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Age Is Just a Number for Old Tech Pros Willing to Keep Pace

What can older workers do to maximize their value to employers?


Older lady in ITAs Chip Conley says, an older worker “who serves and learns, as both mentor and intern, and relishes being both student and sage,” can stay relevant in a fast-changing industry.


Allan Hoffman, tech jobs expert at Monster, advises older workers to keep in touch with cutting-edge technologies and work at creating and projecting an image of a “forward-thinking techie”.


People who know older technology and keep learning new technologies have a better chance of keeping or finding jobs in the youth-centric IT industry. If you want to last, specialising in one field alone is not the answer, because your area of specialisation will sooner or later become outdated.


Experts agree that the best way to stay relevant in the field is to equip yourself to keep updating skills and be prepared to change jobs more frequently. Do things like learn a current programming technique, or the latest tech methodologies (DevOps, anyone?), or develop a mobile app using the latest language. This can give your current employer and prospective employers the impression that you are in on the latest developments in IT and are keen to remain professionally current.


According to Hoffman, updating skills and highlighting the same on your resume, maintaining a blog, working on open-source projects, being enthusiastic and passionate about new tech and showing leadership are ways to stay current.


Are there concessions older workers should be prepared to make?


Experienced professionals who take up a new job can benefit from functioning like an intern for some time, observing and learning from younger peers. This helps them assimilate much that is new. It can also assure employers that they are capable of learning and haven’t lost their enthusiasm and energy.


Short tenures are the norm at many tech companies. According to PayScale, older tech majors such as Oracle and IBM retain employees over longer tenures than do Facebook, Tesla or Google, which report typical employee tenures of two years at the most. So, experienced professionals need to be prepared to change jobs frequently and even relocate if necessary.


Since older professionals are sometimes considered more expensive, those who want to continue in the industry might need to accept remuneration below expectations.


Despite the tech industry’s age bias, experienced pros can not only survive but thrive if they are willing to adapt. Learning the latest skills and combining those with their knowledge of older platforms and techniques when required can help older pros to not just stay current but lead. Seeking out new projects and roles ensures one keeps learning new things. Veterans who are capable of doing original stuff with new technologies are unlikely to find themselves without work.



Reena Ghosh is an independent ghostwriter who writes promotional, developmental and explanatory content for individuals and businesses. She came to professional writing with work experience in financial services operations and corporate communication. Reena speaks three languages and hopes to learn Sanskrit.