+ 9

Seasoned IT Professional to Programming/Software dev career change

Has anyone been an IT Pro(sysadmin, networking, storage, virtualization, etc) and switched to coding after so many years? If so was mindset very different and difficult to adapt at 50+? I’ve heard on several occasions that entry level mature software developers find it more challenging to get hired because of ageism. Has anyone had to fight that battle? I’m a seasoned IT vet w/ 22+ yrs who’s taken time off to switch careers programming self learning in my early 50’s. I’d like to get some feedback.

24th Mar 2018, 8:16 AM
Jesus Velazquez
5 Answers
+ 12
Great answers! Also I found this person encouraging (still checking out her site, but liked the goto talk): https://trishagee.github.io/presentation/career_advice_for_programmers/
25th Mar 2018, 4:04 PM
cyber33 - avatar
+ 10
@Jesus... As a professional developer of 22 years, I've known a handful of IT guys who have dabbled enough with code that they could make the transition to full-time developer. However, I've never actually known anyone to make the career change. I think the biggest challenge with these guys is they were all really good at and comfortable with IT. They usually apply their coding skills to devops automation, monitoring, and various utilities. However, I speculate the biggest obstacle to overcome is the salary disparity between an experienced IT professional and a junior developer. I'm not sure what that will look like for you, specifically, in your market, but it is likely you will need to take a drop in pay until you gain enough experience to match your previous income. Perhaps, you can transition using a hybrid approach where you focus on development related to IT. You could then justify income parity by combining your experience in IT with new dev skills. Something else you will have an advantage over junior developers is knowledge of hardware and networking. This will give you an edge in software focused on penetration testing or diagnostic / monitoring software like AppDynamics. Ultimately, you will need to be strategic in your approach, be flexible with the possibly of a temporary income reduction, or carve out your own niche where you combine skills from both fields to your advantage.
24th Mar 2018, 3:43 PM
David Carroll
David Carroll - avatar
+ 7
I heared about a friend doing so. Before he switched, he offered his skills on ebay and other platforms but went on working in his job. The complete switch was one year later.
24th Mar 2018, 8:50 AM
Oma Falk
Oma Falk - avatar
+ 6
Hi Jesus Welcome to the "oldies" pack. 35 years IT professional but now retired. I think it all comes down to abililty, but clearly as you are starting again your salary will be commensurate. Lovely story on google developers blog . https://blog.udacity.com/2018/03/beginnings-reinventions-and-leaps-grow-with-google.html
24th Mar 2018, 8:30 AM
Mike Choy
Mike Choy - avatar
+ 1
Thank you all for your feedback. Great food for thought.
30th Mar 2018, 6:50 AM
Jesus Velazquez