Marketing & HRNew career opportunities: challenges posed by the IT industry for individuals over 50

New career opportunities: challenges posed by the IT industry for individuals over 50. Transition to IT and career changed after 50.
Ewa Sadowska
Ewa Sadowska

HR & Administration Manager

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. III. SUMMARY
  3. Insights from HR and EB in the IT industry

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Introduction

Careers at 50. Is it possible?

My career changed at 50, at the age of 56. That's when there was a change in my resume. I have chosen a new career path in the IT industry and career changes at 50 transitioned to a new career at 50 in a new profession. Many of you may consider this idea ridiculous and unrealistic at this age. Still, After two years of my new career, I can't say that changing professions and industry career change was easy, but changing industries, starting a new profession, and discovering new things were definitely worth it.

This transition has allowed me to see the world from a different perspective. I have been able to look at things such as Agile work organization, the ability to manage my own schedule and working hours, the freedom to act, and the pleasure of working remotely from the comfort of my home without the hustle and bustle.

Working with young people has forced me to engage in various intellectual activities, encouraging me to broaden my interests in literature, film, and music. My brain works much more efficiently, allowing me to feel youthful.

I have learned to make better use of the benefits of information technology and artificial intelligence. I can now better and more effectively utilize the possibilities offered by the Internet as an unlimited source of knowledge with just a click.

This change has also affected my personal life. I can now dedicate more time to my gardening and cooking passions by eliminating commute time.

And of course, this job is not just an idea, but also tangible financial benefits. My remuneration rates far exceed the budgeted rates. My fiance is looking much better.

I. The IT Industry as a world of new opportunities

I believe that the IT industry offers not only new career opportunities, but also new opportunities for self-education and development of technical, communication, and other skills. By shaping my professional career and considering a new profession, I think that a career in the IT sector can provide a sense of satisfaction and work-life balance. It is an excellent job option those great for career changers, even after the age of 50.

Employment rates show that many people are career plans in the IT industry. Analyzing the results of reports and studies, it can be concluded that the attractiveness of the IT industry is greatly influenced by:

1. Money

According to a Grafton Recruitment survey, 90% of respondents indicated that ensuring satisfactory and stable finances determines their choice of employer. The IT industry provides the means to achieve this criterion. The average salary growth in this sector was 12% in 2023, with an average earnings of 11,427 PLN. The IT industry is also characterized by great transparency in presenting salaries. According to individuals considering a job change, indicating salary ranges consistently remains the most important element of an offer. What increases the employment rates?

2. Demand

A report by the Polish Economic Institute indicates that Poland still lacks 147,000 IT specialists to reach the EU average (4.5%) in terms of the share of IT employees among the overall workforce. The current staffing gap is estimated at 25,000. Working in IT is also gaining popularity among candidates for whom it was not their first educational path.

While it is still only 15%, it shows that the industry is becoming a holy grail for many. Its attractiveness has increased even more when it successfully navigated through the economic turbulence caused by the pandemic. Graduates in law, geography, or foreign languages are deciding to take programming courses to apply for roles in IT.

3. Work arrangements

When assessing the attractiveness of a job offer, 71% of job seekers take into account the possibility of choosing remote or stationary/hybrid work. This industry also has the flexibility to offer various forms of employment. The opportunity to work in the form of a B2B contract, which offers greater freedom, for example, in choosing the workplace and taxation model, influences entrepreneurial changing careers.

The IT work system is very flexible and offers several alternative employment models. It is attractive to employees with different preferences, and it is flexible in case these preferences change in the future. It offers the possibility of remote work, satisfying those who prefer hybrid work or prefer to work mainly from an office.

4. IT Organization Climate

In the IT sector, special attention is paid to building organizational culture. It often exhibits openness and a friendly attitude towards everyone in the organization. Interpersonal processes are free from prejudice. In many cases, there is a focus on systematic training, open discussions, workshops, and monitoring and resolving potential problems by identifying their source.

Anonymous satisfaction surveys are common tools used to diagnose employee satisfaction levels. IT companies provide an open work atmosphere, facilitate integration, and allow employees to build close relationships with most colleagues. Combined with a stable background, opportunities to collaborate on international projects, access to clients worldwide, favorable remuneration, and benefits packages, these companies are attractive places to work.

