How to Make a Midlife Career Change Into Tech (S5E7)

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The world of technology is often thought of as the playground of the young—which does a huge disservice not only to career-changers later in life, but also to the companies suffering a lack of age diversity because of it.

Having a wide range of experiences and perspectives is always important, whether it’s across lines of gender, race, background, or generation.

However, due to the stereotype of twenty-something developers and tech CEOs, many people over 35 feel intimidated about making a midlife career change into tech. Here to explain why they shouldn’t is acclaimed career and technology coach Kanika Tolver.

Kanika TolverKanika is the founder and CEO of Career Rehab, which focuses on helping people transform their careers via coaching programs, events, webinars, and digital resources. She spent the majority of her career working in tech for the federal government, before leaving to pursue private consulting and entrepreneurship.

As someone who has transformed her own career, she has a personal passion for helping others achieve their goals, no matter what phase of life they’re in.

In the episode, Kanika speaks to those looking for a career change about how to make a career change at 35+, what actionable steps will help you succeed at a midlife career change, and the mindset you need for the journey.

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:08
Thank you for tuning in to the Learn to Code With Me podcast. And this episode we'll learn about transitioning into tech later in life. But first, a quick word from our sponsors.

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Laurence Bradford 2:25
In today's episode I talk with Kanika Tolver. Kanika has wide ranging experience in tech. She's worked in the federal government as well as in the private sector. More recently, she started a career coaching business called career rehab. Career rehab focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals and retirees. Kanika has been featured on CNN, CBS, radio, Yahoo, Glassdoor entrepreneur, The Washington Post, and a variety of other publications. In our conversation today we're going to focus on the topic of transitioning into tech later In life, so people that are over the age of 35-40 or beyond. However, Kanika shares a lot of great advice that can be applied to anyone at any age. Kanika cite specific examples and insights from clients she's worked with in the past who made the switch into tech after the age of 35. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Laurence Bradford 3:25
Hey, Kanika, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Kanika Tolver 3:27
Thanks for having me. How you doing today?

Laurence Bradford 3:29
I'm doing great. I'm really excited to talk to you because you have such a vast background. And I know you're going to share so much awesome wisdom with the listeners. I'm also excited to specifically talk about career changing into tech later in life like after the age of 35 or 40. I've written about this topic a lot and talked about it, like switching into tech but not specifically at an older age. So I'm really excited to dive into that. But first, can you briefly explain like your background, especially As it relates to making a career change or helping others switch careers.

Kanika Tolver 4:04
Sure. Um, I am from the Washington DC area. I am a career coach. I am the founder of career rehab. We focus on basically helping people create epic careers. So we focus on career passion through, you know, a new career journey as a college graduate. We call them the cool geeks. We also focus on career advancement for existing existing professionals. We call them the cook the corporate rebels. And we focus on career changers who actually want to transition from one career to another, we call them the career dropouts. So I focus in on specifically helping people find happiness within a career at all different levels. Not just in tech, but I do have a lot of tech clients that actually come to me as they transition to different areas within the technology industry.

Laurence Bradford 4:55
Nice and you used to work in tech, right?

Kanika Tolver 4:58
Yes, I actually Spent majority of my career in the federal government tech space. So I've worked for various different federal agencies, my experiences focused around web and mobile app development, agile project management and software testing.

Laurence Bradford 5:15
So I'm curious what made you want to become a career coach, like you were working in these governmental agencies, you were doing different kinds of development, as you mentioned, what made you be like, hey, I want to help people make career moves.

Kanika Tolver 5:31
I'm actually I am considering actually going back into the federal technology space as we speak. So, um, I initially was a federal employee. In 2014. I left the federal government to go into private sector and and work for, you know, consulting firms like Deloitte and other small technology companies. I was still working with the federal government as a contractor or consultant I should say, but in the last two years I've been really focused on full time entrepreneurship as a my own technology company. And I also have my career coaching practice. But what really made me interested about entrepreneurship is that I really wanted to have a purpose. And I really wanted to have a career that was going to bring me you know, somewhat of joy. I had a lot of career heartbreaks. So I just stumbled into like helping people with their resumes and helping them with rebranding their career and then like, it just took on a life of his own and I just started doing more um, you know, in depth career coaching.

