How old do engineers have to be to change jobs? Explanation of restrictions, reasons for changing jobs, and cautions.


  • Advice for Engineers

How old do engineers have to be to change jobs? Explanation of restrictions, reasons for changing jobs, and cautions.

Many people who want to change careers as engineers may be concerned about the age at which they can change jobs.

Generally speaking, people tend to have the image that there is an age limit for changing jobs because of the image of “demanding work.

In reality, however, the situation has changed dramatically, and it is now possible to change jobs at any age. In this article, we will explain how old you have to be to be able to change jobs for engineers.

There is no “how old” limit for engineers to change jobs.

In fact, there is no longer a limit to how old an engineer can be to change jobs. Let us first understand the current situation.

The “Engineer 35 years old” theory is now a thing of the past.

There used to be a theory that engineers retire at 35. This was based on the premise that engineering is a demanding job and that engineers can only work until the age of 35. In fact, many engineers worked in the field until the age of 35, at which point they were promoted to other jobs or to management positions. However, the situation has changed dramatically, and the 35-year-old retirement age is now a thing of the past.

Chronic shortage of IT personnel

The reason why the 35-year-old retirement age theory has become a thing of the past is because of the chronic shortage of IT personnel.

Citation: Survey Results on the Latest Trends and Future Estimates of IT Human Resources


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has repeatedly shown in its materials that there will be a shortage of IT personnel from 2019 to 2030 after peaking in 2019, as shown in the graph. However, it is not realistic to quickly train personnel with specialized knowledge, and skilled personnel are being forced to take an active role.

The graph also shows that the average age of IT engineers will gradually increase until 2030. This can also be attributed to the shortage of IT personnel, which will force existing engineers to work.

Another possible reason is that the working environment has improved, making it easier to work. According to the government's Basic Survey on Wage Structure, the average amount of overtime work in 2010 was about 20 hours, while in 2022 it decreased to about 12 hours. Although the figures vary depending on the size of the company, the ability to balance work and private life is encouraging an environment in which people can work until any age.

Reference: Basic Survey on Wage Structure

”Senior” engineers also have more opportunities

The world of engineering tends to demand new skills, but in reality, past skills are also needed. In addition, there are times when the knowledge possessed by those who have worked in the industry for a long time is needed. Against this backdrop, in recent years there has been a growing demand for “senior” engineers, those with many years of experience. In fact, the age distribution is expected to increase to over 50 years old by 2030.

Citation: IT人材需給に関する調査

In addition, based on a survey by Nikkei Crosstech, mid-career hiring in the IT industry is doubling in the 50s. As for freelancers, unit prices are also increasing, and the environment is increasingly demanding a wealth of previous experience.


Why engineers can change jobs at any age.

As we have explained, there are no longer any restrictions on how old an engineer can be before changing jobs. Next, let us consider the reasons why the situation has changed so that people can change jobs at any age.

Because a track record of involvement in projects is required.

A major reason why people can change jobs at any age is because experience and achievements are valued.

Even in the engineering world, “the type of projects you have worked on and the experience you have gained” is considered very important. Those who have worked on a large number of projects or have been in charge of a number of projects in specialized industries can make use of this experience to change jobs at any age.

In general, HR professionals tend to focus on experience in defining requirements, design, and project management. Consider that if you have gained a lot of experience by now, that is likely to be valued no matter how old you are.

Because management skills are needed more than development skills.

In some fields, management skills are required more than development skills.

For example, as a project leader or project manager, you are expected to oversee other engineers, programmers, and client vendors. In many cases, the older a person is, the more such management skills he or she is able to acquire, and people with management skills are sought after even if they are older.

Management skills are a factor that HR department personnel tend to focus on. It is important to understand that there are situations where management skills are actively sought rather than development skills.

Because you want to secure personnel with a wide range of knowledge

In the development world, personnel with a wide range of knowledge are always in demand. For example, we want people who understand not only programming but also servers and infrastructure.

In recent years, there is a certain demand for one person to have a wide range of knowledge, as full-stack engineers are in demand. The more experience such personnel have, the more they increase, which inevitably leads to a demand for personnel at any age.

Of course, there will never be no personnel at all who have a wide range of knowledge at a young age.

However, such personnel are a dime a dozen and are not easy to secure. As a result, it is important to accept people up to any age in order to secure personnel with a wide range of knowledge.

Points to consider by what age to change jobs as an engineer

Engineers can change jobs at any age.

When considering how old to change jobs in an active engineering situation, consider the following points

Do you have the skills to be an immediate asset?

First, you must consider whether or not you have the skills to be an immediate asset to the company.

Generally speaking, people looking for a new job are looking for someone who can immediately put their skills to work in the field. For example, if you are a cloud engineer, a skill that is in increasing demand is “the ability to build and operate a cloud environment on one's own. They also need to have the management skills to efficiently build cloud environments by giving instructions to team members as needed. This is just one example, but it is safe to assume that you can change jobs at any age as long as you have the skills to meet the demands of the company.

As long as you have the skills to be an immediate asset to your new company, you can change jobs at any age.

Decide when the time is right for you to change jobs based on your skills and whether or not you will be able to play an active role in the new environment.

Are your desired conditions appropriate for your age?

Consider the balance between your age and your desired conditions, such as annual salary.

If your desired conditions are too high for your age, you may want to rethink the timing of your career change. For example, it would be undesirable to seek an increase in annual salary despite having only a few years of experience as an engineer. As explained, there is no limit to the age at which you can change jobs, and you should not change jobs until you have acquired sufficient skills.

