an automated way (i.e. online), because you will have much better results being recommended by an employee
  • Profit! (of course)
  • Pro tip: the day before any interview cram on any relevant or related topic(s). It may or may not help, but over time you will improve your interviewing and hopefully your tech abilities.

Re:Microsoft is on decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421597)

Think about the fate of dinosaurs that were replaced by smaller more agile mammals when difficult times came...

The days when IBM inspired terror is long behind it but it's systems are so embedded that it will continue to earn billions for the next few decades.
Sun is dead and buried yet Java lingers on. I would be completely unsurprised to see Java legacy systems still in use when 2100 rolls around*.

Now consider how entrenched Microsoft is in enterprise systems. He could easily find work on MS technologies for the rest of his days.

*Primarily because I'll be dead by then but if I weren't, I'd still be unsurprised.

"I like Microsoft products..." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421373)

Stopped reading right there.

Try Contracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421377)

Try contracting through staffing agencies. I made a pivot from support to development by working several 2-3 month contracts in my late twenties.

Start sending job applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421381)

What can I say but start sending job applications. :) You might make a fine Microsoft-specialized sysadmin somewhere.

Not sure how ... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46421391)

But I do know ...

It's easier at 30 than at 40.
Which is easier than at 50.
Which is easier than at 60, since no one has done it at 60 yet.

Never too late (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about 8 months ago | (#46421393)

I currently work in user experience testing, and never worked in tech until I was 32.

you describe a "teacher" (4, Insightful)

mexsudo (2905137) | about 8 months ago | (#46421405)

Your goal as described would indicate you want to be a teacher!

Re: you describe a "teacher" (1)

mexsudo (2905137) | about 8 months ago | (#46421433)

Follow your heart

Training and/or Documentation (4, Informative)

ryen (684684) | about 8 months ago | (#46421409)

With your limited skillset without programming or intermediate sysadmin, but given your background in teaching and familiarity with concepts i'd say you'd be a good fit for training and/or documentation within a tech company. Training can include on-boarding new hires and getting them familiar with internal systems, or even training customers on using the software. I've worked with many people in these roles at companies i've been with. Documentation also might be a good route: writing manuals, online specs, and online training stuff. Theres lots of people doing this at the larger software shops.

Re:Training and/or Documentation (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46421659)

I was going to say something similar; it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of his skill in educating people on technical topics. That's the angle I would use to try and find a job, because if nothing else the job would be more interesting than the average help desk or entry level IT job.

Do it! (1)

jdan (411331) | about 8 months ago | (#46421421)

Great news: even entry level IT or sysadmin jobs pay better than teaching! Look for jobs, find one that looks like a reasonable place to be, and get to work. It'll be drastically different than a public sector job, but if you are good, you'll adjust quickly and find it is a lot of fun. Once you've done something for a year or so then you can look at other places in the company to help out or transition in to (but again, if you are good, this will probably just happen naturally).

Good luck!

Go for it... (1)

izm (592666) | about 8 months ago | (#46421427)

Just do it! Tech is one of those areas where you can gain experience and knowledge on your own with minimal financial outlay. So, study up. Play with things. I'm not sure what the climate is like in your district, but perhaps you can also take on some more technical responsibility in your school district? Through reading, tinkering, and applying your learned knowledge, you'll eventually get to a point where you can legitimately do this sort of thing full time. It's a process, but it's totally doable.

One word (1)

motorhead (82353) | about 8 months ago | (#46421443)


mcitp (2)

steak (145650) | about 8 months ago | (#46421451)

they changed the name of the mcse to make it harder for joke acronyms to be created.

Reading Material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421453)

I'd recommend buying these three books and reading them cover to cover - they give you a wide range of exposure to sysadmin duties.

Pick at least one scripting language and learn it, two if you can. Powershell and Perl, perhaps.

Re:Reading Material (1)

motorhead (82353) | about 8 months ago | (#46421541)

Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" will get you started on the right track.

if you like Windows... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421467)

Get a MSCE certification or whatever the current equivalent is. At least you'll know the "official" way to do things. Which will help you learn over time or Google-foo the ways that actually work much faster.
And you'll be on more level ground with most of the other entry-level people too.
Setting up a server or two at home, getting a feel for virtual machines, Active directory, etc. will help too.
For windows admin programming? Learn Powershell, WMI and ADSI.
Since you're the "tech coordinator" at your current employer, try to ingratiate yourself with the other IT techs who implement the things you coordinate for them...

