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Approaching 50, career advice?

This is a discussion on Approaching 50, career advice? within the Certification & Career forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. In high school, I graduated third in my class. My SAT's were 780 math, and 700 verbal. These were high


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Old 04-15-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
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In high school, I graduated third in my class. My SAT's were 780 math, and 700 verbal. These were high enough to put me in top 1/50th of 1 percent. I loved computers so I went to one of the US's top universities and graduated with a dual major in Mathematics and Computer Science in the 1980's.

The first fifteen years of my career were great. I worked senior level positions in programming, databases, networking, servers, and project management. At one point I managed 14 people. After that I faced several layoffs, outsourcings, and then searching for whatever short term jobs I could find as a consultant.

A decade ago, I was working in senior level consulting jobs for $50 an hour. Later, as I took the best job I could find to pay the bills, the jobs started to not be so well paid. Currently I am working as a refresh technician for less than $20 an hour.

Over the years I have earned a lot of certifications—MCSE, CCENT, A+, CISA, and a few others. In the current job market, the only relevant information seems to be one’s job history for the most recent three years. Is there any way to turn my career around?
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:47 AM   #2
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Assuming that you've gone through all your personal contacts including past work associates and internet channels, if you really want to regain your former stature, you must act like a "winner". On an interview, dress like the President (old copies of Dress for Success are still relevant), not a techie. Be willing to relocate. Have a one page resume and be prepared to state firmly your past accomplishments. Problems solved mean more than certs. Show that you're up to date on current technology. Don't be afraid to talk outside the tech field, but be careful that the interviewer isn't on the extreme other side of your politics. When discussing salary, act like you're worth a 100 grand.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this article its hard to believe what your going through I know of lot freelance companies are hiring. You might want to try that.

Jose Vizcaino
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #4
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What part of the country are you in? What area of IT are you interested in getting back into? If your skills are still relevant you should have no problem finding a good paying job.

Do you have work experience to go along with your certifications? While the certs are nice, if you can't hit the ground running many employers may not be interested.

Software developers are still very much in demand so if that's the avenue you want to take you should have no issue finding something but it may require moving around.
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:35 PM   #5
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What part of the country are you in? What area of IT are you interested in getting back into? If your skills are still relevant you should have no problem finding a good paying job.

I am in the United States thanks for asking. I am interested in computer programming for web and Ios and Android but right now I am trying to get a work at home position in tech support or customer service.

If I want to go back to school for computer programming and web development i would like to have an IT job or customer service job but
do i have to?


Do you have work experience to go along with your certifications? While the certs are nice, if you can't hit the ground running many employers may not be interested.

I graduated in 2007 and I have A+ certifcation but i have had to work with alot of companies that wouldnt give me a chance to gain experience they wanted me to hit the ground running, even though advertised the job as entry level.

Software developers are still very much in demand so if that's the avenue you want to take you should have no issue finding something but it may require moving around.

When you say it may require moving around what do you mean?
Also i have my resume and really need some resume advice where can i post my resume?

Thank you so much for getting back to me quickly.



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Old 06-30-2014, 03:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
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What part of the country are you in? What area of IT are you interested in getting back into? If your skills are still relevant you should have no problem finding a good paying job.
I'm currently living in Virginia, but I am willing to relocate anywhere in the world. I am mostly interested in Project Management right now.

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Do you have work experience to go along with your certifications? While the certs are nice, if you can't hit the ground running many employers may not be interested.
I did say during the first 15 years of my career I held senior level positions in practically every area of IT. I led several migrations (both sever and desktop) during the nineties--the largest was about 1200 people. In the early 2000's I led several software projects. From 2006-2011, I worked as an IT security consultant for small companies. Since then, I have worked temporary assignments as a WAN and desktop technician. I am currently working on my PMP.

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Software developers are still very much in demand so if that's the avenue you want to take you should have no issue finding something but it may require moving around.
I did a lot of work with Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio.NET in the early 2000's. Before that, I worked mostly on IBM and DEC. Recently, my experience has been mostly desktops and WAN.
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:42 AM   #7
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You shouldn't have any issues getting a job in DC, MD or VA with the amount of experience you have. Are you actively submitting your resume? Have you had an recent interviews and, if so, how did they go?
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:31 AM   #8
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The last time I had a non-temp job was with General Electric in 2002. I submitted hundrds of resumes during 2003 while working temp jobs. I interviewed heavily, but most said I was overqualified. Somtimes, I was invited back for 3-4 interviews for jobs that suited me well. A couple of the companies like my skills very much but ran out of funding to add the additional position.

