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Do You Hate Being Called an "IT Guy?" 736

Posted by kdawson
from the tech-genius-will-do-nicely dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The phrase 'IT' is so overused, I'm not sure what it means any more. OK, maybe it's an ego thing, but I spent a lot of years in grad school, lots of years getting good at creating software, and lots of years getting good at creating technical products and I don't want the same label as the intern who fixes windoze. I'm looking at a tech management job at a content company that is trying to become a software company, and they refer to everything about software development, data center operations, and desktop support as 'IT.' I'd like to tell the CEO before I take the job that we have to stop referring to all these people as 'IT people' or I'm not going to be able to attract and retain the top-tier talent that is required. Am I just being petty? Should I just forget it? Change it slowly over time? These folks are really developing products, but we don't normally call software creators 'product developers.' Just call them the 'Tech Department' or the 'Engineering Deptartment?'"
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Do You Hate Being Called an "IT Guy?"

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  • by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:11AM (#30260036)

    I can't see why this would matter. Hopefully potential candidates will look beyond whatever their official job title is. I'd change it slowly over time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IrquiM (471313)

      Me neither. It's just as stupid as if the finance people didn't want to be finance people anymore... Engineering department? That's where the engineers are - you know, the people who design hardware of different types

      And by the way - by writing "[...]don't want the same label as the intern who fixes windoze." you clearly have earned the same label.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:36AM (#30260154)

        Potential employees are probably more worried about future employers/their resumes, and it's not unreasonable of them to do so.

        Frankly, a respectable-sounding title is one very cheap way for employers to compensate their employees that costs the company absolutely nothing yet is of material benefit to the employee. It's one reason nearly everyone in sales and marketing is a "director" or "head" of some tiny sliver of a given institution's sales/marketing operation. "Director, Central California Sales," "Head of E-marketing Business Development" etc. You're more likely to attract ambitious, driven people if your position comes with a nice title. These are also the sort of people who will work very hard for you, because they're hungry for advancement. Of course, they also are likely to leave the company as soon as a better offer comes along. But I'd rather get 3 years of work from a ambitious employee than 10 years from a just-getting-by timecard-puncher.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:05AM (#30260260) Journal

          Of course if a company does hand out titles too much then you'll end up with a situation like this [yahoo.com]. Me I don't call myself an "IT guy" as I am quite happy being what I am-A PC fixit guy and system builder. I look at it no different than electrician or plumber. Folks break machines, or need new machines, so they come to me.

          I think the reason the word "IT" rubs this guy the wrong way is it is a catch all phrase, but as far as I know it has always been, but that is why most are not JUST an "IT Guy" but a programmer, engineer, or guys like me that actually do "fix windoze". Oh yeah and bite me on the fix windoze remark. I'd love to see this turkey spend some time trying to get rid of a seriously nasty infection where he can NOT wipe the thing because they have data shotgunned all over the damned drive, or get to see a nasty pron bug that spews crap like bukkake all over the damned screen be the first thing HE had to look at first thing in the morning. You know, nobody respects the plumber either until their toilet is clogged. May your family get rootkitted!

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:41AM (#30260674)

            Just from a developer: I think I really appreciate the "fix Windoze" people (if they know what they are doing), because I sure wouldn't want to do it. That's why I don't like to have "IT" used a catch-all, it means that during jobs searching you often have to sort out manually those jobs that are not relevant to you (how many developers are looking for and admin job and the other way round?) and even worse, as a developer with a bit of a more mathematical and OS-design background you also have to look at the "Research & Development" job openings for some countries. It really is quite a mess, and I just can't help the feeling that in many cases for the HR department everyone from the scientific supercomputing guy to the one switching out the graphics card they are all "computer guys" which obviously makes as much sense as lumping the guy cleaning the toilets together with the one making sure the air is clean in you chip manufacturing area.

        • by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:10AM (#30260796)

          For non-degree holders, titles are given instead of raises.

          It makes us feel important and costs nothing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by clifyt (11768)

          "Frankly, a respectable-sounding title is one very cheap way for employers to compensate their employees that costs the company absolutely nothing yet is of material benefit to the employee."