Laurence Bradford 6:33
Got it. So wait, how many things are you doing currently? Like how many different jobs or I know you have like the career coaching what else beyond that are you also doing right now?

Kanika Tolver 6:42
My own digital branding technology company where we focus in on helping people primarily with like WordPress websites with mobile apps, digital marketing, in you know, no company branding, like for their logo and things like that. So that's a that's a separate company that I Do have I do that primarily online a lot of my, a lot of my employees were all virtual. So um, I do a lot of freelancing and outsourcing for it for that, but I'm really I only do technology and career coaching right now but um, I just career coaching is just a passion of mine that's kind of non tech related that I just, I always love helping the community as a child so I just kinda like wow, I'm actually good at getting six figure jobs. Let me teach other people how to do that in tech.

Laurence Bradford 7:32
Got it.. Well, thank you for highlighting all that. That definitely makes sense. And as you know, this podcast focuses specifically on the tech industry, and there's just so much information about getting a job in tech online. However, when I was researching this topic, before even invited you on as a guest, I did not find very much material that was specific to people over the age of 35. Five or over the age of 40. Like literally, I only found like a handful of articles. I know there's more than that maybe it was typing the right terms, but compared to like it did there just wasn't that much content out there for people in that age group. Why do you think that is?

Kanika Tolver 8:14
I think that is because the in this digital age, we focus a lot on helping youth, young women know minorities that want to get into tech. And I think when you start talking about people that's 35 and older or people in their 40s, I think there's like, it's there's an actual, like learning gap of technology for those generations. A lot of times we think it's easier to teach a younger person, how to use technology because you know, we're always using, you know, the internet. We're always using the computers and mobile devices, and a lot of people that send their 30s and 40s they wasn't necessarily birth into this digital age of technology. They know the basics of like how to use a computer and and things like that. But I think that you you hit something head on when you sent me the topics over because I think there's a real equal opportunity gap. Because a lot of tech companies they're not as probably eager to hire someone older because they may feel like they don't have the the cutting edge technology skills or maybe even the willingness to be able to easily adapt to learning these new technologies.

Laurence Bradford 9:26
Right, right. And I feel like and I haven't done tons of research on this in particular, but just from my own experiences and seeing people in my own life, like my mom and my dad, I've been there will actually my dad is in tech, my mother is not but I can see just in their own careers definite signs of ageism, like ageism in the workplace. Yeah, and, and I yeah, I feel like it's not getting enough attention. I also think that I just have this belief that like anyone can do anything, they have enough drive and motivation. Like it doesn't matter how old you are like you can make any career change that you want. But there definitely is, I think some Yes. And bias is there in ages. Um, so how do you help people like with your with your own practice that are over the age of 35? Sorry, I sound so silly me to say over the age of 35. Because 35 is so good. Like, that's technically still a millennial, I think--

Kanika Tolver 10:29
Technically it is because I'm 35 and I'm a millennial, but if you'd like to talk about like 40 and beyond, we're talking about Gen Xers, right? We're talking about baby boomers. My mother's a baby boomer, you know, my is a Gen Xer. Um, so I think when when I when I look at people within my own life, I think that that those people um, they even some just some people have just a ton with using their mobile device like, you know, we can easily just delete an app, you know, your mom or dad may not know how to do that. So I think the tech companies are so eager to hire younger people, they've lowered the standards for educational requirements. Because a lot of people are self taught technologists these days. You don't need all these formal college degrees anymore. A lot of people are either teaching themselves to code or they're getting certifications just by, you know, taking, you know, classes on Udemy, or Lynda, and they're taking the exam and they're getting, you know, hired. So I think the disconnect is that they grew up on encyclopedias. And we grew up with Google so..

Laurence Bradford 11:36
Yeah, but what about the person listening right now? Who is over the age of 40? Maybe they're 45. Maybe they're 50. And they're really driven really want to make this career change really want to move into tech? What can they do? Like how should they position themselves differently because they are a bit further ahead in their career, or like, I don't know, like, what advice do you have?

