The average age of a respondent to an Indeed.com career change survey was 39. Of those surveyed, nearly half have made a dramatic career change. Almost two-thirds said they were thinking about a career switch.
By the time most professionals reach 40, they’re ready for a change to make more money or find a more satisfying occupation. Alternatively, change may be thrust upon them if their jobs are outsourced or become obsolete. Fortunately, more career choices are available now than there were 20 years ago, particularly in technology. A midlife career change is not unprecedented.
That’s not to say it’s easy to do.
Why Is It Harder To Change Your Career at 40 Than at 20?
At 20, you had few obligations, like supporting a family or paying a mortgage. At 40, you need stability because you may have children and other financial responsibilities. Disrupting your family life to do something new is frightening for many, particularly if you think your income or savings will take a hit.
Unfortunately, another issue is age bias, despite anti-ageism laws meant to protect older workers. More than 18,000 age discrimination complaints were filed in 2017.
Despite these potential obstacles, you can make a successful career transition at 40 with the proper preparation.
The Benefits of a Career Change at 40
Changing your career at 40 often provides a refreshing change to your life. Educating yourself for a new role in technology, for instance, can expand your career options, provide a higher salary, and improve job security.
For Daniel Shapero, SVP and chief business officer at LinkedIn, a career change resulted in a better line of work than his old job.
With so many flexible education options, such as online courses and bootcamps, it’s easier than ever to change careers, no matter your age.
10 Ways to Reinvent Your Career at 40
Here are 10 tips for making the shift into a new career in technology that can provide you with renewed inspiration through your 40s and beyond.
1. Determine why you’re considering a new career
Most people want to change careers for one of the following reasons:
- Unhappy in the current job (81%)
- Need more flexibility (79%)
- Desire more money (79%)
- Feeling unchallenged or dissatisfied (78%)
- Want advancement opportunities (77%)
2. List your current skills
Write down the skills you’ve gained over the years. Focus on transferable skills and skills you’re willing to build. Then consult online sites such as O*NET to find careers that require those skills and get ideas of the kinds of jobs you might like.
If you come from a profession requiring highly detailed work, you might make a great data analyst.
3. Look into educational opportunities
Technology classes abound. Springboard offers courses to get you started in a new career in data science, UX design, project management, and more. Many programs are offered as bootcamps, six-to-nine-month online courses that provide hands-on experience and build a portfolio.
4. Leverage military skills
Are you a veteran? Your military skills are valuable to many employers. They may provide a boost into a civilian career that’s in high demand. Were you in charge of security? You might like a career in cybersecurity.
5. Take note of musical skills
You might not have considered that your musical talents could translate well into a career in data science. Few people realize that music is a mathematical skill—and strong math skills are required for data engineering roles.
6. Seek support from Family and friends
You don’t need to do this alone. Your friends and family can have excellent ideas about the type of work you’d enjoy. Loop them into your plans and ask for their feedback, since the changes you’re aiming to make will impact them as well.
7. Rebrand yourself
Your old brand stays behind with your old career. Create the new you in professional profiles on social media sites like LinkedIn. Keep your profile current with the new skills you learn and state what type of openings you’re looking for.
8. Try it out
You don’t have to jump in with both feet. Test the waters with an adult internship or part-time freelance work in the field you’re considering before you pursue a new full-time role.
Another option is to take a free online course in the area you want to study.
9. Get help
Take advantage of the assistance available to you, including:
- Career coaches
- Mentors from your new area of interest
- Resources from the library and internet
- Professional associations
Educational and career resources you’ve used in the past may be an excellent place to start.
10. Be kind to yourself
Self-care may seem like a buzzword, but you need to take care of yourself so you can pursue your new career path while maintaining a family and work life. Springboard students understand what it’s like to combine classes, work, and family.
Whenever you feel like you’re losing steam, remind yourself that soon, you’ll come out on the other side with a new job and a new sense of career satisfaction.
Are you ready to take control of your future?
Browse Springboard’s many Career Tracks to find the right fit for you. Unsure of where your skillset is leading you? Take the Career Assessment Test to find the right career path for your experience, interests, and skills.