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Don't Let Age Mothball Your IT Career

Age is only a number. Don't let a high number cancel your career.

Experience matters, even in the rapidly changing IT industry. Unfortunately, some hiring managers place youth before experience.

There's a joke that claims an IT hiring manager's ideal job candidate is someone under the age of 30 with at least 20 years of experience in emerging technologies. While that's not possible, it does seem to open the door for established IT professionals who know how to apply past knowledge and insights to address cutting-edge challenges.

A senior IT worker's key asset is their unique perspective and experience. "This often allows them to make more informed decisions than their younger counterparts," says Paris Evangelou, an IT specialist at managed service provider Syslogic.

Remaining competitive requires staying current with new technologies and methods, Evangelou says. "Carve out learning time every day and prioritize the most relevant topics to avoid taking on too much information," he advises. "The industry continues to fracture into granular and specialized areas, so take this into account when creating your personal learning plan."

Laura Schneer, CEO of career advisory firm Career Boost, agrees that it's important to keep pace with evolving technologies and related business practices. "This can be achieved through online courses, certifications, attending industry conferences, and networking with peers," she says.

Be careful not to get stuck in a rut, advises Caroline Renn Weitzel, head of talent and transformation at IT staffing and project services firm Experis. "In a rapidly moving industry, IT pros who spend significant time at a single company or role can end up with outdated skills," she warns. "This reality may disproportionally impact professionals who have built long careers in a specific company or technology."

Tech employers often look for candidates who can hit the ground running, Weitzel says. "This means recent experience in whatever current technology they're using is a priority," she notes. Keeping pace with in-demand technologies and highlighting any experience and these areas in your resume and interviews is critical to employment success, Weitzel advises.

Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek.

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