Kanika Tolver 11:57
I think the first thing is that we have this change the mindset of fear, technology is fearful for a lot of people, because it's just unknown to them a lot of people that maybe have been in an industry in their 40s and beyond, they've maybe been doing the same thing every day. So it was fearful to transition into kind of like, I got to learn a whole new programming language, or I have to learn a whole new software application. That's pretty scary, right? And when you think about it, if I've been going to work, and I've been in one industry, my whole career, I know this industry, and you know, in and out, so I would say don't fear the technology. The more you use it, the more you won't lose it. My second tip would be is to identify what computer training courses, you can access your current job to allow you to enroll in that that can actually give you a jumpstart on your it career. Some people you know may want to get more information on how to use different software applications or maybe they want to transition into You know, maybe learning how to be able just to have the basic concepts of computing or learning how to know what computers do, I think utilizing your current training budget, all of these industries are advancing in technology in some way. And so you can make that actual switch utilize your current training resources within your current role. And then maybe the last tip would be is to see if you can get a detailed opportunity, a detail opportunity. It's all volunteer opportunity in the IT division of your organized organization, which will give you exposure to learning new skills, new IT skills, and also be able to help you network with other professionals that can give you some sound transitional advice.

Laurence Bradford 13:48
Yeah, I love those tips I love especially like kind of like starting where you are and figuring out what you can leverage in your current role. I know tons of companies have educational budgets or you know where they'll reach Receive for courses. Others may do like hackathons where everyone at the company is invited, even if you're not on the tech team, or as you mentioned, like kind of finding a volunteer opportunity in the IT division to get those exposure to new skills and to network with others. I also when you first started answering that, I was kind of laughing, because you were saying, like, you know, about the fear on technology. And if you're told, oh, you have to learn a new programming language, like it's scary, and I feel like that's like for anyone, right? Like, if someone came up to me right now is like, hey, like, you have to learn this programming language. You have this many days, and we're gonna test you or whatever I would be, I would be scared. I'm like, Oh, god, oh, god, can I do this? I'd be questioning myself. So um.

Kanika Tolver 14:44
I totally, I totally agree with you, like, I know, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But if you said, hey, can he gone? I want you to learn Python. I'd be like, Oh my gosh, like, I've never seen that before. Or I've never. If I had to go and learn Java. I mean, that's It just scared me because I've just been in the web and mobile space for so long. So I hundred percent agree with you. But I always tell people, if you're going to get into this field, it's like you are committing to being a lifetime learner. I don't care if you're already in the industry, you have to continuously learn.

Laurence Bradford 15:16
Awesome. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, committing to learning technologies are always changing. I think that's also like an advantage for people getting into tech at any age is the fact that things do change so quickly. Like, there's all these new frameworks coming out. There's new programming languages, there's new best practices, there's new versions of programming languages, it's like everyone has to adapt and stay up to date. And even if you don't, you know, if you're it doesn't, it's not like one thing that stays the same for like, decades and decades is always changing. Yeah. So you're always on the same page, not totally, but..

Kanika Tolver 15:51
We're all going to always be having to keep up. All of us, even those of us that have been in the industry for a while. So that's a good advantage to think about is that, hey, every day or every year, a person has been in the field for 10 plus years, they're having being forced to learn something new. So you're not going to be, you know, exempt from that as someone coming, you know, brand new into the field.

Laurence Bradford 16:15
Yeah, definitely. So, could you share any stories or examples, whether it's yourself or people you worked with, who made a career change, it doesn't even have to be into tech, ideally, it can be to check later in life and some of the steps or things that they did to make it all happen?

Kanika Tolver 16:34
Okay. Yeah, I have some actionable steps that I want to kind of give people and I use this these actionable steps in my career coaching practice when I'm coaching people that are transitioning into the tech industry. So first, I'm going to share my tips and then I'm going to share like you know, story of two, two guys who after you're like 35, and or older, and they're actually just transitioned into Tech within my coaching practice this year. So I would say the first thing is that you want to start to think about rebranding your career for the IT industry. So that just entails maybe re revamping your resume revamping your LinkedIn profile, taking some of the real life thing, real things that you did in your job and making them sound more technically sound or more it sound. So you can, you know, qualify for, you know, some junior level positions, utilize free tools like YouTube or pay for classes on Udemy. I mean, take $11 and actually, you know, be able to take a certification course.