I worked temp jobs until 2006, when the temp jobs started getting scarcer. After that, I decided to go into business for myself. I have continued to send out resumes, but I haven't had any interviews for a full-time job with benefits since around that time. I also sent a flurry of resumes when I earned my CISA, but most of larger companies must have felt my experience with small companies would not translate to them. I’ve also noticed there is little regard for experience that is more than three years old.

I live about two hours from DC and Maryland. Right now, I am not certain how to position myself. I am working as a desktop technician, but I do have some favor communicating with management. My pay is about the same (in real dollars—not counting inflation) as my first job when I graduated from college in the eighties. I hope that earning my PMP will give me some opportunities for promotion. Otherwise, I have been applying for mostly desktop positions, and generalist positions with smaller companies. At this point, even 40K per year with benefits, would be a big pay raise.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:45 AM   #9
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I can understand the over-qualified issue. I had issues like that when I was looking for work a few years ago. I was at a company for a very long time and was making a very good salary. Once people heard my previous salary they ended the call even when I stated it was negotiable. I ended up going with a completely different IT path and it worked out great.

Another thing you may want to try is to post your resume on some of the state/county sites and sign up for their updates. You'll get email updates as the jobs open up. The benefits are good as is the salary (typically).

Government contracting is another area where you can do very well. You may need to move a little closer in but there should be tons of opportunities.
Hook up with a recruiter if you don't currently work with one.
Network with people you've worked with in the past. That's an excellent way to get inside info on an opening.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:00 PM   #10
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How are you networking? It's reasonable for a nobody kid like me to have nothing, but someone of your expertise should definitely have a LinkedIn profile, constantly engaging the folks there, submitting resumes posted there (they often look for qualified individuals for good jobs, not micky mouse positions). You can also Google some companies and check out their home pages for a 'careers' link. Do you go to many conventions, fairs, expos, trade shows, etc? The more you get out there, the better.

You might consider getting a teaching degree/Masters in Education, and trying to teach at the college level, or even find an online resource where you can advertise yourself as a private instructor.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:48 AM   #11
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Networking - Yes, I do have a LinkedIn page, and consider myself fairly active. Through LinkedIn, I’ve found out recently that one of former subordinates is now an IT director in a distant state. I haven’t begged him for a job yet though. I went to a lot of ISACA events for a couple of years after I received my CISA.

Recently, a low income forced me to give up driving, so I am limited to getting places on the bus route. My bus commute is about an hour and a half each way. I am very busy at my current job and sometime have to work unpaid overtime to keep up. The commute and hard work leaves me pretty exhausted at night. I am the only breadwinner in my family, and a family income of around 30k/year is pretty austere.

I do have a master’s degree already, so teaching in college is a possibility. However, I've found that the pay for untenured professors is very poor. I have also completed a post-graduate k-12 teaching certificate course and taught high school for one year. However, I prefer IT to teaching.

One benefit of working low-paid temp jobs is that I meet many people “in between” better jobs. One of my associates returned to Project Management and recommended me for a job with his company last week. I quickly applied.

You certainly aren’t a “nobody”. I often do refreshes for IT developers and analysts who had no college education and no experience before getting their jobs. They were just at the right place at the right time. It seems managers prefer those with no experience to those who have resumes that beg any questions.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph1968 View Post
Thanks for posting this article its hard to believe what your going through....
My situation is pretty common. There are postings like this all over the internet:
Quote:
Years of top grades, honors programs, a top 10 MBA, 'investment' in student loans, a good professional start--ending in long term unemployment followed by underemployment when the industry I was working in crashed in...

...I've had more time to consider why a good education can be so meaningless if something bad happens during your career. Anyone, REALLY ANYONE, can go from being the best and the brightest to essentially unemployable in their field within 6 months--irrespective of their confidence that they are the type of person with hard won skills that will always be able to get a good job. People who have not experienced this for themselves will not believe it, because it is too unconfortable to believe. But this is how markets really work. Customers in a grocery will buy perfect vegetables and skip over the ones with visible bruises until they are sold at a deep discount. Hiring managers do the same thing. Candidates must be unblemished by any concern or question, including hiring gaps or rapid job moves, or unusual industry changes.
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