5. Benefits

The financial stability of the IT industry allows it to offer a wide range of benefits, which impact employees' professional lives. Benefits can take the form of:

  • Financial benefits, such as various types of bonuses, well-paid overtime, and occasional gifts.

  • Educational benefits include financing various training courses and development programs that help employees develop skills and broaden their knowledge.

  • Social benefits include various facilities such as private healthcare, insurance, trips, and conferences that aim to support employees in their daily lives. This group also includes gym or cinema memberships and points to be used on platforms such as MyBenefit.

6. Opportunities for Education

The IT industry supports career development by providing access to modern technologies and innovatively implemented projects. It improves the qualifications of employees through training opportunities and personal development. Additionally, it is not just a market for ICT-savvy individuals who have completed IT studies.

IT employees often have access to training platforms, and the ability to obtain certification in foreign languages, and the industry invests in courses and internship programs aimed at talent development and creating diverse teams that combine the skills of people with different levels of experience. This allows for the full utilization of the potential within a team and provides ample room for growth (learning from seniors for juniors sharing knowledge and developing mentoring skills for seniors).

The IT industry follows the principle that "employee development is an integral part of the development of the entire organization - only through continually expanding knowledge and acquiring new skills can it actively and significantly participate in technological progress."

7. The Possibility of Education

The IT industry supports career growth. It provides access to modern technologies and innovatively implemented projects. It enhances the qualifications of employees through training opportunities and personal development possibilities. And it is not just a market for those proficient in ICT technologies who have completed IT studies.

IT workers often have access to training platforms or the opportunity to obtain a foreign language certificate. The IT industry invests in courses and the implementation of internship programs aimed at talent development and the creation of diverse teams that combine the skills of individuals with different experiences. This allows for fully utilizing the potential of the team and provides immense space for development (junior employees through learning from seniors and seniors through sharing knowledge and developing mentoring skills).

The IT industry follows the principle that "Employee development is an integral part of the development of the entire organization - only through constantly expanding knowledge and acquiring new skills can it actively and significantly participate in technological progress."

8. Diversity of Tasks

There are and will be many career options, job offers, and solutions proposed by employers. Flexible job positions are created depending on the specifics of the company. In addition to specializations such as:

  • Programmer: web developer, software developer

  • Tester

  • Data processing specialist

  • UX/UI designers

    People can find employment in positions such as:

  • managers: Product Manager, Engineering Manager, market research manager,

  • Scrum master

  • Product owner

  • Data scientist

  • Business intelligence specialist

  • Virtual project manager

  • HR employees like myself

  • Data analysts and many others

  • financial planner

  • jobs in government

Some of these professions are on the border of various industries and require a combination of technical skills with transferable skills. Some require logical thinking, while others require creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Big Data, and cybersecurity are gaining increasing popularity.

II. Entering the IT Industry Career Path

There is a lot of information and articles dedicated to the topic of starting a new career path. They act as career changers, providing many tests that assess our main skills, technical abilities, transferable skills, and communication skills. These tests verify our suitability for the chosen career path and even provide guidance on which training courses and certifications to pursue in order to improve not only our technical skills but also to embark on a successful career in the IT industry. We notice that the IT job market is receptive, diverse, and offers many opportunities for growth.

Individuals aged 25-30 years old still make up the largest percentage group in the IT industry, accounting for about 34% of the IT market. As No Fluff Jobs analyzed in their recent research, IT is a highly popular industry, especially among women. This is likely because remote work is convenient, especially for women who are raising children, managing their households, or valuing their free lifestyle.

Two years ago, I experienced my own professional crisis, commonly referred to as burnout in the education industry, and life gave me the opportunity to start a new career path in the IT industry. I decided to change jobs for career changers quickly and started a new career in the IT industry. A mid-career individual in a new environment, especially in the IT field, provides new development opportunities, but it's important to be aware that this new industry, especially IT, poses challenges that require acquiring new skills and experiences.

Having realized through experience that "the same" doesn't mean "the same," I will try to focus on the skills that I believe are essential for someone who wants to consciously or unconsciously achieve a successful career change and embark on a new career in the IT industry, hoping that the knowledge I possess will be sufficient to perform tasks in a software company. Here are the principles you must prepare yourself for in the IT industry.

