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Career change into IT at 38, impossible ?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by willt, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. willt

    willt New Member

    Hi Everyone

    First post, wish I'd found this forum a while back !

    I suppose my question is it impossible for me in my situation.

    I work in sales for a bank but hate hate hate it. I decided 6 months ago to retrain for a career in IT which is I wanted to do before I fell into sales.

    I've just completed N+ and really enjoyed it am wondering if it's worth continuing. I've got a couple of interviews lined up but the salaries are really low, £12-14k, which I'm told is about average for a first position. How long would it take on average to climb the payscale by adding more certs, experience. My problem is that I have a really good salary now (£40k), and whilst I could take a hit for a year or 2, I'd need to be back into the 30's within a couple of years, is that possible ? Unfortunately my mortgage etc is all built on my current salary, have 2 young kids so have to pay the bills.

    I'm just feeling a bit gutted that the job I really want is just not going to be possible to live with.

    By the way hats off to everyone who has studied for any certs, I had to do more study to pass N+ than I did to pass any of the exams needed for banking.

    Not sure if theres any answer to this post, just wanted to share my despire :)
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Byte Poster

    im not the most experienced user on this forum but i very much doubt it is possible to climb to 30k from an entry level position within a couple of years, not unless you know someone very well who runs an IT company anyway

    i would imagine after 5 years you will be in the high 20's

    wait and see what other people say though, i might be wrong
    Certifications: MCDST, MCITP:EA, Microsoft Certified Solutions Ascociate (2008), 70-662
  3. Steve.L

    Steve.L Byte Poster


    I very much doubt 30's will be attainable unless you live and work in London...then possible depending on how good you are. However its all down to you.

    Certifications: N+, MCP, MCTS, RHCT, VCP4 and 5, RHCSA
    WIP: ccna
  4. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    Hi, I was very much in the same position as you (but with only one kid), and was paid a very high salary.

    But I did not enjoy the hours and also, I worked weekends and did not get to see my daughter who was newely born. So I decided to make the career change.

    I made the move into IT around a month ago, but did recieve a slightly higher salary than you have been offered.

    I feel that within two years, I should be at the same level as I was working for the Financial Institution, by hardwork. Plus the best kept secret of IT support is you sit around doing nothing until there is an issue. Having been taught that time is precious I use these gaps at work to study.

    Just been nicknamed 'study machine' at work, but I know that opportunities open up for you if you have experience and qualifications.

    The route, that I am taking is MCDST > MCSA > MCSE > Specialist

    Passed my MCDST in six weeks, hoping to have the MCSA by the end of the year and move into Server Based side of things.

    The reason for the MCSE is that it is a platform which alot of employers want as a pre-requestie before you specialise. The area I will probably specialise in is Backups then into SAN's.

    I can only go by the salary that a member of my close family recieves in this area which is £50K basic, pension, healthcare, bonus, car allowance etc and he only works 8 - 4.30 M-F and no call outs.

    Hope that helps.
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  5. Povester

    Povester Bit Poster

    Despite what some "Training" companies would have you believe, it would be next to impossible to get an IT job with 30k+ after two years experience. The top of roles that offer the higher end salarys require a lot of experience that would be very difficult to gain when first starting out in the IT field. Start at the bottom and work your way up I'm afraid.
  6. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    You have to be reasonable.

    Would a junior mechanic start on astronomical wages?, you have to show ability, dedication and have a little luck with gaining employment within the right company to eventually progress through the ranks and earn these sort of sums.

    Or alternatively be really good and go into business for yourself and get the work.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  7. willt

    willt New Member

    Thanks for the replies, what I was expecting really. Is there much part time work about ? WOuld this be an option for building up experience whilst holding down another job ?
  8. rockstar6181

    rockstar6181 Byte Poster

    you might be able to make that with contracting, some contracters make 250 a day however i dont think you get paid sick leave, hoilday etc also its not a steady income as in contracts can sometimes be as short as a few weeks. Might be worth continueing with your certs and training and ask if you can work a few hours in your banks IT department a week and get some expirence. Do that for a 6 months to a year and you could spring board over some of the problems most people in IT get when they have certs/knowledge but no expirence.
    Certifications: A/N+ MCSA 2003
  9. somabc

    somabc Bit Poster

    You can certainly make it to £30k+ in 2 years, but you will have to be REALLY GOOD or at least REALLY INTERESTED (and hence willing to put in the time and effort to build your skills) in IT and willing to move to London. If you managed to get a good job in sales I'm sure your soft skills are good but either your technical ability will have to be excellent or you will need to go into management. Have you managed a sales team, if so you could manage an IT team (probably)?

    Personally I don't know if I would take the risk at 38 with children & a mortgage. Could you try IT for 2 years and if stuck in a low paying role, go back to sales?
    Certifications: BSc MBCS
  10. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

    I broke into the IT world at 30 from HVAC. It took 8 years to go from a call center/level 1 help desk to a network administrator, with 3 different companies. I could probably by making more $$$ if I went to work for another company, but my current employer gives me a company car and a gas card. I think I would actually take a pay cut just to keep those benefits. :D Anyway, you're going to be really hard pressed to be making that kind of money in 2 years. I tend to agree with somabc on this one......give it a try and see how it goes and go back to sales if it doesn't work out.