Kanika Tolver 17:43
It just amazes me that I have clients that have taken a Udemy class where they had a sale, and they've gotten several certifications and now they're making six figures like they flipped $12 into six figures, basically Another thing that you can really do is you can you can work on, I would say learning one to two programming languages and earning it certifications. I think that we focus a lot on coding. But we don't focus a lot on teaching people that there are other areas within it that you can go into. So you can go into Cloud computing, cybersecurity, project management, software testing, being very open to other areas of it and not thinking that everyone has to be a programmer to be a successful technologist. That's, that's, that's a myth. I don't know why people think that you have to code to be a great project manager. You don't. I'm some I was gonna say another thing that you can actually do is you can actually attend local meetups within your community. Like I go to and I attend a lot of different tech meetups throughout the month. That gives me an opportunity to hear from industry experts and it also gives me An opportunity to network with other technology professionals, industry leaders, because there may be somebody there that could help you with getting a job, or maybe somebody there that can give you some sound advice on how to transition into the industry.

Kanika Tolver 19:16
See, when we talk about people 35 or four years older, I think sometimes these people may not be comfortable with the online learning experience. So I would say, to take it a step further, and maybe go to your local community college. So you can actually be able to launch those computer skills like Microsoft Office, junior level programming courses, or there's some people that are both blue collar workers that they don't know how to type fast. So they want to learn how to type really, really fast. Everybody has different learning preferences. So it's not I don't want to us to think that because the younger generation is using Udemy that everybody should use Udemy or Lynda Calm because that doesn't work for certain generations. And it doesn't work for even some of the younger generations of learners.

Laurence Bradford 20:08
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Laurence Bradford 22:27
Yeah, no, totally. I actually am thinking about an email I got recently from a good friend's husband who's you know, 30 and he was asking me about in person Python courses in the area that he lives in and some advice about that because he doesn't like online courses and he was fortunate enough to have his company pay for it. It's, you know, part of their, you know, education budget sort of thing. But yeah, no, totally agree that it's definitely not for everyone. I also loved what you said about the people who, who spend like, you know, bucks 20 whatever on Udemy and then turn those certifications into like a six figure job. I also loved what you said about how it's a myth that you need to be like a programmer to be to be intact. That's something I believed when I first started out. And quickly or not quickly, I wish it was quickly realized that there's that there's so many other career options that you can enjoy different paths within technology. It's not like oh, you have to, you know, be a software engineer. And that's it. No, there's like, there's like probably even hundreds of different job titles. Yeah. All within tech, all that require different skills and all that are a lot that are high paying, you know, just as high paying as being a software engineer. So I'm really glad you brought that up, too.

Kanika Tolver 23:42
Awesome. Awesome. So I have I have a few I'm just one story actually. Because you want me to give some examples, but I have two clients. All phones on Malcolm. They actually came to me this year. And they, they got their Oracle and Microsoft SQL server administrator admin certifications. They took their courses on Udemy. They also decided to, you know, do some volunteer work with different businesses and setting up their, their, their database instance instances for different small companies. And they basically one was ex military was a security guard. Another one was just working a regular government job, not a tech job. And it amazed me that they came to me for career coaching and I, you know, mapped out the roadmap, and this one is actually interviewing from Microsoft.

Kanika Tolver 24:42
He had a technical interview last week for Microsoft for a Microsoft SQL Server position. The other one was hired recently with another company making you know, 110 this is their first his first guff HIS FIRST Tech job with no Prior tech professional experience so I say all this I say all this to say is that if you if you focus on getting the actual it certifications and getting the courses done on you know platforms like Udemy or Lynda and you actually do some volunteer work with other companies and you actually be able to validate that experience on your resume. You can walk into an interview feeling confident about your ability.

Laurence Bradford 25:27
When you say volunteer work because I just know people are going to be thinking it's like how did they get volunteer work like especially for I think he said like Server Administration, like?

Kanika Tolver 25:39
I'm just working with small businesses and needed to needed needed databases to set up I also bought you know, what you do is what I told them is I instructed them to go on to indeed or go on to the job board sites, and put in the word volunteer. They work with nonprofit organizations, nonprofit organizations. usually don't have a really, really big budget. So a lot of times they're looking for people to help them with, you know, a little small tip on projects. So they are able to build their portfolio in their, in their, in their experience off of doing work with nonprofit organization and small businesses. Maybe there's a medical office, they network with their family and friends. And they were able to allow them to use their business on their resume, to vouch for the experience that they have been learning in these courses. Because you have to be able to come with real life work experience sometimes to get into maybe more of a six figure job. But being able to do that just was allowing them to put their theory of knowledge that they learned in these courses, and to actually be able to create, you know, online database systems for these particular organizations. So always look on indeed or LinkedIn for and put in the word volunteer and put in The technology will put in the actual software application that you may need to be trying to look for a volunteer opportunity for and see if there's companies looking for people to do that.