Entering the IT Industry Career Path

There are many sources of information and articles dedicated to the topic of starting a new career path. They function as career changers, providing various tests to assess our main skills, technical abilities, and communication skills. These tests verify our suitability for a chosen career path and even provide tips on which training courses or certifications to pursue in order to improve not only our technical skills but also to start a successful career in the IT industry. We notice that the IT job market is receptive, diverse, and offers many development opportunities.

Individuals aged 25-30 are still the largest percentage group in IT, accounting for approximately 34% of the IT market. As analyzed by No Fluff Jobs in recent research, IT is a highly popular industry, especially among women. This is probably due to the convenience of remote work, which is especially suitable for women raising children, managing households, or prioritizing their own lifestyle.

Two years ago, I experienced my own small professional crisis, known as burnout in the education industry, and life gave me the opportunity to start a new career path in the IT industry. A mid-career change in a new environment, especially in the IT field, offers new development opportunities. However, it is important to be aware that the new industry, particularly IT, poses challenges that require acquiring new skills and experiences.

From personal growth, I have learned that "the same" doesn't always mean "the same," I will pay attention to the skills that I believe are essential for someone who consciously or unconsciously wants to achieve a successful career change and start a new career in the IT industry, has a career change ideas hoping that the knowledge I possess is sufficient for performing tasks in a software company. Here are the challenges you need to prepare for starting a new job in the IT industry.

Openness and readiness for continuous learning

The reality of IT is a reality in which new technical skills and other competencies are constantly needed. When starting a career in IT, you must be open to change and a continuous learning process. Essential skills include adapting to variable conditions and dealing with stress. In the IT reality, we are forced to constantly stimulate creativity and have an agile approach to life. For me, regardless of the field you enter in the world of artificial intelligence, programmers, and testers, the key point is to answer at the beginning of this career the question: Are you aware of what you already know, what you can use from your technical knowledge and skills? The awareness of a successful career change is entering this world with the awareness of an endless path of education, further education, and self-education on all levels, including seemingly prosaic ones like:

1. The specific language of this industry

The faster you understand this language, the faster the world of IT will become understandable to you. Remember, it's not just about knowing English, but also understanding concepts related to project implementation using agile teams. I read that there is even a game on the market originally designed for the "Data Inspiration Through Innovation" conference, which took place in September 2021 in Wrocław and was presented as part of the workshop "How to build an agile organization".

This card game describes the IT process, teaches the IT language, the course of the process, and the role of individual team members. I haven't played this game and can't say how useful it is, but one thing I know for sure is that after two years of work and refreshing my knowledge of the English language by participating in a year-long online course, I still see my shortcomings and my colleagues constantly surprise me with new developer phrases. What can cause a slight career crisis?

2. Always ask. Overcome difficulty and say "I don't understand, I need help".

In a world of perfection, is admitting to your own imperfections good advice? I think so. Although you may not always encounter such wonderful and understanding bosses like me when entering the IT industry at age 50, who always listen to my concerns and recommend useful courses, sign me up for workshops, and support me in understanding the organizational structure and the functioning of unfamiliar applications. They encourage learning. If I don't know or understand something, I ask, I request clarification. It doesn't hurt. It's always worth asking and having conversations. Conversations with colleagues are the best way to supplement our knowledge and skills.

3. The perfect skill of being an "Internet digger".

Searching for information is a skill that we now learn in elementary school, but we often forget how important and useful it is in the process of professional development. From my own experience, I know that I have found many useful pieces of information, not only in the IT field, thanks to the Google browser. However, even here, technology has taken a step further, with a new challenge being the use of artificial intelligence in Internet searches. Knowledge of, for example, ChatGPT is crucial here. In this process, I am at the beginning of the road. At the moment, I have taken advantage of a free course on Prompting AI. It is the process of formulating and inputting textual prompts into an AI model to direct and shape the responses generated by it. This process is crucial for the effective use of language models because it allows the user to communicate with the model and obtain information or answers to specific questions.

