8 Best Tech Jobs for 40-Year Old Career Changers
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Although acute lifestyle changes during and after the pandemic have caused many employed Americans to reevaluate their career trajectories, it can be confusing and frightening to carve a new career path after several decades in the workforce.
With plentiful job prospects, accessible job training options, and high-paying entry-level work, the tech field can present excellent options if you're looking for a career change.
Why Start a New Career in Tech at 40?
Changing careers requires a great deal of consideration and risk-reward analysis. Many tech jobs are well-paying and in high demand, making them comparatively ‘safe' choices for midlife career changers looking for more financial stability.
Growing technology sectors have increased the demand for tech professionals within specific roles and specializations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs for web developers will grow by 13%, while the number of jobs for technical writers will grow by 12%.
Additionally, jobs for software developers are projected to grow by 22%, dwarfing the national average job growth rate of just 8% for all occupations. Training and education requirements can be one of the most significant deterrents for people looking for a career change.
Fortunately, many tech roles do not require people to have a specific degree: Bootcamps and accelerated associate degree programs can provide more streamlined avenues to tech careers.
Find the Right Tech Bootcamp For You
Career Change at 40: The 8 Best Tech Jobs
The following tech jobs are generally well-paying and in high demand. These can be excellent options for professionals over 40 who hope to work in the tech industry.
1. Web Developer
Web development may be a logical avenue for people who have worked in digital publishing or graphic design.
Web developers do not always need college degrees and may gain necessary skills through non-degree programs like bootcamps or professional certifications, though some companies may prefer developers to hold relevant bachelor's degrees.
Median Salary: $77,200
2. Data Analyst
Data analysts draw meaningful insights from raw data. These professionals typically use specialized software systems and scripting languages to synthesize large volumes of data.
They often work closely with management professionals and stakeholders to inform business decisions with empirical evidence like e-commerce traffic or advertisement views and identify relevant patterns. Data analytics may be a good fit for people with a background in business, finance, statistics, or mathematics.
Payscale reports entry-level data analysts who have been working in the field with one year of experience earned an average of about $58,050 per year, so career changers can start earning above-average salaries early on.
Average Salary: $63,440
3. UX/UI Designer
User experience designers work alongside software developers, analysts, and other professionals to create user-friendly interfaces. They assist in the development of tech products, including softwares and mobile applications, ensuring that they are intuitive and enjoyable for consumers.
They may create prototypes and make modifications based on product testing. UX designers typically work with programming languages like CSS, HTML, and Adobe Suite to create and modify their designs.
Though some employers require UX designers to hold bachelor's degrees in tech-related areas, other organizations may hire bootcamp graduates with well-developed portfolios.
Average Salary: $76,270
4. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing specialists oversee their organization's online visibility and marketing strategies. These professionals monitor metrics of visibility and growth alongside those of the company's competitors, using patterns such as web traffic and user engagement to shape advertising content.
They research potential online advertising platforms and determine the potential ROI of various marketing campaigns. Digital marketing specialists should have a strong understanding of Google Analytics, social media, and SEO.
However, the fundamental principles of digital marketing overlap considerably with those of traditional marketing and advertising, and professionals in these fields may need minimal training to transition into digital marketing roles.
Average Salary: $51,090
5. Web Designer
Similar to web developers, web designers use code to build websites. However, designers typically determine a site's visual and UX elements like graphics, font, color scheme, tools, and multimedia.
Web designers optimize site functionality through debugging and other problem-solving procedures. The BLS projects that the number of roles for digital designers will grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030.
Although web design is technical in nature, it can be a good fit for people with a background in more creative areas like graphic design.
Average Salary: $52,420
6. Digital Product Manager
Digital project managers oversee the evolution of tech products, conduct long-term product roadmaps, and envision the introduction of new features and updates.
These professionals may work collaboratively with teams of software developers, UX designers, marketing personnel, and IT specialists. Digital project managers also oversee user research studies to determine consumer needs and use those to inform product modifications.
This career can be a great fit for individuals with a business background interested in adopting a technical understanding of digital products. Digital project managers typically need a bachelor's degree in information systems, computer science, or business.
Average Salary: $85,100
7. Software Engineer
Software engineers often communicate with stakeholders and quality assurance analysts to assess users' needs and build products based on consumer demand. They may also lead teams of coders and programmers to develop and modify products.
These professionals must hold bachelor's degrees in relevant areas like computer science or information technology.
Median Salary: $110,140
8. Technical Writer
Technical writers compose technical pieces that accompany digital products or devices, such as li how-to guides, instruction manuals, assembly instructions, FAQs, and journal articles.
They often collaborate with developers to communicate product information in an accurate, accessible way. Technical writing typically requires a bachelor's degree in English or journalism and can be a great path for people with a background in writing or communications.
Average Salary: $78,060
How to Change Careers at 40
People from all professional backgrounds can enter lucrative and in-demand tech careers. You can choose appropriate careers through a variety of training avenues.
With a Degree
Changing careers at 40 is usually less tricky if you already have a college degree. Many technology jobs require at least an associate or bachelor's degree, even if candidates' areas of study are not directly tech-related.
These individuals may still need to take courses, complete certificates, or build digital portfolios to kickstart their career changes.
College graduates who are interested in earning an additional degree while changing careers often have an easier time as they may be able to use previously earned credits to fill general education requirements and may qualify for accelerated programs.
Without a Degree
Changing careers can be a bit more difficult without a degree. However, non-degree training programs like bootcamps or professional certifications can help you pivot your career.
You can complete bootcamps in areas like coding, UX design, web development, cybersecurity, and data science.
You should also focus on building a strong portfolio to demonstrate your skills and credentials. Fortunately, many employers are open to hiring bootcamp graduates without relevant college degrees.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jobs in Tech
Is 40 too old for a career change?
40 is absolutely not too old for a career change. Numerous careers offer ample opportunities for midlife career changers.
In some cases, professionals who have worked for some time might have more resources to pay for postsecondary training or education and may have more options than they did at 18.
Furthermore, people who have spent some time in the workforce can have better insights about their professional strengths, weaknesses, and interests than less experienced workers and may make more informed decisions about their career trajectories.
Is 40 too late to go to college?
Pursuing a four-year degree at 40 can be challenging. Many midlife career changers have to balance school with more professional and family obligations than recent high-school graduates.
Grads who go back to college in their 40's also tend to have less time to ‘work their way up' to well-paying positions and tend to be more risk-averse when considering the job prospects associated with their degree areas.
However, tech-related degrees tend to offer a better ROI than other degree areas; even recent graduates can find entry-level tech jobs that pay well. Since many tech jobs are in high demand, college graduates have a better chance of finding gainful employment immediately after graduation.
Which tech job is right for me?
Many career changers choose professional trajectories that reflect their previous experiences; freelance writers or copywriters may be interested in technical writing, graphic designers may pursue web design, and business managers may enjoy digital product management.
Education requirements can determine the accessibility of certain roles. Not all working professionals are equipped or willing to pursue an additional four-year degree to pursue roles like software engineer or software developer.
However, people might be able to land UX design, digital marketing, or web development jobs through bootcamp training, professional certifications, and portfolios.
Feature Image: Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision / Getty Images