Making a career change at 40 is never easy. Giving up on your current career can feel like a huge risk as you leave behind what you know for something new. But, having the right career change advice at 40 can make the transition easier. If you find a career that’s right for you it can be an exhilarating and life-changing journey.
If you are looking for a tech career change at 40, then this guide will help you succeed. We provide details on the types of jobs you can look for, when to consider leaving your current position, and how to change your career at 40 with no degree.
Why Start a New Career at 40?
The hope for a better work-life balance, higher pay, or a more fulfilling career path are the most common reasons people change careers at 40. You may also choose to leave your may current role to pursue a passion or expand your professional skillset. Many people also realize that they just picked the wrong careers.
22 percent of US workers have considered a career pivot since the pandemic, with most of them being millennials. About 21 percent were between the ages of 40 and 49. Altogether, the average age of career switchers is 39.
Signs You Need a Career Change at 40
How do you know when it’s time to consider a career change? Below, we list the most common signs to look out for.
- Sunday scaries. The anxiety and dread you feel on a Sunday evening when you think about the upcoming workweek.
- Daydreaming. You often daydream about a new job.
- Stress. Work stress affects your health, wears you out, and causes your productivity to drop.
- Salary. Your income does not compensate for your dissatisfaction in your career.
- No future. You do not see a future in your present career.
How to Change Careers at 40
You need a plan to change your career at 40. It is not a quick or an easy transition but adequate planning will help prevent a messy outcome. Read on, and follow our step-by-step guide on how to change careers at 40.
Step 1: Identify Your New Career
When you feel ready for a career change, it’s time to identify your new career. The best place to start is with a self-evaluation. Figure out what you disliked about your former career and try to identify why you are seeking a new one. Then, conduct extensive research to determine which path best fits you.
You must evaluate the training demands, job prospects, and average or median salary of your new career. Once you have identified what you want to do, it’s time to start the preparation.
Step 2: Prepare Your Finances
Often, career switches require a lot of time, money, and emotional investment. You must have enough money to cover your living expenses throughout your training and job search. This can be as simple as setting up a savings account and tightening your budget.
If you have a partner who is working, they might be able to increase their hours to help with the financial burden and allow you the time to find the right career. You might have to forfeit vacations and cut down on frivolous spending to get through this transition period. But if you plan ahead and prepare your finances you won’t have any difficulties.
Step 3: Obtain New Skills
Preparing for a new career may involve additional training and reskilling. For a 40 year old, the idea of going back to college and having to start over might be off-putting. But, you can opt for a non-traditional learning path, such as vocational training, trade schools, or coding bootcamps, which are faster to complete.
Furthermore, you must be willing to put in the work and show dedication. Completing projects, internship programs, or online courses are a great way to polish your skills, get quality industry experience, and boost your portfolio.
Step 4: Network
Networking is key to a new career. You must develop a new network of people who can help you on your journey. Besides, a good network will play an essential role in your job-search process.
Use your recent career change as a way to connect with new people. Then, you can expand your network to include mentors, industry experts, and other career changers. The best way to do this is by attending networking events, joining professional trades, or doing volunteer work.
Step 5: Rebuild Your Resume
The ultimate goal of switching professions is to get a job in line with your new career path. Now that you have completed your training and are ready to launch a new career, it’s time to update your resume. Since you are a career switcher it is best to write a functional resume rather than a chronological one.
While a chronological resume details your job experience in an orderly arrangement, a functional resume focuses more on your skills and how you have improved and used them over the years. Your resume should also include a profile summary, contact information, and work experience.
How to Change Careers at 40 with No Degree
If you don’t have a degree, don’t worry, there are still plenty of options for you. For example, coding bootcamps retrain people for the tech world and help them get high-paying jobs. The following tips will show you how to change careers at 40 with no degree.
- Highlight your strengths, weaknesses, and develop transferable skills.
- Opt for careers that allow you to learn on the job.