4. The desire to acquire additional certifications.

I think that if you assume that by working in the IT industry, you will simply do your daily work well, in a few years, you will have a problem. You must constantly want to train and learn in order to keep up with the rest of the team. The skillful use of free webinars, online training, and language learning platforms, mainly for English, facilitates the pursuit of a new career path. It is also important to maintain contact with people with similar specializations and interests in order to exchange experiences and access interesting e-books and podcasts. Joining thematic groups on Facebook is a good idea. In my current role, I often use HR portals, e-books, and HR blogs. After two years in an HR manager position, I have gained the desired skills not only in terms of navigating HR applications but also in combining different functionalities of these applications to facilitate managing employee documentation and communication with employees and companies cooperating with the company. In this world, it is important to be proficient in using applications such as Confluence, Jira, Google Drive, and communication tools like Slack or LinkedIn, as well as being skilled in using a computer keyboard. Worth it personal development presented on my Linkedin and portfolio "

Digital and technical skills are essential in the world of IT, so you should be aware of your level of technical and digital competencies. What applications do you know and can you use? Can you handle cloud applications such as Google Workspace, MS 365, Atlassian family applications, and ChatGPT? Social media platforms are not just Facebook or Instagram, but also LinkedIn, whose importance has definitely increased in recent years. Thanks to new learning opportunities, we can develop ourselves, acquire new skills, and expand our intellectual horizons.

5. Ability to collaborate in a team

Individualism is valuable if it contributes to cooperation and the team's work. The emphasis is on the keyword "collaboration" where you, as an individual, can use your knowledge and skills in teamwork, where you need to trust the person you are working with to make your goals align with the team's goals and vice versa. Your attitude motivates not only yourself but also the team. The actions you take affect the team you work in; your unavailability reflects on the team's work. In this industry, it is the team, not the individual, that is responsible for the success or failure of a project, so mutual support and responsibility for team members are extremely important. However, collaboration does not exempt you from the ability to think analytically and independently, which helps in solving team problems together. Collaboration is not devoid of your individual knowledge and skills, as it only then contributes to the team's success, for which you are also responsible. Intercultural competencies are also important. It is diversity; it is working with people from different parts of the world. If you dream of working solo, this is not the industry for you. If cohesive collaboration to achieve a goal is what you seek, then IT is the place to be. Here, not only experts in their fields are required, but also motivated employees who can work in a group, build relationships, and have the ability to deal with conflicts.

Increasingly, companies invest in qualified employees who are responsible not only for performing tasks at a high level, but also have an impact on the development of other team members. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are more and more people in technical leadership or managerial roles in the market.

6. Remote work: comfort and requirements

Remote or hybrid work is the most common form of work in this sector. We need to be aware that this tempting form of work requires a lot of self-discipline. We need to realize that by moving into the IT environment, we become our own bosses and manage our own work time. We need to look at our ability to motivate ourselves. Can we organize our day so that we don't forget about professional tasks while at home, or conversely, become so engrossed in work obligations that we live only for work 24 hours a day? Organizing a workspace in such a way that it does not disrupt the lives of other household members and that other household members do not disrupt our work. From my own experience, I know that just like me and my husband, who work remotely, we need to isolate ourselves from each other to avoid interfering with each other.

What I have learned in the IT industry is planning daily tasks and presenting them clearly and precisely in meetings. In online meetings, there is not much time for long explanations, so the ability to listen attentively and formulate clear messages is important. Precision in formulating thoughts and deliberate sharing of information are also important.

In this industry, your knowledge of priorities in tasks and independence in setting a plan for the day are of great importance. By setting and planning tasks to be completed, you demonstrate initiative and creativity in problem-solving, and you can plan tasks in a clear and understandable manner.

7. Ability to identify with company values

Retirement to the IT industry, you must be aware that it is increasingly important for employees to be willing to identify with the values and goals set by the company. Employers are looking for people who can identify with the company because it affects job satisfaction and the overall atmosphere in the workplace. An individual who simultaneously achieves the company's goals and their own, believes in the rightness of decisions made within the organization, engages in its development, and builds strong relationships with colleagues is often seen as a potential leader by employers.

III. SUMMARY

The desired skills, abilities, and personal qualities that I mentioned are still perceived by many employers as a nice addition to a rich professional experience and technical skills. Still, I believe that they will increasingly have equal importance, not only in the IT field. IT technologies have never developed at such a dynamic pace as they do now. Every year we see innovations that not only revolutionize the IT industry itself but also impact the daily lives of almost all people in the world. Currently, we focus not only on producing more efficient hardware and software but above all, we seek solutions to utilize IT achievements in other areas of life.

