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Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

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Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Old 07-09-18, 05:09 PM
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Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

So, I am taking the plunge and going back to school for a new career. I have been in the health care field for 26 years and done with it. I am going for cyber-security. I feel that is a better choice, I don't have to deal directly with annoying people anymore. Anyone else gone back to school for a new career later in life?
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Old 07-09-18, 05:27 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by lexx2.0 View Post
I feel that is a better choice, I don't have to deal directly with annoying people anymore. Anyone else gone back to school for a new career later in life?


buy a sports car, it'll be cheaper and more fun!

...are you prepared for the pay cut?
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Old 07-09-18, 05:47 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Most fields have annoying people. Their announce level depends on how happy you are at your job.
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Old 07-09-18, 05:47 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

[QUOTE=

...are you prepared for the pay cut?[/QUOTE]


If anything it will be about the same or more....I am not making big money, low person on the totem pole of medical jobs.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:04 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I thought this my wife trying to anonymously send me a message. I just turned 44 and I never finished college and it's starting to bother me a bit.

I've been at my current job for 20 years now, and am doing well, but it bothers me that I don't have a degree. I got in 3 passing semesters before burning out in the 4th due to personal reasons, and I always meant to finish. But I lucked into this current job and just kept getting promoted so I never put in the effort.

I guess I'd also like to be a better example for my son (11). My wife had also dropped out, but she went back and finished before she had him, but I just never got the head of steam needed to do it.

The other thing is, I wouldn't want to finish my old Business Administration degree, or anything like it to be honest. I don't think I would learn much at this point, so I would want a degree that meant something to me (like science fiction in society, or something).

Is there an online college I could do coursework, that isn't a total scam?
Am I crazy for even considering?
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Old 07-09-18, 06:08 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I have thought about starting a new career a thousand times, but I don't want to take the pay cut (even though I could afford it, I just couldn't see wasting 40+ hours of my time a week for half the pay)

There will be a pay cut since you do not have the same work experience in IT as you do in medical, you most likely can't start out in a new career on top.

but more power to you, I am jealous. My plan is to focus on retiring early instead of changing careers.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:22 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
I thought this my wife trying to anonymously send me a message. I just turned 44 and I never finished college and it's starting to bother me a bit.

Am I crazy for even considering?
College is not for everyone. If you do not attend college it does not mean you failed in life or you can't get to the top. You can. A degree don't mean shit much these days, that in itself is a scam.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:25 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I am in the tech field.

You don't need a degree for a cybersecurity job. You need certifications and real life experience (tough to get experience, without the job, I get it)

Real knowledge/experience/certs trump degrees all day long in technology.

That said, security expertise is the number one need in the tech field, and the open jobs grow by the day. The money is certainly there if you can get the experience.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:29 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by Sonic View Post
College is not for everyone. If you do not attend college it does not mean you failed in life or you can't get to the top. You can. A degree don't mean shit much these days, that in itself is a scam.
While my post directly above aligns with this, is it NOT true. MOST jobs today, have a "filter" of "Bachelor Degree Required". Doesn't matter what Bachelors, but todays online job application sites, dump your resume before anyone even sees it if you don't have a degree.

So you either need to know someone to get past the "filter" of the application process, or get extremely lucky. Every job I've applied for, had BA/BS required, and I got the job because I knew someone.

I am 54 and half way done with a BS in Applied Studies. It will take me about 8 years to complete the whole thing, doing it PT.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:33 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I am in the tech field.

You don't need a degree for a cybersecurity job. You need certifications and real life experience (tough to get experience, without the job, I get it)

Real knowledge/experience/certs trump degrees all day long in technology.

That said, security expertise is the number one need in the tech field, and the open jobs grow by the day. The money is certainly there if you can get the experience.
The place I am going has tons for certs...just not sure which ones are more important. Talking to an advisor next week so hopefully they help.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:36 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

It's your life, and you only live it once, so if you think a career change will make you more satisfied, you should go for it.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:46 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I encourage you to do it, if that's what you want. You'll probably work another 20 years, so might as well keep it interesting. I went back to grad school in my 40's. It was life changing for me since I was working as a legal secretary before and really struggling to earn enough to support myself. Be careful of student loans. I took out a lot thinking I'd be an SLP in schools and have public service loan forgiveness. Didn't work out that way, as I prefer working with the elderly. Just a warning that you might start with one plan and end up somewhere else.

