Is 40 too old to get in the game?

maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello, ladies and gents. New member here, and I have a question: is forty years of age too old to get into IT as a career?

Yes, I'm a career-changer as I hit a wall in my current occupation and interviews as well as offers have all dried up. So, given that I would like to follow something that I enjoy tremendously and concurrently support my family, would my age deter me from obtaining an internship and moving forward in IT (security concentration)? I hold a BA in philosophy/maths and, during my Hegelian phase, completed a MA in political science- theory, actually, on Hegel's philosophy of right. Anyway, they'll accept a good lot of my past credits, and so I'll have to move forward with the requisite IT/CS/maths credits for the BS in IT program (online); at most, I anticipate a couple of years.

Just curious what are my chances for securing entry-level employment--not that bad news here would make me change course--and the best way to go about it as well as which certs to start off with prior to my new program. WGU already has a cert progression in their degree, so any other recommendations would be appreciated.

Many thanks.


  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GRID, GICSP, GCIP, GXPN, GPEN, GWAPT, GCFE, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, CySA+, Sec+, eJPT Member Posts: 1,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    It's time for this monthly topic again? I really think we need to start a sticky for it.

    The answer is NO. Please search the forum for "too old" because this has really been discussed ad nauseam.

    Edit, start here:
    2019: GPEN | GCFE | GXPN | GICSP | CySA+ 
    2020: GCIP | GCIA 
    2021: GRID | GDSA

    WGU BS IT-NA | SANS Grad Cert: PT&EH | SANS Grad Cert: ICS Security | SANS Grad Cert: Cyber Defense Ops
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    For football, yes. For IT, no. I jumped into professional IT at 41.5 years of age and have been rather successful thus far. Bottom line, if you are passionate about IT and how it can help businesses achieve their goals, then you should have no problems either.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

    Connect With Me || My Blog Site || Follow Me
  • netsysllcnetsysllc Member Posts: 479 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Not sure it is too old but can you really live on starting wages and spend 5 or so years learning the skill set and building a resume? Security is a great area but in my opinion it requires extensive experience to be good at. This industry requires constant learning outside of work and many jobs will require 50 hours a week or more. A managed service provider would be a good way to get a wider skill set quickly but they will work you hard for low pay in most cases.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    No, however old you are, you aren't as old as you will be. For as many negatives about being an older IT 'junior', there are probably more posititives. The reality is that there are people your age who've been in IT for 10, 15, 20 years and aren't much beyond "entry level". So you'd be ahead of some of the competition on your first day. A lot of the generic workskills that make some employers nervous about new hires, you will already have, so it is really just the IT skills.

    Some of the best IT people have diverse backgrounds. Both maths and philosophy will be useful. Ethics and epistemology are both immediately useful. And of course there's practical aspects of being able to research, read, and write coherently and fluidly. Any decent hiring manager will recognise that - and the ones that don't would probably frustrate you in other ways.

    Good maths skills can be very useful to have at the higher levels. Being able to analyse data with sophistication needs good maths. And data analysis is a big deal in security.

    If you can, consider a Master's over a BS. It can be quicker and cuts through to the important stuff.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Can't thank you enough for the reply, guys; I appreciate it a great deal. And iBrokeIT is right: I should have searched the forum, so my apologies.


  • tmtextmtex Member Posts: 326 ■■■□□□□□□□
    No. I work with a guy who is 45, not the sharpest tool in the shed but he gets it. From my experience you want the young eager guys who are entry level skip over to 40+ to the older entry level. Everything in between thinks they are god and know everything but are more into their phone
  • bluejellorabbitbluejellorabbit Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I don't think 40 is too old. Mostly you just need to have passion for what you do.