Laurence Bradford 27:11
Yeah, perfect. I am. Hundred percent agree with that. I always tell people having some kind of real work experience, whether it's for friends or family, whether it's paid or unpaid volunteer, it can go such a long way and help you like get your foot in the door to getting that interview or what have you. Yes, thank you so much for sharing those. So one question that I get asked all the time, is, am I too old to get a new job in tech? And, and I always tell people No, because as I said earlier, like I truly believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to if they have the drive, the work ethic, the ambition, the mindset. I think mindset is super important as well. And all those things right are having a positive mindset, having ambition, those aren't things you need to get a certificate for. But that will help you get the certificates or the coursework or the degrees or the work to get the job. But anyway, as someone in like their late 20s still, I, and I don't work with people in like a tech or I'm starting a career coaching capacity. I can't fully relate to what it would be like to be 45 or 50 in trying to get a new job in tech. So I'm curious, like as a career coach, how do you answer that question? Am I too old to get a new job in tech?

Kanika Tolver 28:30
I think you're never too old to get a job in tech. Um, I think, you know, having a mindset shift of being able to wanting to learn and wanting to be patient with the process is very important. Because this is this is a career shift. But when you think about business, retail, healthcare, all of these industries that other people already in there already have To adapt to learning new technology, you think about when you're going to the doctor office, they're using iPads. Now, right now, these people, they're not coders, they're not programmers, they're not network administrators. They know nothing about tech. But just being able to be open to adopting to new technologies within your current situation will take you a long way.

Kanika Tolver 29:24
Being someone that's resilient, that takes someone that basically say, you know, I may get knocked down, I may, I may not pass it certification exam, or I may not get the job interview, you have to be resilient enough to know that there are going to be times when you're going to fail in this new journey of doing this career change and it's okay because there are people that are in the industry that fail it exams and things like that. So I think I don't want anyone to ever think that they're too old to transition into this field. Um, you know, I think you just have to become married. To the to the evolution of constant updates, you're gonna have constant updates to programming languages, operating systems, software, application updates. You know, even when you get a new phone, right, like if you go from iPhone, I went I just recently went from iPhone six to eight. There were little changes that I had to adapt to. I just think we all just have to continue to, you know, have a have a mindset to be a lifetime learner.

Laurence Bradford 30:28
Yeah, I love that. So, so great to catch up with you today. Kanika I loved everything you had to share. Is there any final parting pieces of advice that you'd like listeners to walk away with?

Kanika Tolver 30:41
I think I would like people that is in this particular age group to focus in on training, patience and consistency. This journey may take some time, but then is it you dictate that Like a lot of times people feel fearful of moving into this field. But I feel like if you really put in the work and do do your due diligence, I think it could take as much as time as you put into it, you put a little bit of time into learning a new technology is going to take a whole lot of time to try to transition into the field. I think I want to speak on a little bit is connecting with recruiters and industry leaders, because that's really key. It's a transitioning into that industry is learning how to think about networking. Networking is super important. And maximizing your network far as using LinkedIn. Going to job fairs, connecting with recruiters online on in and also connecting with friends that are already in these tech companies that can do you know referral refer you into the system for a job? I think, you know, the I don't want to say the older generation but I think the mindset of networking For Jin Jin wise millennials is a little bit different than the mindset of someone that's a Gen X or a baby boomer. So I want them to kind of shift their mindset of being open and networking with brand new people. But other than that, I mean, I think that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Laurence Bradford 32:19
Oh, yeah. And I loved what you said before about going to meetups, you mentioned that earlier, I think in your in your example and a few times that how important networking is, it's kind of funny because I almost think like, like someone that was born in an era without as much technology would be more comfortable networking because I feel at least for me, like I'm so comfortable at my computer I'm so comfortable on social media, but and maybe this is like a me problem but I really get nervous for like different kinds of events and social gatherings. And you know, like the and I've talked about this like several times already in this this podcast, you But like,

Kanika Tolver 33:02
Nervous I know when you interview strangers all day.