Whether you take a pay cut or not sort of depends on what you do now, and what you end up doing in IT. Just looking at my husband and me, he has far more earning potential than I do, though we make the same rate. Medical jobs are flat with regard to pay scale, but IT has a lot more highs and lows.

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
While my post directly above aligns with this, is it NOT true. MOST jobs today, have a "filter" of "Bachelor Degree Required". Doesn't matter what Bachelors, but todays online job application sites, dump your resume before anyone even sees it if you don't have a degree.

So you either need to know someone to get past the "filter" of the application process, or get extremely lucky. Every job I've applied for, had BA/BS required, and I got the job because I knew someone.

I am 54 and half way done with a BS in Applied Studies. It will take me about 8 years to complete the whole thing, doing it PT.
I'm not sure how much that holds for computer jobs. Husband used to work for high frequency trading companies, and they had lots of people who had tech skills but no degree. Now he works at a university, and he feels only having a Masters and not a PhD probably limits him some. But the wall street job paid 3x what he makes now and the degree didn't matter, just the skills. I have a cousin who works for Tumblr who was pulled out of school because he got so many job offers. Don't think he ever finished.

Last edited by tasha99; 07-09-18 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 07-09-18, 08:27 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I think that's a great idea, getting out of health care right now, just before the shit really hits the fan, is a very good idea.

Cyber-security though might be tough... You'll have a LOT of competition from younger, much more aggressive Millenials who aren't married with kids, or settled down, and willing and able to work 80-hour work weeks for that $200k salary. But, good luck, and God speed.

And, you'll encouter shitty people in any profession. Maybe even more so in Cyber-security due to the youngish nature of the industry and its employees. But, of course, you'll not have any crying, entitled patients on your hands like you do in the medical field.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:32 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I am in the tech field.

You don't need a degree for a cybersecurity job. You need certifications and real life experience (tough to get experience, without the job, I get it)

Real knowledge/experience/certs trump degrees all day long in technology.

That said, security expertise is the number one need in the tech field, and the open jobs grow by the day. The money is certainly there if you can get the experience.
I've been working in cyber security for almost 6 years now. I work in Incident Detection and Response (think the folks chasing malware and advanced threat on a daily basis).

The above is mostly right. Except that a degree helps (it gets you past some automated H.R. filters). And where I worked for 15 years (Dow Chemical) they were very picky about needing a degree for a direct hire position. I know more than a couple of contractors that couldn't get hired in because they didn't have a degree. A lot of bigger companies are old-school about the requirements, or at least to get past the computer-based H.R. filtering process you need some college on there.

Not saying you need a degree. I spent 14 years changing majors and schools and graduated with a History B.A. and a minor in Computational Math (remnants of my other majors- engineering and then computer science). My boss has a degree in Forestry. The bossman on the Response team doesn't have a degree either, but he wrote a hunk of the open source Security Onion that many folks use for monitoring, so, not exactly a security or programming noob either.

You're not going to be able to just grab some certifications and hop into a decent cybersecurity job. Do you have I.T. experience or knowledge? That's going to make a big difference. You need to know stuff. You know what gets you past the interview? Not certifications. Do you know what DNS is and some basics about how it works? Firewalls / network ports? Things like that.

Most of the guys in security I know all started at some sort of helpdesk, and then on to server admin or network administration type roles. Most of us put in quite a bit of time in I.T. working shifts or doing a bazillion hours of oncall, etc.

Even the lower level guys on my team that I'm responsible for helping, training, answering questions, etc from mostly migrated from other IT jobs. Server admin, helpdesk, on site support, stuff like that.

Some spaces like vulnerability management or lower level security engineering jobs might be easier to slide into out the door, but I have less experience in those spaces.

I've seen a few people say "I'm going to get into security because it's hot right now!" but rarely get anywhere because they don't really know much about I.T. IMO most security gigs aren't entry level I.T., but a bit more up the food chain. Admittedly a couple of the guys here at GM where I work were college direct hires, so, it is possible, I guess.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 07-10-18 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:52 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I don't have a lot of experience in IT, but I am willing to work at it. It is something I have wanted to do for awhile, but now with the opportunity to do it, I am going to. I don't expect the high end jobs right away, I know you have to have experience and what not. I know I will be working for the next 30 years or so, so I figure why not do something I am more interested in.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:18 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

I just finished my first year of grad school at 39. Some of the classes have undergrads, it’s weird being in school with someone born in 2000.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:58 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
I just finished my first year of grad school at 39. Some of the classes have undergrads, itís weird being in school with someone born in 2000.
You ainít kidding. I went back three years ago just to finish an Associates. One girl said she just recently learned what a record player was.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:17 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

