While many industries value experience and age in employees, the IT field is a bit different. New technologies emerge every day, and a younger perspective is necessary. However, this does not mean that older employees must be shut out of the industry. In order to overcome stereotypes about age in the IT field, consider the following:
Realize that some of it is made up
Older employees in the tech field may actually be more sensitive to their age than they should be. While a younger perspective is certainly valued, this does not mean that an older employee is past their prime and should give up. Don’t trick yourself into believing that IT is only a young person’s game. There’s room for all people, so long as you stay up to date on the latest trends and have the skills necessary to excel.
Don’t draw attention to it
In an interview, harping on the age issue may make things worse. Instead of wasting precious time with a hiring manager talking about age, drive home the valuable skills and experience that you bring to a table. A hiring manager won’t really care if you’re 25 or 65, as long as you know the necessary programs and have the drive to do well. Your knowledge base is far more important than the date of birth listed on your driver’s license.
Always stay up to date
Any professional in the IT field must remain up-to-date and aware of current trends, but this becomes even more important for older people. Constantly read articles and blogs about the field, talk with people about the technology they’re enjoying, and give new systems a try for yourself. This field changes at a rapid pace, so keeping up is a must.
Focus on what separates you from the competition
If you think tech is a young person’s game, think again. An employee who has years of experience in the field can use this to show why they’d be a great fit for an open position. If you’re an older employee, don’t be ashamed. Instead, embrace the experience you’ve had and the things you’ve accomplished. Make them known and use them to show a potential employer just what you have to offer. Remember, there are benefits to being older too.
Have you dealt with stereotypes in the IT field? How have you overcome them?