What do people in the IT industry do when they reach the age of 40-45 years?

Shelf life of people in IT industry is pretty small as compared to one would have thought in late 1990’s and early 2000’s. During those times we used to see people in late 50’s under active employment in IT industry and holding senior management position. This led us to believe that a career which starts at 22 lasts till 62.

However given the speed at which IT itself has changed in past 20 years, for majority of us it gets hard to survive post 42. You may not be young enough to have energy to work 16 hrs a day or fresh enough to have same grasp of programming fundamentals as you had 20 years back.

So career usually ends by the time you reach 40’s. You may not be productive enough for companies to hire you for a programming role. The mid/top management positions are increasingly becoming fewer and fewer so there may not be many opportunities left for you by that time.

So by the time people reach 40, they probably do one of the following:

  1. Hold on to their management role. This does require lot of soft skills.
  2. Become consultant in an advisory role. This again depends on your people skills.
  3. Become consultant in a technical role. This entails that you are hands on programming and have kept yourself abreast with changing times.
  4. Be relevant in your organization. It again depends on your organization, if it is a tech focus company with ample opportunities to try different things and make money doing it, you have an easier time. These are typically product based companies. However if its mostly a service provider, being relevant gets difficult.
  5. Finally you somehow did realize that your shelf life would only be till early 40’s. You have planned your financials that way and saved enough to retire by 40, and did plan for some alternatives which you would enjoy doing and also make some money from it.
  6. Kept up with trends. Dozen’s of previous co-workers of mine dropped out of IT in the mid 90’s, clinging to mainframe programming, and not finding work after being outsourced, but then again, now mainframe programming is a sought-after skill, if you’ve been able to keep a job in the meantime. For the most part, you’d be stuck in banking/insurance /government domains, though

So yes if you are sure you can be relevant in 40’s there is a stable career ahead, otherwise plan in such a way that you can retire by that time. Whatever your options may be you need to plan that in your late 20’s.

Ref: Quora


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