You already have the hard part (1)

millertym (1946872) | about 8 months ago | (#46421471)

The hard part is getting some basic tech (of any kind) experience under your belt. You have that.

Go get up to date Microsoft certifications, understand the product to a significant degree, and you will be able to find a decent sysadmin job somewhere. Maybe not something above 50k - yet - but you will find something good. Then, once you get more hands on experience with business support scenarios for a few years, you can move on from there to the higher paying world (and higher stress typically lol).

Just do it? (1)

scrubed (3562787) | about 8 months ago | (#46421485)

Start at helpdesk, hate yourself, and figure out a career path that you enjoy that gets you off the helpdesk. Ingratiate yourself to that team that is in the career path you wish to pursue. Study, take, and pass the applicable certs for said career path. Simple as that.

QOTD - At the bottom of the screen (1)

bernywork (57298) | about 8 months ago | (#46421491)

" Is your job running? You'd better go catch it!"

You like MS products huh? (1, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#46421493)

Maybe become a gigolo who specializes in masochism. If you like setting up Exchange servers, you'll love it the first time a woman steps on your balls.

Re:You like MS products huh? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 8 months ago | (#46421633)

Second that. Learn anything you can about Linux, and - beyond that - about *at least* one of the other Unices: Solaris... Learn a *real* OS inside out. It will serve(r) you well into your 60s.

Re:You like MS products huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421729)

You must be incompetent... its not any harder to set up an Exchange server than it is to setup the following list of apps:
  Postfix, to send and receive e-mail
  Dovecot, for IMAP
  SpamAssassin, to keep spam out of your inbox
  Sieve, to set up mail filters and rules
  Roundcube, for webmail
  PostgreSQL (or MySQL/MariaDB), for Roundcube's database
  Nginx and PHP-FPM, to serve out Roundcube over the Web

Linux (1)

nodan (1172027) | about 8 months ago | (#46421497)

Learn Linux if you want to setup mail servers and do stuff with the cloud. It'll be fun, too.

Re:Linux (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 8 months ago | (#46421539)

Doesn't this advice apply more to "without the cloud" than "with the cloud"?

a more important question is how do i change this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421499)

what a POS

If you enjoy it, do it. (1)

Ragnarok89 (1066010) | about 8 months ago | (#46421507)

I used to be a Mechanical Engineer. I decided to change careers when I was 32. Computers had always been a sort of hobby for me, and a topic I found interesting; although truth be told, much of my early exposure to PCs was gaming. I worried initially that doing my hobby day in day out as a profession would make me like it less.

Now, having been in IT for 9 years, I can say this: Best move I ever made . I go to work everyday and work on cool technology, solve complex problems, learn constantly - and get paid for it.

Those who can do, those who can't teach. (4, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | about 8 months ago | (#46421509)

After reading your question this one came to my mind. Those who can do, those who can't teach. But it does makes me wonder what you are teaching these kids if you have to ask us how to get a job in the tech-world. I hope your pupils won't have to ask that same question.

Re:Those who can do, those who can't teach. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421653)

I doubt he is teaching them how to get jobs :-)

Re:Those who can do, those who can't teach. (2)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 8 months ago | (#46421677)

Those who can't teach rely on snarky catchphrases to make themselves feel better about past classroom humiliations.

Re:Those who can do, those who can't teach. (2)

Parafilmus (107866) | about 8 months ago | (#46421745)

makes me wonder what you are teaching these kids if you have to ask us how to get a job in the tech-world. I hope your pupils won't have to ask that same question.

That seems unfair. Would you expect a music teacher to lecture kids about recording contracts?

It strikes me as unfortunate that a technology teacher doesn't know how to code, because that seems like a basic part of the subject matter. But I wouldn't expect a schoolteacher to be an expert on private sector job hunting.

Answer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421531)

I like Microsoft products ... Is it too late for me ...?