    Since you already have degrees, I wouldn't waste your time on another. Degrees are mostly for HR filters. If you were working on your first college degree, then sure, do an IT degree. But if you've already got a degree, whether in Geology, Shakespearean Lit, or Turf grass management, you're not really using your time efficiently in obtaining another. Best to just work on certifications and building your workable skill set.
  • dhay13dhay13 Member Posts: 580 ■■■□□□□□□□
    i got my B.S. in IT at 41 years old. i'm 47 now and currently working in network security. i started out my first year old college (2005) fixing computers for friends and family, then started gaining a few customers here and there. i started out in Computer Forensics & Security so i started running forensic examinations on my own computers and eventually gained a few customers. i also started consulting customers on OS hardening (closing ports, disabling services, etc). by the beginning of the 3rd year i had landed a part time job at the local school district. point is, take as many small side projects or volunteer work as you can along the way to pad your IT experience
  • maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    dhay, that sounds like my probable course the next five years. Thanks.

    Octaldump, that is very wise advise; I'm not kidding. And I was looking at the MS programs, but I don't have the IT/CS courses under my belt yet to qualify for admission. I think, if most of my past credits are accepted, the BS in IT can be done--even with my schedule as it is--in about 15 months; then I was thinking of hopping on a more lengthy self-education program. As you wrote (and you're right, of course), it's just the IT skills. Thank you.

    tmtex, I have to admit that it's good to know this- no kidding. I thought I am at a greater disadvantage, but it seems that I may be in better position. I appreciate it.

    bluejellorabbit, I thought about that, too, though I would prefer at least some sort of program--even if it's online--to guide me from the fundamentals to the intermediate/advanced courses and certs. As I have seen in this forum, WGU can accomplish that so this is the reason I went this way. Thanks.
  • Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    1) Welcome!! I was a mid life a career change. Best decision of my life.
    2) Time to make this topic a sticky.
  • DAVID QDAVID Q Member Posts: 25 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Remember guy 40 is kind of the new 30. With each generation life expectancy seems to increase depending on how one takes care of themselves.
    The only problem I see is they may not walk you by the hand like they would a 20 year old so you must incorporate a lot self study and labs depending on the direction your trying to go in.
    The key to the question is what is your background? That will depend on how much of a learning curve you will have when learning about certain technologies and requirements for certifications by certain vendors like Microsoft,Cisco,and Comptia. . Also age is just a number, I'm a veteran who joined the Airnational Guard(Airforce) at 39, but didn't ship off to bootcamp until 40. After bootcamp I went to tech-school and obtained my Comptia A+ certification. The moral to the story is don't LET AGE DISCRIMINATION BE A SET BACK. Regardless of the obstacles I will say what Nike said JUST GO FOR IT
  • maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    You guys are awesome- thank you, sincerely.

    My background... that is interesting because I do see one benefit, but it doesn't come up often. Symbolic (deductive) logic was the most exciting philosophy course I took, and that got me going into maths, philosophy (metaphysics), etc. The hard work in that, oddly, gave me this zoom-out perspective or understanding on technical matters so i.e. I see how things work, objectives, connections, the network as a whole, but I don't know specifics and exactly how they work work in detail. Not to mention the fact that this field is dynamic, growing everyday and CS pushes the boundaries of what is done in IT and its applications. What I mean to write here is that my background and its material did not even come close to the technicality and rate of growth IT encompasses, and my academic work as a whole, from what I see at least now as I study IT, provided that benefit of "...okay, I get what's going here--really--but I don't know the foundations, terminology, and the material well enough to understand the specifics." So, this is the reason I need those IT skills via some rapid program.

    In any case, thanks for your time and input, everyone; this question was on my mind for some time.


  • Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Philosophy may be a very good basis for a technical career, because we always have to figure out what the other engineer was thinking.
  • DAVID QDAVID Q Member Posts: 25 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I can tell your a beginner, but I will start you from ground up to a successful path. If you have a interest in video games and would like to learn how to build your own computer gaming systems this will be one the first steps. Also by building up new gaming systems and finding old systems to tear apart mainly the ones off Ebay will give you confidence. This is the hands on stuff that will Prepare for the Comptia A+ certification. Once build up your own gaming system and install a operating system next you will install applications like VIRTUALBOX and VMWARE to master the basics of Windows 7,8,10, and The Windows Server Editions 2008 and 2012
    Resources for building a computer:
    How To Build a Computer - Part 1,2,3 - Choosing Your Components
    Computer Assembly
    After computer Assembly Installing Operating Systems 7,8, or 10. then install the applications like virtual box and vmware which will allow to you play with different operating systems in a virtual machine like Windows 7,8,10, 2008, and 2012 and Linux.
    How to Install Windows 7 Operating System, Drivers & Folders
    To source parts and components
    1. CPU, Cheap CPU, Socket 478, CPU Processors, Socket 775 at,
    2.Computer Parts, Laptops, Electronics, and More -
    3. Micro Center - Computers, Electronics, Computer Parts, Networking, Gaming, Software, and more!
    You can build a gaming systmem for under $200 dollars if you use older parts like three four years old thats why I would recommend | Computers News, Reviews & More!.

    Your Next step or right now is to research and look for any Comptia A+ Books at your local bookstore, youtube or has tons of IT books and video resources.
    Here are a list of videos to begin your journey.
    Hardware Week 1 Day1- Part 1 of 10 - Computer and Network Support Specialist Course
    Hardware Week 1 Day1- Part 2 of 10 - Computer and Network Support Specialist Course
    Professor Messer Comptia A+

    After you have passed Comptia A+ go for the Network +, then Sec+. The Comptia A+ is will open doors for a entry level tech-support position.
  • dhay13dhay13 Member Posts: 580 ■■■□□□□□□□
    also, when i started out i would get as many free or cheap broken computers i could find and try to fix them. i gained alot of experience that way. i also bought a few off ebay fixed them and resold them for extra money.
  • Sheiko37Sheiko37 Member Posts: 214 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,341 Mod
    yes 40 is too old to become a competitive gymnast in the Olympics
    In Progress: MBA
  • maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    David, that is golden; I'm actually taking a look right now. Cheers, mate.

    dhay, well I'm going to repair an ancient Dell notebook my dad has (running winxp), so let's see, but you're spot on... that experience counts for a lot. Thanks again.

    Sheiko and Unixguy, wise words.
  • maxcatmaxcat Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Cheers, guys.. invaluable info- seriously. Any further words of wisdom on getting that entry-level position once A+ is completed (shortly)? Just don't know how to mesh my current experience on my CV--completely different field--with my knowledge in IT.

  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    maxcat wrote: »
    Cheers, guys.. invaluable info- seriously. Any further words of wisdom on getting that entry-level position once A+ is completed (shortly)? Just don't know how to mesh my current experience on my CV--completely different field--with my knowledge in IT.


    As far as your CV goes, it might be worth getting some professional advice. There are ways to pull out skills from previous work experience that are relevant to very different jobs. Paying someone a few hundred to redo your resume, and maybe help with interview questions, will pay off in the long run.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • ScsinusyScsinusy Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I figured I would chime in also but agree with all previously stated. I was told you had to know someone to get onto a Govt contract, I busted that myth on my own. Was told the same about security also but the stars aligned and I broke through the barrier. I have since done it again even though it required relocating to a better job market area (Houston, TX). Come September I will have been in an actual security role for 4 years, it hasn't been easy on me or my family at times but if you're passionate enough the sky is the limit. Good luck.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,781 Mod
    and I will repeat what I always say: NO, it is not too late. 57 and still going.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • tedjamestedjames Scruffy-looking nerfherdr Member Posts: 1,179 ■■■■■■■■□□
    and I will repeat what I always say: NO, it is not too late. 57 and still going.