Laurence Bradford 33:06
It's funny. I know, it's really funny. I think it's just this thing with the computer and not being in person. Whereas when I'm in person, I maybe it's like social anxiety or I don't know, I just saw. Or maybe I'm just shocked because you know, the thing is, and I know this is true with networking. I just haven't put in the time yet but like, your my IRA know, my 19th podcast interview or something. And, yeah, it's one of those things where it's like, over time you get better at something. That's how it is with anything, whether you're learning a programming language or a tech skill or your networking or your folks speaking. And I think I just haven't put in the time for the in person meetups yet and I'm sure if I did 90 in person meetups or 90 talks in front of a crowd, I would get better every single time we're comfortable. It's just for me getting over that spat that hurdle or that first like, I don't know, just like just like putting The wheel the wheels in motion, but yeah, no, I know it's really it's really odd that in front of the computer because--

Kanika Tolver 34:05
You're behind your computer, you're comfortable, you're behind technology, you're behind Skype. I think you're right. I think that that's another thing that you may be right on additional differences is that, you know, the older generation have better communication skills, because they didn't have all this technology. I'm kind of a hybrid I am. My husband always say you, everybody, just, you know, everybody just gravitates towards you and your personality. And I think we focus a lot in tech on technical skills, and we don't focus on the soft skills. And we need everyone to know that it's important to be able to communicate effectively through presentations, through meetings, through meetups through collaboration, because if you think you're just going to get into this industry and sit in your cube, and you're going to be coding and no one's gonna ever have to talk to you, then you're not going to thrive. So it's very important for All of us to push the envelope so work on those soft skills. I mean, what do you think?

Laurence Bradford 35:05
Oh, yeah, definitely we've had people on the show in the past and I believe interviews coming up after yours that attribute their success in their their career transition into tech, to their soft skills to their communication skills. And people have had stories of where they were given a job opportunity. Maybe it was like a junior, you know, a junior, their first tech job, but they kind of won it over because of their communication skills and other people's skills. Yep. And how well they did in their interviews, maybe not on a test in the technical part, but on the behavioral and just connecting with the interviewers. So yeah, I think I mean, it's a it's a huge, it's a huge advantage that people if they are if they're, if they're a bit wary about their technical skills, but they have great communication skills to definitely leverage Do those and play those up?

Kanika Tolver 36:01
Yeah, that would be probably an advantage that most people in a 40 and up what 35 plus would have because we weren't, I wasn't, I always didn't have a computer. So you always thought as a child, talk to people look at people Introduce yourself. Um, you know, you know, having a sense of loyalty and respect when you're talking to someone that you're trying to connect with. That may be the advantage of the young, you know, they have over the younger generation. So I think that you can maximize that because sometimes it's not about what you know, it's about who you know, and who you meet sometimes.

Laurence Bradford 36:36
Yep. And I know there's a quote about first impressions but whatever the quote is, first impressions and so much so much of first impression is not even you opening your mouth. It's just your body language, your eye contact, how you present yourself, and I feel like especially in like an interview situation, like having a good first impression when you're meeting like face to face. Could be good. could make or break it I don't know like it could it could mean so much. Anyway, thank you so much can you get for coming on the show? Where can people find you online?

Kanika Tolver 37:09
Um, you can actually find me online pretty much everywhere. Um, I have a consistent branding for with Konica Tolver. So I'm actually have a Facebook fan page at kaninartolver at Twitter, @kanikatolver. At Instagram, I'm @kanikatolver. On LinkedIn, at Kanina Tolver and then I have my own personal website You guys can check that out. But I'm always open to connect with you guys through social media through email. I enjoy chatting with people about their career challenges and struggles. So feel free to reach reach out to me on social media guys.

Laurence Bradford 37:52
Awesome. Thank you again for coming on.

Kanika Tolver 37:55
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Laurence Bradford 38:03
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Kanina. If you missed any of that or would like a recap the Show Notes for this episode can be found at If you're listening to this episode in the future, simply click the Search icon in the upper navigation of the website and type in Kanika's name. And lastly, don't forget for this week only when the episode airs, which is in late November 2018. We're offering a crazy good deal for Black Friday. You can get $3,400 worth of coating products for just 199 bucks. That's 94% in savings. You can check it out at That URL is all one word. This promotion will only be available until Monday November 26th. At midnight eastern time 2018. This is truly a once in a lifetime deal to get all these courses at this crazy low price. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode and I'll see you next week.