The multi-dimensional development of this industry is indicated by the direction of modern technology development in 2023. On the website https://eskom.eu/blog/, the 5 most important directions are highlighted:

1. No-code and low-code: Programming using platforms that allow building applications from ready-made components without the need to write code, line by line. This can make software development more accessible even to non-programmers. No-code and low-code are not expected to replace programmers, but they will significantly speed up the software development process through partial automation.

2. Cybersecurity: The market will need an even larger number of highly skilled specialists who can defend companies against increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

3. Cloud Development: According to the Bulldog 2022 survey, 63% of IT employees use cloud services. Major cloud providers, such as Microsoft and Google, are competing to create new solutions and transfer an increasing range of services to the cloud environment. Managing complex cloud systems, which gather and process huge amounts of data, requires extensive knowledge of the environment, significant automation, and the use of agile solutions.

4. Data Analysis: Data analysts are needed in almost every industry, from banking and public administration to industries, medicine, education, and e-commerce. The number of job positions related to this field is expected to constantly increase, which is valuable information for individuals making career choices.

5. Artificial Intelligence in Machine Learning: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are another trend in IT for 2023. The ongoing digitization of many institutions and businesses generates the need to create technologies that facilitate data management and allow its utilization for business and marketing purposes. Therefore, AI and ML are gaining importance.

If you are looking for a career change or job satisfaction because your current career is not fulfilling and work organization overwhelms you, try it.

Is it too late at 50 or 60 years old? No - it is never too late. This is perfectly shown in the movie "The Interns" from 2013, which portrays two friends in their 40s, unemployed salesmen, taking their first steps into the world of Google. We can see how additional education from the younger generation and the mutual exchange of experiences bring success. In the movie "The Intern", an organized, bored, and retired widower Ben decides to change his life by starting an internship at an online clothing store. This new career move gives him the opportunity to experience new things.

You may say that these are just movie plots and not reality, but these stories are very close to reality. A job for career changers gives new meaning to life and opens up new professional opportunities.

As a retired nearly-teacher and school principal, I am starting an internship at a software company, changing my position from a school principal to an HR Manager. Everything is possible. Even in midlife, you can start new jobs and new career paths. I plan to continue developing my skills and gaining new experiences in order to achieve my future professional moves. In this new and hopefully career longevity, what is important to me is always having the support of loved ones, like the support I receive every day from my own sons.

My career change sign was burnout. You should consider if there are any signs in your life indicating the need for a career change. It is worth considering several factors that may suggest the need for change:

  1. Lack of satisfaction and motivation in your current job.

  2. Stagnation and lack of growth or advancement. You may feel stuck, and it might be worth considering a change to find a path that allows you to develop and achieve your career goals.

  3. Conflicts and dissatisfaction at work. If you frequently experience conflicts with colleagues or superiors, or if you are generally unhappy with the work environment, it may be a sign that it is time for a change and to find something that aligns better with your values and needs.

  4. Changes in personal life. Career changes are often driven by changes in personal life, such as new priorities, starting a family, or wanting to spend more time with loved ones. In such cases, a job that requires less time or offers more flexibility may be more suitable.

  5. Passion and interests. If you discover a new passion or interest that seems more attractive than your current profession, it may be a sign that it is time to search for a career that allows you to combine your interests with work.

It is important to carefully analyze your needs, goals, and values in order to make a well-thought-out decision regarding a career change. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the IT industry. Having conversations with loved ones and professionals, such as a career advisor, can also be helpful in this decision-making process.

Insights from HR and EB in the IT industry

Are you curious about the unique challenges and innovative solutions in HR and employer branding within the IT industry? At Mobile Reality, we're excited to share with you a wealth of insights from our experiences. Discover the problems we face, the strategies that drive us, and the creative ideas we implement in our HR and employer branding initiatives. Dive into our collection of related articles featured on our blog – a treasure trove of knowledge awaits you:

Enjoy exploring these insights. Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us. If you're interested in joining our dynamic team, explore the opportunities in our career section and submit your CV. We look forward to hearing from you!

Did you like the article?Find out how we can help you.

Matt Sadowski

CEO of Mobile Reality

CEO of Mobile Reality

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