I’ll never forget the very first IT course I taught. Eight students turned up to a musty smelling classroom in an old building where I was running a week-long Cisco CCNA course. The year was 2002 and I’d just started my very first company.
I introduced myself and then we went around the room saying our hellos. The students came from all walks of life, disk jockey, gardener, former army and so on. One guy was a retired chemical engineer who had been made redundant after 25 years in the industry. He was already in his 60’s and was convinced that he was too old to get a career in IT but was having a try anyway.
His name was Neil Summers. He had no IT experience to speak of but had nothing to lose. Six months later he was working as a network engineer. He’s still working in IT in fact, as an ICT Technical Manager. I’m guessing he’s well into his 70’s now.
I’m bringing this up because I hear some strange reasons from people sometimes about what they think is true in the IT industry. Stuff like:
- I’m too old to get a job in IT
- You need the experience to get a job in IT
- I don’t need to get certified if I have experience
- You have to start at the bottom and work your way up
I fell for some of these myself and it really held my IT career back for several years, as well as costing me a small fortune.
I wrote a post last week entitled ‘What IT Employers are REALLY Looking For’ and there was nothing on the list about experience or age. Companies have IT problems and if you can help fix these problems then you could be a good fit. If you add some basic stuff such as good attitude, hard work ethic and willingness to learn then you move into the top 10% of candidates.
IT problems are headaches that need fixing. The only age-restricted IT jobs would be lifting heavy equipment such as core routers or switches but to be honest, who even want’s those sorts of jobs? With cloud solutions growing more popular, the chances of you actually touching live equipment diminish by the day.
I don’t want to flog the point here so let’s just put to bed the idea that you have to be young with a ton of experience to get into IT. My homepage has several case studies of people who have neither youth or experience but now have awesome IT careers. If you want some world class IT career training then check out my courses based on everything learned to make a career change into IT and then starting consulting.