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Unique Considerations for a Career Change at 35+

“I think you’re never too old to get a job in tech,” Kanika says. However, for generations who didn’t grow up with technology or are career change at 35+ from different industries, there may be a few extra things to consider.

“I think the first thing is that we have to change the mindset of fear,” Kanika says. “Technology is fearful for a lot of people, because it’s just unknown to them. It’s fearful to be in one industry your whole career, and know it in and out, and then transition into feeling like, I gotta learn a whole new programming language, or have to learn a whole new software application. That’s pretty scary, right? So I would say, don’t fear the technology. The more you use it, the more you won’t lose it.”

midlife career change

Next up is the idea of making a gradual transition. When you’re making a career change at 35+, it’s often a good idea to ease into it, keeping your original job while starting the learning process in your spare time.

Identify what computer training courses that your current job allows you to enroll in that can actually give you a jumpstart on your IT career. Utilize training opportunities within your current role. See if you can even get a volunteer opportunity in the IT division of your organization and network with other professionals.

Flexibility and openness are extremely valuable traits to have when you’re looking for a career change too. “Just being able to be open to adapting to new technologies within your current situation will take you a long way. Being someone that’s resilient, someone that says I may get knocked down, I may not pass an IT certification exam, or I may not get the job interview. You have to be resilient enough to know that they’re going to be times when you’re going to fail. And in this new journey of doing this career change, it’s okay.  Having a mindset shift of wanting to learn and wanting to be patient with the process is very important.”

Finally, be prepared to keep learning for a lifetime. “I always tell people, if you’re going to get into this field, it’s like you are committing to being a lifetime learner,” Kanika says. “All of us have to continuously learn and keep up with the new tech, even those of us have been in the industry for a while. That’s a good advantage to think about: that every day, a person has been in the field for 10+ years, they’re being forced to learn something new too.”

Since technology evolves so rapidly, you’re not at as much of a disadvantage as you think: in many cases, you’re learning the same new skills that other tech professionals are getting familiar with too.

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Actionable Steps for a Midlife Career Change

These are the same steps that Kanika uses in her career coaching practice for tech transitioners.

1. Rebrand yourself utilizing any relevant tech experience in past roles (embellishing optional)

That involves “revamping your resume, revamping your LinkedIn profile, taking some of the real-life things that you did in your job, and making them sound more technically sound so you can qualify for some junior-level positions.”

2. Earn IT certifications beyond pure coding

“I think that we focus a lot on coding. But we don’t focus a lot on teaching people that there are other areas within IT that you can go into. So you can go into cloud computing, cybersecurity, project management, software testing. Learn one or two languages, but not everyone has to be a programmer to be a successful technologist. Be open to other areas of IT.”

3. Attend local meetups in your community

“I go to, and I attend a lot of different tech meetups throughout the month. That gives me an opportunity to hear from industry experts, and also gives me an opportunity to network with other technology professionals. It may be somebody there that could help you with getting a job or give you some sound advice on how to transition into the industry.”meetup

4. Use your network and reach out to recruiters

Networking is super important. You can maximize it by using LinkedIn, going to job fairs, connecting with recruiters online, and also connecting with friends that are already in these tech companies that can refer you into the system for a job.”

5. Look for in-person classes

“When we talk about people 35 or 40 and older, sometimes these people may not be comfortable with the online learning experience. So go to your local community college. Launch those computer skills like Microsoft Office, junior-level programming courses.”

6. Volunteer your services at nonprofits to get started

“Go to job search sites and put in the word ‘volunteer.’ Nonprofit organizations usually don’t have a really big budget, so a lot of times, they’re looking for people to help them with little small projects. You can build your portfolio and experience doing work with nonprofits and small businesses, and use them as a reference. Because you have to come with real-life experience to get into a six-figure job.”

in-person classes

To conclude, Kanika says, “I would like people in this particular age group to focus in on training, patience, and consistency. This journey may take some time. But if you really put in the work and do your due diligence, I think it could take as much time as you put into it.”

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