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No idea what route to go, or what to do.

So I am currently working at a manufacturing company as a CNC Programmer and Machinist. I pretty much run my entire department and am the head programmer for CNC. Recently I decided to finally go back to school and finish my associates degree for my Computer Information Systems major. I ended up completing that a few months ago, I am 30 years old.

I decided my passions is and always was in the tech industry, and ended up with the job I have now just from needing to work and make money. Now at 30 years old as a CNC programmer making about 55k a year I fear it's too late to make the switch to networking. I picked up the CCENT book and have slowly been studying but after some reading I'm scared it's too late to jump into that career path, or if I do I'll take a big salary hit for a while. I guess I just want to know if there is any advice from anyone on this. Is it going to be tough? Will I take a big hit? I have bills to pay which a reduction of salary won't exactly help out. Sorry for this long rant! Just nervous about this whole situation.

19 comments
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CCNA10 points·8 days ago

I don't think you should be worried, at all, about being too old.

My humble suggestion would be 2 things. First, that this is a marathon, and not a sprint. Take some time to really learn networking, what parts of networking you enjoy, and think about where you want to end up. Second, that the biggest gains will come in building your personal network. Get to know some people who work in tech. People like to help and will help you out.

Cert wise, Get your CCNA and Sec+. That plus an associates and 10 years of solid work history including management should be good for a least a lateral move pay wise. Keep your current job and then wait for the right opportunity to come along. If you really want to kick ass, do some volunteer work someplace that needs some IT/networking.

Again, this is a marathon, not a sprint......

Original Poster3 points·8 days ago

This post actually did make me feel better about this all so thanks for that. My plan is to definitely take my time and get my CCNA, but you’re right I should try to network better with people who work in tech already.

Any suggestions where to start looking for volunteer work and what type?

CCNA3 points·8 days ago

I did volunteer work years and years ago at a national park. When i got an interview unrelated to the park but thru a personal connection, we spent a great deal of time talking about the work i was doing 5 or 10 hours a week at the park, and very little about my time in retail 40+ hours a week.

You could do some web work for youth sports, help w/ av and networking at a library, whatever, where ever. Ideally, a charity/org that you support. Again, just trying to get out there and solve problems. IT (at this level) is really about troubleshooting and gathering requirements - what is/or isn't working and what is the customer trying to do.

Finally, you might want to talk to a local IT recruiter. I (not a recruiter) would think CNC Programmer w/CCNA would be coming above helpdesk and into the entry level networking type jobs. They can give you feedback about what they are looking for, what is available locally, and what to expect.

Original Poster2 points·8 days ago

Thanks so much for the replies, seriously helped give me a better idea of what I can do

You're only thirty, that's not too late for anything.

CCNA5 points·8 days ago

NFL runningback, female gymnast, join the marines, be a member of the "27" club w/ Cobain and Hendrix.... getting old sucks.

CCENT3 points·8 days ago

Got my CCENT at 34, got the best job of my life within a year. I did take a salary hit, and it's not fun being an entry-level candidate again, but it's definitely worth it if you are following a passion.

On the upside, you will have an edge against all the other CCNA students because you already know how to hold a job.

WGU-BSIT-Sec3 points·8 days ago

i'm 44 and just now working on my under grad and ccent. Age is relative. You can do anything you decide to do. take the step and do it.

I am 40 and am starting over in IT. I was involved in it professionally, and finished the training for the CCNA in 03, but never took the test, and then some personal things took me out of the entire industry for 15 years. It's very daunting being the help desk guy at this age. It's good to know that others are in this age range and just starting

WGU-BSIT-Sec2 points·8 days ago

it is 100% doable. plus we come from a generation that knows how to be on time and bathe on a regular basis.

This comment made my day.

Frame of reference. I didn't become a network engineer until I was 42. Didn't even get into the field until I was 37. You'll be fine.

Just 'cause it ain't in my flair doesn't mean I don't have certs2 points·8 days ago

Honestly, I'd do whatever your routing protocol tells you to do. They're pretty good at this stuff!

(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

A network related joke! Never seen one of them before!

Got any more??

I'm using UDP to send this mes

Just 'cause it ain't in my flair doesn't mean I don't have certs1 point·8 days ago

Ping me later and I'll tell you some more.

CCNP R&S1 point·8 days ago

Not even close to "too late"

CCNA, Security+, Network+1 point·8 days ago

What route? How about just start at the next hop and go from there?

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