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Career Trends for Older Workers in Tech

Baby Boomers appear to be in the minority at global tech companies such as Google, Amazon and Salesforce. According to PayScale’s analysis of employee data, the median age at all three of those companies is 30.

Tech companies might be missing out on what workers over 55 have to offer. While some may not think older workers are a good fit for the booming tech industry, Maggie Leung disagrees. Currently the VP of content at NerdWallet, she said in a 2015 interview with Fast Company that she seeks experienced hires, which “…tends to include older people, because they often spent years working to reach that level.”

For older workers who want to break into the tech industry, what jobs should older workers look for, and where should they apply?

What Jobs Are Right for Older Workers?

Older workers should use their workplace wisdom, job experience and soft skills to their advantage, and seek leadership and project management-type positions. A 2017 report from Indeed.com revealed top job titles that seem to be more attractive to Boomers. They are twice as likely to click on the following tech jobs compared to Millennials:

  • Engineering project manager
  • IT project manager
  • Voice engineer
  • Technical sales engineer
  • Engineering lead
  • OPS engineer
  • Computer operator

And three times more likely to read a description for:

  • Principal software engineer
  • Storage engineers
  • Telecommunications engineer

Where are Older Workers Applying?

Despite being underrepresented in some of the biggest companies in IT, Baby Boomers are still targeting Silicon Valley for their next career move, according to the Indeed report.

The survey’s top two choices mirror what Millennials and Gen X workers are searching for. However, the remaining cities provide some insight into the types of technology companies Baby Boomers may be applying for.

Below are the top 10 cities where older workers searched for IT jobs.

  1. San Jose, CA
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Huntsville, AL
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Raleigh, NC
  8. Minneapolis, MN
  9. Durham, NC
  10. Washington, DC

According to Indeed, some tech companies that do not personify the new generation’s definition of tech are located in some of these cities. For example, Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and defense tech company, and Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, have a presence in Huntsville, Alabama.

Career Tips for Older Workers in IT

While there are several resources for job seekers to improve resumes, cover letters and help people prep for interviews, here are some tips specifically for older workers:

  1. Age proof your resume by only emphasizing your most recent and relevant experience for the job. Remove older positions and college graduation dates.
  2. Never stop learning. The IT industry continues to evolve. It’s important to stay relevant and keep your skills current. One opportunity could be to return to school and earn a degree or certificate in information technology to stay ahead of emerging technologies.
  3. Become a leader. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and gaining leadership experience can set you apart from other candidates. Leadership can mean anything from managing an entire team to overseeing a project, or even becoming involved in mentorship programs in your personal or private life.
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