    51 for me. I started my security career about 10 years after many years as a technical writer and web developer (wrote HTML code the old fashioned way, one line at a time). A former agency where I had worked as a technical writer offered me a new technical writing job in their security department. Seemed like a great opportunity at the time, so I jumped on it. Eventually, I transitioned into program management but then added incident handling, training, security awareness, and other related tasks, all the while learning on my own and from colleagues. Last year, I moved into a full-on cyber security role at another agency where I'm doing monitoring, scanning, testing, physical security, security awareness, etc. My boss has encouraged (and is paying for) me to study penetration testing and get certified (eLearnSecurity - great so far). He says that within a few years, I should be qualified to work as an information security officer. My real goal is security engineer, but at this point, I'm not ruling anything out. So at 40, you're far from done. You can apply what you know from your background/degrees to security. Security is a wide open field with many possibilities. With political science and philosophy, think about how they relate to governance, privacy, policy, social engineering, security awareness, leadership. With math, you should know how to derive a logical approach to solving problems. Think incident handling. You probably also have an aptitude for learning new tools. You can apply that to learning scanning/testing tools. It's never too early to make a change.
  • Bjcheung77Bjcheung77 Member Posts: 89 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Would you mind me asking how you got your foot in the door? Did you have any certs when you first got hired?
    I just hit the big 40 but am changing careers from Help Desk Analyst, and want to move onto something different.
    I only have an AS Biology, and NO certs, just looking to see how I can move up... BSIT or Certs first?
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Bjcheung77 wrote: »
    Would you mind me asking how you got your foot in the door? Did you have any certs when you first got hired?
    I just hit the big 40 but am changing careers from Help Desk Analyst, and want to move onto something different.
    I only have an AS Biology, and NO certs, just looking to see how I can move up... BSIT or Certs first?

    Tell you the truth, Helpdesk Analyst is not a career, well it can be for some but the majority of people use it as a stepping stone to move up to different roles but gaining experience through the Helpdesk and then certifying to validate new knowledge or experience. How long have you been in the Helpdesk position for? Look into getting a cert like Network+ or MCSA or CCNA to start things off. Then you will be in a better position to understand what your next role should be or what you are more interested in.
  • ITSpectreITSpectre Member Posts: 1,040 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I will go against the grain and say if you are someone who is stuck in your ways, unable to learn new things, unable to adjust to a changing enviornment, and not willing to think outside the box... then yes you are too old for IT and a career change. BUT since you are none of those things then I would say yes.
    I said that because I had a co worker who did retail for a living and hated it (similar to me) but he decided to go into IT because he took a part his computer in a fit of rage, and put it back together while drinking a 6 pack and smoking a cigar. So ever since then he got into IT but did not want to adapt and learn what he could, he came in the door trying to change IT to sales and service and he ultimately quit and decided to stay in retail and fish on sundays.... :D
    In the darkest hour, there is always a way out - Eve ME3 :cool:
    “The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone.” – Thane Krios
  • jeremywatts2005jeremywatts2005 CySA,S+,A+,N+Cloud+,MSDFS,MSMISSM Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You never too old. However if you want to get a jump on wages get a few certifications and try to go management instead of being technical. I have seen a lot of guys go management and have little technical background. They usually are managing projects, service managers in IT or some other similar types of roles. Also why not work in sales engineering or technical sales. This would help you to continue to drive your wages up without having to restart you salary all over again. I went from being a highly technical engineer type to a Dean and back to now working in InfoSec management. I used transferrable skills and emphasized them heavily. I enjoyed being a Dean for almost 6 yrs and I was the only Dean who could teach the entire InfoSec curriculum and IT curriculum.
  • bettsy584bettsy584 Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Not at all my Dad is currently 52, driving a taxi which he hates. I am dragging him through CCNA bit by bit, and he is picking it up well. It helps that I have done Cisco for over 10 years I suppose.

    Only advice I would give would be to stick to an area or two though, don't try to be a jack of all trades, get your area and go deep.
Sign In or Register to comment.