Man, there is no hope for you!

Start in the trenches (1)

The_Human_Diversion (3564171) | about 8 months ago | (#46421543)

Like someone else said, you need to start in "the trenches" - for IT that generally means helpdesk. Most places realize that helpdesk is not a place to finish your IT career, but to start it. On your resume trump up your technical skills and in the interview trump up your interpersonal skills and your ability to use "common sense" (hint - it aint that common). A lot of IT people didn't start in IT. The Citrix expert here was a reporter into his mid-30's. I'm a 20 year SysAdmin and I have a degree in music.

Dont Do It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421545)

The stories in the trade papers are misleading about the current state of affairs in the rank and file IT dept. And you have about 15 year before age discrimination hits (age 45+). You will have trouble changing jobs after that. And Microsoft is not the answer for the larger IT departments/solutions. Keep working at a school system you like, invest your 401k, and work at what you love in the summers. Avoid being worked to death in your 30s, 40s, and trapped in a job in your 50s, with an unemployed period before retirement.

I am going thru disability / unemployment with a stress related nerve disease. in my late 50s. without some savings and support from friends I would really be in trouble.

Life is too short to work for a**hats driving death march after death march.

PM or BA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421569)

Sounds like the perfect PM, any of them (Product Manager, or Project Manager, or Program Manager, or whatever), or Business Analyst. Project Manager especially with your experience dealing with children...

My advice would be.. (1)

StormyWeatherL33T (2881677) | about 8 months ago | (#46421579)

My general advice would be to ask these questions of recruiters and hiring managers, not the mostly non-hiring community of slashdot. There's tons of really bad advice in these comments. Having switched tracks a few times, I can tell you that in my experience it generally involves choosing an area to specialize in, taking some classes and/or getting certifications, trying to get some hands on experience if possible, and then marketing yourself well.

Definitely not too old (1)

Parafilmus (107866) | about 8 months ago | (#46421585)

At 30, you're young enough to do pretty much anything. But I'd caution against tying yourself too closely to a specific software vendor. You may still be in the workplace 30 years from now, so try to cultivate skills that will remain relevant.

It sounds like you're working in the field already. Have you tried applying for private sector jobs?

Career advice from Yoda (4, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | about 8 months ago | (#46421589)

If once you start down the Microsoft path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will...

Seriously, Microsoft is in decline, and already has a bunch of people trained up in it. You should consider learning mobile development for Android, iOS, or both. If you want to learn server-side stuff I would learn the open stack: Linux, MySQL and/or Postgres, maybe Hadoop.

Re:Career advice from Yoda (1)

motorhead (82353) | about 8 months ago | (#46421637)

Memorize "The Magic Garden Explained" and then write your own kernel. You'll be on your way!

get bits of paper. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#46421595)

Most hiring is by or at least through people who have absolutely no clue about the technology of the job they are hiring for.
Consequently, the only way they have of judging your ability is by a piece of paper that says you can do something.
The good news is that there are many 2 or 3 day seminars/certification courses that you basically just have to pay one or two grand and basically as long as you show up and demonstrate a level of intellegence that puts you anywhere above clinically braindead you will get a credible-looking piece of paper saying you are certified in something or the other, that will impress the know-nothing employment agents and HR clowns every time.

Employee trainer (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 months ago | (#46421603)

Most medium (and up) sized businesses have a training group (usually a subset of HR), and have a real need for people who both know the material and know how to teach it.

Breaking into "real" IT at your age, without in-field work experience, would mean working the helpdesk - If that appeals to you, great, but it doesn't tend to pay all that well.

Pick the most cutting edge tech... (1)

Dharkfiber (555328) | about 8 months ago | (#46421623)

And run with it. I currently would look into Cloud control decks like OpenStack or Azure Cloud Infrastructure Standup or even some sort of CloudERP programming like Salesforce. Any competence at all in these will easily land you a job quickly.

Move to India (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 8 months ago | (#46421625)

Almost all work can be done remotely, with the exception of being "remote hands" in a data center. In that case, ensure the trunk of your vehicle has cold-weather gear. Best bet is to focus on jobs that require a physical presence or national security (no H1-B). Even H1-B are being outsourced to native country of origin. Pretty soon a robot will be the "remote hands" in the data center.

