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Re: Re: [ljc] To old to learn new tricks!!!

From: Matt P.
Sent on: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 9:13 PM

I'm also in my forties. I made switch into Technology in my late twenties. Even now, I am pursuing potential careers (just as hobbies for now) in electronics, neurological research and fine art!! I also know several other people who successfully made these kind of career switches in their forties. It's very much achievable.

I personally wouldn't go for formal degree at my time of life, because of the heavy time commitment. You need to commit at least 8 hours a week to a degree.

However, if you're prepared to put in that commitment, then a few tips. Apologies, if I'm duplicating things already said by others:

- if you have a BA, go for MSc not BSc, and don't go for the foundation (entry-level) type of MSc, go for the advanced one
- ask potential universities, when they last updated the course. This can be on a 5 year cycle. If you are on wrong end of that cycle, you may be disappointed that certain emerging trends or technologies are not taught or skimmed over.
- you can try courses out over the summer with a 'short course'
- consider evening courses. They often have a higher percentage of 'mature' students so you will find kindred spirits
- if you are not a UK citizen, look very carefully at the 'foreign student' fee structure. They can be five times the UK one.
- look at the university's commitment to academic-commercial bridges. Birkbeck, QMUL, UCL, City, OU, Cambridge, Oxford, among many others, have such opportunities to help you get involved in research that has a potential commercial use. Look at the type of research they specialise in, and see if it is something you are interested in. If so, and you're prepared to put in even more time, you can get involved early, and it will add a very specialist edge to your CV
- check with your current career if they will actually pay your way
- finally, don't start from the bottom of the industry. Take the attitude that you expect at least a 5k salary raise after shifting careers. Use your transferable skills, and identify the emerging technologies (which have a more level playing field) to justify that.

Best regards

From: Richard Conroy [mailto:[address removed]]
Sent: Tuesday, February 12,[masked]:14 PM Eastern Standard Time
To: [address removed] <[address removed]>
Subject: Re: Re: [ljc] To old to learn new tricks!!!
   I know many people who made or are making career switches into technology and development.

There is no age ceiling on it.

What makes people succeed at it, is their determination to stick at it and learn the skills. This comes to you best from actively programming and finishing software.

Theory is useful at certain stages, but it is no substitute. 

Work through actual coding exercises, and try different languages until you arrive at one that suits your ability to make progress. Always type up the examples, and run them yourself, it is much more important than just reading the code.

Regardless of what long term solution you think of (in terms of certs, full time education), actively programming is key.

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