An anonymous reader writes: What would be the best field (and sub field) for a 38 year old to start studying (both self-study and a few classes) in his spare time as a back-up plan in case of a forced or voluntary career change? Which of these types of employment opportunities would have the least problems with hiring a 40-year-old "entry level" candidate. Which has the best starting salaries, and which have the higher salary caps?
Now that I have children, I'm more concerned about long-term job security as well as the size of my salary. I just recently made a push and finished up a bachelor's degree in physics. I went with physics because that was what I started with 20 years ago and would be the quickest to complete, and a science degree is good to have in my current career in the environmental testing lab industry. I kind of got stuck in the testing lab industry when I dropped out of college for financial reasons, but I never intended to make it into a career. I just kept getting pulled back in.
In my current career my salary is probably pretty well capped at $60K, even as a supervisor and technical expert, and the number of positions available dwindle every year. I hear about people in IT and software development getting starting salaries of $50K right out of college, and there always seems to be jobs available. I do have an aptitude for computers and programming, but most of my knowledge and experience is pretty basic and out of date (I haven't done much object oriented programming, for example).