too old for IT - age limit - non technical question

Posted on 2014-02-09
Last Modified: 2014-02-12
I'm 37 years old, been in IT for about 9 years and have been a network administrator for about 2 years.  Are people in IT worried about how they will handle a job like this when they turn 65 years old.  I'd like to work as long as possible.  I really don't want to retire early.  With technology moving so fast can older individuals keep up?  I ask this because I've seen technicians who are in there 50's and 60's (and sorry to say), they are slower than the younger techs.  Do you plan to still be in IT when you're 65?  If so, how would you accomplish this?

There are many careers out there where you gain experience with each passing year.  Not true in IT.  Your experience 10 years ago is obsolete  (or will be very soon).  I'm not trying to be negative.  Don't get me wrong, I love IT.  I'd stay in it as long as possible if I could.  I've thought about this quite often and it may drive me to seek another field other than IT.  What's your opinion?
Question by:jkimzlg
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LVL 19

Accepted Solution

*** Hopeleonie *** earned 56 total points
ID: 39846482
I have planned to retire with 50.

There are many careers out there where you gain experience with each passing year.  Not true in IT.
Don't agree, sorry. :-)

 I ask this because I've seen technicians who are in there 50's and 60's (and sorry to say), they are slower than the younger techs.
Yes. But don't forget they have more experience!
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 56 total points
ID: 39846493
There are many careers out there where you gain experience with each passing year.  Not true in IT.

I also don't agree.  I've been in IT for nearly 20 years.  My knowledge of DOS, .ini files, registry keys, and all the TONS of old stuff the CURRENT technology is built on is what makes me as effective as I believe I am (and several other consultants believe I am since they keep hiring me to do the more complicated things).  

I've certainly forgotten more than I know (NT4, Windows 3.1, Windows 9x, even Windows 2000), but it generally comes rushing back to me when I sit in front of one of those old systems.  

Strategies change... You now have the cloud to deal with... but many companies shout and scream cloud cloud cloud.... but at the end of the day, they did the same thing 15 years ago about Terminal Services.  And today, Terminal Services is a TOOL. It is not the end all, be all of corporate computing.  The cloud won't be either - it will be - IS - a tool in your toolbox.  How *YOU* handle the change and what you do to adapt will determine where you are in 30 years.

Assisted Solution

by:Martin Tarlink
Martin Tarlink earned 56 total points
ID: 39846504
IT profession is like Doctor, you have too learn every day to be on the top with growing fast technology.
I remember in college we learn Pascal (try program with Pascal now LOL), or how create databases, network .. and now you don't even need the physical hardware, everything is ready for Virtual environment, and If you will stop learning for 2 years you could have a problem to catch up, the new generation young kids learn twice faster as they have more free time and no responsibilities, so hey hey hey learn every day.
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LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 56 total points
ID: 39846551
Like virtually all professional fields, continuing education is a requirement.  In a lot of fields like teaching and nursing, it is a legal requirement to keep your license.  I'm 66 and still learning something new about web design almost every day.

Like Lee W., my experience dates back to before even DOS.  The electronic and computer world still runs on the principles that I learned in 1967.  The parts are just a lot smaller.

I think if you look at the Hall of Fame here on EE, you will probably find that most of the top 100 are a good bit older than you are.

Assisted Solution

Surrano earned 56 total points
ID: 39846636
Continuing education is important in all professions but what's more, continuing IT education is equally important to those who deal with computers in their professions; including bookkeepers, storekeepers, truck drivers etc. It's simply inevitable.

As for your future career I'd recommend moving on from the more technical to the more theoretical direction. Head towards project management and as a manager you can still do technical things as a "hobby" :)
LVL 120

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 55 total points
ID: 39846673
in the UK, we will have no option but to continue to we are in our 70s!

Yes, and it's laughable that we will have 70 year old Consultants, IT Technicians, but this wil be supported by our Employers, unless they gives us a package to Retire Earlier, to introduce new blood.

Keep Updating you Skills, and completing training courses.
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

jhyiesla earned 55 total points
ID: 39847199
I'm almost 60 and still going strong. I agree with some of the other comments in that it's always a learning process since tech changes so rapidly. I'm probably as good at absorbing new stuff as I was 20 years ago and I hope to continue to work for at least another 7-10 years. It is stressful - or can be - and that's probably the main downside that I see with continuing at it for another 7-10 years.
LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 39848350
Come off it Andrew, we'll be on the dole in a couple of years and the Eastern Europeans will be doing all the jobs.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

Infamus earned 55 total points
ID: 39848950
I think it depends on a person's personality and their capacity.

I've seen old engineers who are very slow when others are very fast and very knowledgeable.

However, we can't deny that your brain can function as fast as when you are young.

You can't change that.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

_ earned 55 total points
ID: 39849088
Another vote with what they said.

I'm almost 60, been tinkering with computers for 20+ years, been on EE for over 10, and finally went for my CompTIA A+ Cert about 4 months ago.
I took a 6 week Test Cram course, and the last I heard, I now hold the highest test score for that class (they've done this program 3 or 4 times a year, for the last 3/4 years).

Rock-n-Roll !!!    : )

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39854798
Thank you for your commments, they helped me very much...
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 39855256
Thank you much.    : )

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