- Get necessary training from free online resources, coding bootcamps, or vocational programs that do not have a college degree prerequisite.
- Get work experience through internships, volunteering, and capstone projects.
- Build your resume around your skills and adapt them to the job you are applying for.
Best Careers to Transition into at 40
|Expertise in web development, a strong portfolio, excellent communication skills
|Attend a project management course, certification, leadership skills, communication skills
|Human Resource Manager
|Attend a human resource management course, certification, leadership skills, communication skills
|Expertise in web development, related professional experience, a strong portfolio, excellent problem-solving skills
|Complete a digital marketing training course, strong portfolio, marketing skills, communication skills
High Paying Jobs That Are Great for Career Changers: A Closer Look
Software engineers are IT professionals who apply the principles and concepts of engineering to software development. This is a great option for career changers because you can train to become a software engineer in six months to a year by attending a coding bootcamp or course.
It won’t be long before you master vital technical and soft skills and start looking for a job as a software engineer. Employers often focus on programming, problem-solving, and communication skills when hiring.
Project managers oversee the day-to-day running of a project. They plan the execution of projects within specified budgets and deadlines. They schedule tasks for various team members and ensure the quality and timely delivery of all tasks.
To succeed in this career path, you must have excellent leadership, organizational, communication, and critical thinking skills. While you do not need a college degree, you must obtain relevant training and appropriate project management certifications. You may also pursue your project management career across various industries, which is ideal for career changers.
Human Resource Manager
Human resource managers are typically responsible for hiring, compensating, and terminating employees. They ensure that all employees meet the company’s policies. There are several ways to acquire adequate training.
While you can pursue a college degree in human resource management, many online courses are available to prepare you for a promising HR career. Getting relevant certifications and developing interpersonal skills are vital requirements for human resources roles.
Web developers use programming languages to create functional and user-friendly websites. Like many other tech careers, you can pursue your training via nontraditional learning paths. Hence, you are likely to get a job if you have a strong portfolio and relevant certifications. With over 36 percent of web developers aged 40 and older, this is ideal for a midlife career change.
If you have a flair for creativity and problem solving, this career path may be right for you. Depending on your preferences, you may choose to freelance, get a full-time job, or establish your own web development company.
Digital marketers promote products and services through digital channels, including social media, email, and blogs. Establishing a successful career in digital marketing will require you to master relevant skills in SEO marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and content marketing.
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This career path is future-proof, always in demand, and often allows you to work remotely. Though there are no prerequisite qualifications, you may learn through the numerous courses and programs available online. After your training, you can choose to be an entrepreneur or get a job working on a digital marketing team.
Is It Too Late to Make a Career Change at 40?
No, it is not too late to make a career change at 40. There are plenty of career options at 40 if you are willing to put the work in and make a plan. However, it won’t be easy. Starting over, the uncertainty of finding a new job, and learning an entirely new skill set are some of the challenges you will face.
People often think there is an age-based discrimination at 40. This is untrue. Being a career switcher at 40 puts you at an advantage. You have experience, a strong network, several soft skills, and transferable skills. Remember, it is never too late to achieve career happiness.
Career Change at 40 FAQ
A career in tech does not require a college degree. Therefore, there are many options available to you. They include web development, data analytics, network engineering, cyber security analyst, UI/UX design, DevOps engineering, network engineering, and product management.
You must save enough money to cover the time you spend training and searching for a new job. You must do your research, choose a learning path, and prepare yourself mentally by taking free prep courses. Finally, you must debunk all fears and keep a positive attitude.
If you wish to establish an entrepreneurial career, there are numerous options available. These include event planning, real estate broker, sales, writing and proofreading, financial adviser, and many more. Some more IT-related options are web development, UI/UX design, and cyber security analyst, among many others.
Being a career changer at 40 does not stop or limit your chances of getting hired. It gives you an edge because of your background, professional experience, and already established network. Like every other age group, you need a strategic job search plan, a strong resume, and excellent interviewing skills.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.