    The biggest risk is the one you don't take.
    Certifications: CompTIA and Micro$oft
    WIP: PDI+
  11. itdaddy

    itdaddy Byte Poster

    dude (willt) you make 40K euro that is like 80 USB right?why would you leave a job that pays money like that at 38 years old????do IT as a hobby! can you explain why?
  12. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    It took you a while to build up to a £40k salary in your current career field, didn't it? Similarly, it'll take you a while to build up to a £40k salary in IT. Companies will pay you what the going rate is for someone with your level of experience... and unfortunately, you don't yet possess that experience. You will, in time... but that's what it takes: time. A bunch of certifications alone won't do it. It takes time.

    To better illustrate my point... after 10 years in the IT industry, I'm making decent money. I love it... but lets say I hated it, and wanted to go into sales at a bank. I can't take a large pay hit... should I reasonably expect to make a £40k salary after a couple years in your career field? I would expect the answer is, "Not very likely."

    If it's something you truly want, you'll likely have to sacrifice your lifestyle to make it happen. My wife and I decided to do that when she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. At the time, she was bringing in 55% of the family's salary! But we made the decision, and we couldn't be happier. That said... we don't get new cars (please, Lord, let my 1999 Altima survive another 2 years!)... we don't go out to eat all the time... I don't get to buy new techie toys or go out to sporting events all the time anymore... and we rarely get to take vacations much anymore. I even asked my wife to not get me any presents on my birthday, for Christmas, and on Father's Day. No regrets - we've made ends meet. :)

    Decide what is priority in your life - more stuff + no happiness in your job, or less stuff + job happiness - and you'll naturally do what is best for you and your family. :)
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. somabc

    somabc Bit Poster

    Actually I think sales would be one of the easier area's to break in to, if you are a really good salesman earning commission only then the sky is the limit but £40k OTE is certainly achievable in 2-3 years. The trouble with sales is you will either hit your targets and make a lot of money or you will not and get fired!
    Certifications: BSc MBCS
  14. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

    Certainly it's possible. It all comes down to how talented you are, how motivated you are, and what you're willing to sacrifice to get there. This means that you may not be able to see your two children much over the next two years while you cert up and completely throw yourself into your new career.

    Speaking as a 39 year old father of one, I wouldn't do a straight transition. I don't like my current career (IT), but a transition to photography is even tougher than a transition to IT. I'm doing it slowly, mainly building up a portfolio and my skillbase. I do part-time work as a photographer on evenings and weekends with portraits and weddings. Right now the money in IT simply too good for me to abruptly turn my back on it and take the lower paying job.

    Providing comforts and a future for my family comes first for me. What you decide to do is your own business. :-)
    Certifications: Lots.
    WIP: Upgrading MS certs
  15. grim

    grim Gigabyte Poster

    i know you dont like your job but i dont think its worth risking the change if you have a mortgage and kids.Theres just so many people in IT that to start earning real money you're gonna need 3-5 years exp and some real good certs and its going to be a real struggle.

    Certifications: Bsc, 70-270, 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294, 70-298, 70-299, 70-620, 70-649, 70-680
    WIP: 70-646, 70-640
  16. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    It took me 6 years to break the £30k mark which I’m happy with (just now!) as the cost of living where I am isn’t too bad.

    Sure you might get more cash in London but obviously you have to take the cost of living into account. There does seem to be more job opportunities as well for higher paid jobs on the whole but you have to be technically sound and back it up with experience.

    Are you looking for an IT sales job or a more technical role just now?
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  17. boogalooslide

    boogalooslide New Member

    What would the general duties of what your family member be? Does he have certs or a degree? Is the job in London?

    I thought that sans were involved with DBA work.

    Sorry for the q's, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can from here!! :biggrin
  18. albertc30

    albertc30 Kilobyte Poster

    Hello mate. (Graigie1977)
    I am just half way into my CCNA course( CCNA2 final this week) , one more year to go and I might be interested in taking the MCDST. Could you please point me in the right direction?

    As for the author of this post, true that family comes first but hope is the only thing that keeps us moving. As long as you have it, never ever stop pursuing your dreams. Yes you might come across some hard times for you and your family but at the end it will all be worth it.

    I am 30, have worked on networking on my own in Portugal earning at the time, 10 years ago, £20.00 peer hour mainly for schools but it wasn't always there and they'd only pay like 30, 60 and sometimes 90 days after the job was done.
    Looking back now when I thought that I knew networking and what I have learned from CCNA, I knew nothing then other than making some patch cables, running some cat5 and cat5e from room to room not breaking the rule of 100 meters and that the IP was a class C ip address. I knew nothing of binary didn't even knew anything about class A or B ip addresses and the fact is those schools network infrastructure are still in place and running.
    Believe in yourself and if you have the support of your family you will get there. I have been taught by my father that sometimes we have to take a step back if we want to take a step up.
    Never give up your dreams. This is the only shoot we get at this life.

    All the best and good luck with your exams
    Arruda, C
    Certifications: CCNA
    WIP: 220-701 - A+

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