Do NOT focus on Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421645)

Microsoft technologies are becoming less and less popular, and less and less relevant. If you do make a move - aim for Open Source technologies. Also - 30 is WAY WAY young. I 're-invented' my career at age 45, and I bet many do the same when much older.

It can be done -- I did it. (1)

zarmanto (884704) | about 8 months ago | (#46421671)

I switched technology careers at 30 myself; I went from help desk technician and system administration to web development, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. Of course, it probably helps that I'd already been trying to get into web development for the better part of the preceding decade... but that's not the point. The point is that it can indeed be done, if you have the skills and the drive to get where you want to be. Most jobs outside of the education field and higher sciences aren't nearly as difficult to break into, as people usually think.

My advice to you would be, very simply, just apply for the job you want, and see what happens. It'll most likely take more than a few interviews before you find someone willing to take a chance on you, and of course, you'll probably have to start out at an entry level position... but if you're coming from the educational field, then you probably won't take too much of a hit to your paycheck.

Frankly, Nike's advice actually works, here: if you want to get a different/better job... just do it.

Why would it be "too late"? (2)

King_TJ (85913) | about 8 months ago | (#46421681)

IMO, at 30, you're right in the "zone" as far as the age group companies like to hire for computer support or network/server administration.

(Honestly, I think there's greater interest in hiring younger for software development, due to the mentality that you can hire talent cheap if you catch them shortly after they're out of school. Plus, they haven't been in the field long enough to be "old dogs that know a bunch of tricks you have to get them to un-learn" for your particular environment.)

It sounds like part of your question relates to which technologies you should focus on learning? One trend I have noticed is that mail servers are becoming more and more centralized. Most growing companies want to eliminate the in-house mail server(s) and sub-contract that out. With the growth of mobile devices that get attached to corporate email, it's nice to offload that bandwidth usage to a 3rd. party, among other things. This has the side-effect of making knowledge of setup/configuration/maintenance of mail servers (like Exchange) a skill-set that gives you a full-time job working only with email. If you really like email and mail servers, great. Go this route and get hired on at one of the cloud-based email services out there! Otherwise, I'd only worry about knowing it from the client side.

Every company I've ever worked at could stand to have more I.T. people on staff with good training skills and an interest in doing it. The "gotcha" there is that usually? It boils down to a situation where you won't really get to do as much of that as you and your co-workers would like because management has other ideas about what's the most valuable use of your time and company resources. (Remember, if you decide to schedule a "training session" for a big group in one of the conference rooms? Now the productivity of ALL of those people attending just dropped to 0 during the time you've got them as a captive audience in there. You're also occupying the room, which may also pose at least some level of inconvenience -- especially if employees regularly book the room to pitch a service or product your company makes to its clients. You'll probably also find that without providing some food and drink, it's tough to get people to show up for such things... so again, another expense for the company.)

I've always found that good communication skills and ability to teach the software is a really valuable skill, but you'll primarily wind up using it randomly, when assisting people by phone or "one on one" at their desks with issues. If you're lucky, a hiring manager will give you more consideration than "the next applicant" because of a background teaching technology. But it will become "just another thing you do that's kind of taken for granted" once you're hired.

Especially if you're getting hired via a recruiting firm, they're overly fixated on industry "buzzwords". Certain items are considered "hot" at any given time. For the last couple years or so, "virtualization" was a big one. If you could say you had experience using VMWare ESXi or any of the other products allowing virtual servers, it was a big plus. "Cloud" knowledge is another one. IMO, this is really a bunch of nonsense, because almost ALL the cloud-based services have easy to use web based control panels. Anyone with good general I.T. skills and knowledge can master any of them in short order. Mastering virtual server products is a little more difficult and useful as a real skill .... but again, many places just treated it like it was a big deal, only because of a one-off desire to reduce the number of servers in a server room. Once somebody moved all 7 or 8 of those outdated physical servers onto one virtual server and got them running well? There wasn't a whole lot more to do or know to maintain that.... so other I.T. skills become more important again.

Nike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46421741)

just do it

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