Career-switching in your 50s: Please share your experiences
December 12, 2013 1:50 PM Subscribe
I'm 52 and thinking about investing in a Masters Degree to learn computer forensics. I'd be interested to hear from people to attempted a career left-turn that late, and also from people in this field re: the feasibility of my goals.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My career to date has been (early on) offline marketing/advertising, and then internet marketing since about 1995 or so. For me this has meant managing corporate websites, digital branding, content management, etc in a corporate setting.
Being 52, I look ahead at the next 10 or 15 years and feel like I will probably have to, and will probably want to, keep working. But it's unlikely I would/could retain my current role as a midlevel manager in a corporate marketing department that entire time, and I have even less enthusiasm for trying to build a consultancy in my profession in my late 50s.
I'm very interested in the profession of computer forensics, analyzing hardware and network activity to detect crime or fraud, and providing litigation support therefrom. (More interested in investigating criminal activity than in hardening defenses against it) I have no background in law, accounting or computer science, other than having picked up enough tech theory over the years to be able to manage developers in getting work done for web development. I'm pretty technically minded, super curious, a quick learner and a great communicator.
So I'm thinking I could do this two year online Masters program, come out of it with a degree in Economic Crime Forensics (technology track), and hopefully land a position as an analyst or similar somewhere. From there I build enough experience and contacts to be able to go out on my own after a few years and earn similar or close to the same comp, and then wind down as I got older. My questions are:
How hard will it be to get a job with this degree (fully accredited program from a respected university in my region, which is SE Pennsylvania), given I will be 55 with no professional or academic experience (other than thru this program) in comp sci, accounting, law or law enforcement?
If I was able to work in this field, what would be my likely best-case peak comp in this scenario? 50s? 80s? 100s? I'm currently making about $90K and would like to get close to that. Crazy?
Am I leaving myself enough time to build the professional experience (and the network) required to successfully consult in the field?
Would the private sector (financial services, law firms) be the better bet for me, or should I be thinking in terms of government employment?
What other questions should be asking myself and others? What's the hardest part of switching careers when you're this old?