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Old 07-11-18, 10:26 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

It was weird for me going back to school at age 40- the average students there were born around the first time I'd gone to school there! After graduating I found having a degree DOES help (at my last temporary job, I got paid a bit more just because I had one) but it doesn't make jobs fall right into your lap. When my younger cousin graduated there were recruiters from accounting firms at the ceremony, but there weren't any at mine.
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Old 07-12-18, 01:05 AM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

As someone that has spent a lot of time reading resumes and interviewing a lot of people on the phone and in person in IT over the last year, for me degrees don't really matter and certificates just make me want to test you more to make sure you're just good at test taking and actually understand the concepts. That's just me personally, I care about what you know regardless of how you learned it, experience, and team fit.

Nothing wrong with a career change to something you feel like you'll enjoy more though.
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Old 07-12-18, 12:09 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
While my post directly above aligns with this, is it NOT true. MOST jobs today, have a "filter" of "Bachelor Degree Required". Doesn't matter what Bachelors, but todays online job application sites, dump your resume before anyone even sees it if you don't have a degree.

So you either need to know someone to get past the "filter" of the application process, or get extremely lucky. Every job I've applied for, had BA/BS required, and I got the job because I knew someone.

I am 54 and half way done with a BS in Applied Studies. It will take me about 8 years to complete the whole thing, doing it PT.
Unfortunately, even with a Bachelors degree you still need to know someone or get extremely lucky. That's probably the number one benefit of going to college: not the things you learn, which, in the tech field, usually are outdated by the time you graduate anyway, but the connections you make.

Think about how many people are entering the field because it's "hot." Even with a bachelors degree, how are you going to stand out? And even though nobody is going to admit it, there is usually a bias against age, they will go for the younger, more moldable recent college grad almost every time if experience in the field is the same.

If you can actually get to the step where you interview with the people who are actually going to work with you, your life experience will actually help, though.
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Old 07-12-18, 12:35 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Don't listen to anybody that says a degree does NOT help. I seen time and time again how people with vast amount of knowledge get passed on because they don't have a proper degree.
Even entry level jobs start higher with a degree.

Its like trying to win a race with a Volkswagen, sure you might make it allright, but you are already starting at a disadvantage
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Old 07-12-18, 12:43 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Make sure you join a fraternity to expand your ability to network after graduation.
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Old 07-12-18, 01:15 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Good for you for taking the leap. The more work you do ahead of the first day of class, the more you'll set yourself up for success. Work with your advisors, attend orientation, take a campus tour, email your professors to set up a 1:1 during office hours, pop into student life and ask what they have for commuters and/or non-traditional students, etc. Do it all now so you'll lower anxiety and up your confidence as you step into this new path.

I'm back in school for a third time as of this week and I turn 39 this month. 3 years after I wrapped up my Bachelor degree and had my first post-college job, I went back for a Master degree and used it for a career for a little while. It was great, but I felt a new call. I went back for a second Master degree 1 year later in my permanent vocation field. I'm having a blast, and it's funny how all 3 degrees have really dovetailed well for what I do now. Just last night, I returned from an orientation for a new certification in nonprofit management I'm doing to enhance my job skills. Really looking forward to it!

What I can tell you from 16 years straight as a student, staff, or faculty, plus re-entering as a part-time certification student, is that you get what you put into it. If you blow off class, you don't get much return. You work hard, you get a lot out of it. It's like anything in life. That said, it's tough to do it all and do it well. There has to be some picking and choosing (readings, etc.), and yet the more you put yourself in the driver's seat for this instead of letting your workload overwhelm you, the better.



Good luck, keep us posted.
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Old 07-12-18, 01:52 PM
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Re: Going back to school at 45...ie mid-life crisis??

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
As someone that has spent a lot of time reading resumes and interviewing a lot of people on the phone and in person in IT over the last year, for me degrees don't really matter and certificates just make me want to test you more to make sure you're just good at test taking and actually understand the concepts. That's just me personally, I care about what you know regardless of how you learned it, experience, and team fit.

Nothing wrong with a career change to something you feel like you'll enjoy more though.
I can't speak to small companies, but at big companies, we'll never see your resume if you don't have a degree to get past H.R. We only see the resumes that get to us through the computerized H.R. filters and then past the people in HR.

I'm not sure I can say that a specific degree matters, but A degree, preferably somewhat applicable, makes a difference.
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