If you can find a job that meets your requirements, you can change jobs at any age. On the other hand, if you cannot find a job, you will need to reconsider such things as “improving your skills quickly,” “relaxing conditions based on your own skills,” and “reviewing your job change schedule.

Do you want to continue working in development?

Also consider whether you want to continue working in development as an engineer.

In recent years, people who are older as engineers may be accepted in management positions, such as project managers. If you change jobs in such positions, you will be away from the development field and will not be able to do what you want to do.

If you want to continue development after changing jobs or want to pass on your skills to someone else, you should choose a position that allows you to work in development until any age. However, as you get older, you will find that more and more jobs are based on management positions, so it is ideal to make the decision to change jobs while you are as young as possible.

When engineers change jobs as they age.

When engineers age and change jobs, the following points require more attention.

SubjectsMain points to note
Has extensive programming experience
  • May be away from development work 
  • May be considered “hard-headed” in some cases 
  • Annual salary may decrease in relation to age 
  • Supervisor may be younger than you
Little programming experience
  • Do you have technical skills as an engineer?
  • Do you have management experience?
  • Do you have knowledge of the industry you are moving into?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the type of work your new company handles?
Common to all
  • Do not rush the progress of your new job.
  • Don't just focus on the company's name recognition.
  • Do not neglect information gathering

Points to keep in mind if you have a lot of programming experience

Repeatedly, you may be removed from development work.

This is unavoidable, as management is more likely to be assigned to you as you get older. However, on the other hand, you may be assumed to be hard-headed, so be careful here as well.

Also, in terms of the working environment, partial compromises must be made during the job change stage, such as compromising on annual income.

It is possible that your annual salary may temporarily drop or that your boss may be younger than you. Although there is a possibility of growth in salary increases after you find a job, you should be careful when conducting your job search.

Points to keep in mind if you have limited programming experience

As an engineer, it is important to have technical skills.

Even if you do not have much practical experience, you will need to follow up with some classroom learning.

You should prepare what you can call “weapons” in your own way.

Another reason why you can change jobs at any age is that management skills are in demand. If you have at least some management experience in programming, there is a chance that they will appreciate it.

A note of caution common to all

It is easy to become impatient when your job search does not go smoothly. However, if you rush through your job search in such a situation, you may end up deciding on a different company than the one you had in mind. Although things may not go as smoothly as you would like, it is important to remain calm.

Also, when choosing a company, do not be swayed by name recognition.

In particular, you can change jobs at any age, but the nature of your activities will vary greatly depending on where you change jobs.

While name recognition is important, you should focus on what you want to do.

Lastly, you must always try to gather information. Job hunting can be seen as an information war, so you should be well-informed to find the ideal company.

Recommended services for engineers changing jobs

There are two services recommended for engineers changing jobs, plus a special pattern, but we will also discuss the corporate website.




Job change site

You can search for jobs at your own pace from a large number of job openings

It is necessary to carry out all aspects of the job search by yourself, which can be burdensome.

Recruitment agents

You can proceed with your job search passively as long as you inform them of your requirements beforehand.

The results of your job search may vary depending on the person in charge.

Corporate website

No need to register because you apply directly to the company.

Not suitable when applying to many companies.

Job search websites

If you are looking for a job that is suitable for you, you should search mainly on job search websites. There is a lot of information posted on these sites, so you can compare and contrast jobs at your own pace.

However, although there are many jobs available and it is easy to compare them, you have to do all the work yourself.

For example, you must search for jobs that match your criteria from the vast number of jobs for engineers.

You also have to individually evaluate the type of work that will be assigned to you and whether you can make use of your skills.

While you can proceed with your job search at your own pace, it tends to be a bit of a burden for those who are busy working as engineers.

Recruitment Agents

A recruitment agent is a service whereby you can register in advance and have a recruiter introduce you to positions that are suitable for you.

Although you are required to prepare for interviews in advance, you can leave the job search process to the recruiter. If you are a busy engineer, using a recruitment agent will have less impact on your work.

The services they can provide are diverse and include, for example, negotiating interview schedules and salary conditions.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of recruitment agents specializing in engineering jobs, so it is a good idea to use such an agent. You can ask for support in finding a job from an agent with sufficient expertise.

Although there are some large agencies that deal with non-engineers, you should focus on the level of specialization.

Specialty: Corporate Website

A special method is to apply through a company's corporate website.

If you have pinpointed your job search, you can use the corporate website to search for jobs. By applying directly, you can avoid the hassle of registering with a job search site or recruitment agency and searching for jobs.

Of course, when you apply through the corporate website, you can only apply to that company.

This means that if you have multiple candidates for a new job, you will need to apply at each corporate site.

This may be fine if you are looking for a job with only one or two companies, but it is not recommended if you have many potential employers.



We have explained how old an engineer can change jobs. In recent years, the shortage of engineers has become so pronounced that people can change jobs at any age. In the past, there were calls for engineers to retire at the age of 35, but we should consider that the situation has changed.

However, it does not mean that you can freely change jobs. Therefore, it is important for those who are changing jobs to understand the points and proceed with their job search. For example, it is necessary to determine whether the company is seeking an engineer with technical skills or management skills.

It is also a good idea to use a recruitment agent when changing jobs. Just let them know your skills and conditions, and they will be able to introduce you to the most suitable positions. This will make it easier for busy engineers to change jobs while still being active as an engineer.

back to the list