          I'm dealing with something very similar...I have had a decent title for YEARS that accurately described my position, and the HR Fucks decided that they needed to reclassify me. Works with computers? IT Guy. WTF? No no no no no...I have advanced degrees in psychology and statistical knowledge...yes I maintain the ser

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Weezul (52464)

            Tell them federal law says they must pay you overtime with an IT title. It's not actually true, only real IT workers get overtime by law, developers only get overtime when the company is being nice. But surely HR perceives their titles as being correct. So either you are eligible for overtime or HR must admit they are lying about your title.

      • by x2A (858210) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:02AM (#30260248)

        There is a reason why we don't refer to screwdrivers, circular saws and sanding machines all as "hammers". There is a reason why we have different words for "poisonous" and "tasty"... if you're not eating them, then just "berries" might be a sufficient description to you, but language evolves for a reason, we have vocabulary for a reason, description is important. Not understanding the different between two different terms shows you haven't been exposed to it. Not understanding that there could be important differences that may lie outside of what you've been exposed to show narrow mindedness. Personally, I'd rather go with the label of 'petty over my label' than that of 'deliberately ignorant', so I respect even the differences that I don't understand.

        • by Dumnezeu (1673634) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:42AM (#30260956)

          There is a reason why we don't refer to screwdrivers, circular saws and sanding machines all as "hammers"

          Yes there is such a reason and that's because they're not "hammers" an "tools," which is why we don't call them "hammers" but we call them "tools." And while we're at it, please hand me that "toolbox." No, not that "screwdrivers-and-circular-saws-and-hammers-box" just the "toolbox." Thanks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ephemeriis (315124)

          There is a reason why we don't refer to screwdrivers, circular saws and sanding machines all as "hammers". There is a reason why we have different words for "poisonous" and "tasty"... if you're not eating them, then just "berries" might be a sufficient description to you, but language evolves for a reason, we have vocabulary for a reason, description is important. Not understanding the different between two different terms shows you haven't been exposed to it. Not understanding that there could be important differences that may lie outside of what you've been exposed to show narrow mindedness. Personally, I'd rather go with the label of 'petty over my label' than that of 'deliberately ignorant', so I respect even the differences that I don't understand.

          Normally, I'd agree with you. I'm a big fan of using the appropriate words for the appropriate things. It frustrates me to no end to see people appropriating words for their own purposes and completely mis-using the English language.

          However, "IT" is more of a generic label than a specific title. It refers to an entire department - just as "HR" does. Not everyone in HR is a manager... Nor do they all do the same job... Nor are they all on the same pay grade... But they're all in HR.

          Same thing goes for

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by uglyduckling (103926)
            Calling software development, network engineering, web design etc. all "IT" is a bit like calling HR, accounting and legal all "paperwork". I agree with the story author - the need to call everyone who produces or maintains software or hardware "IT" just shows how little most people understand the businesses they run and the people they employ. It's that reasoning that leads to (in small companies... hopefully) the pimply faced youth who reboots the servers being asked to design and deploy a mission-criti
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Ephemeriis (315124)

              Calling software development, network engineering, web design etc. all "IT" is a bit like calling HR, accounting and legal all "paperwork". I agree with the story author - the need to call everyone who produces or maintains software or hardware "IT" just shows how little most people understand the businesses they run and the people they employ. It's that reasoning that leads to (in small companies... hopefully) the pimply faced youth who reboots the servers being asked to design and deploy a mission-critical database because he 'knows about computers'. Your post typifies this: they're all "vaguely related to Information Technology" therefore they should be the same department? That makes no sense at all, and many companies get this wrong, wrong, wrong.

              If this were a board dedicated to HR-related topics... Instead of IT-related topics... I'm sure we'd see people on here complaining that they don't like being referred to as an "HR guy." I'm also sure that you've at least once in your life referred to someone as "working in HR" or being "from HR" or having to go talk to "somebody in HR."

              Is it accurate? Is it specific? No... But it doesn't need to be.

              If your company is big enough to have an entire software department, I'm sure you get referred to as a

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by thered (256861)

          >There is a reason why we don't refer to screwdrivers, circular saws and sanding machines all as "hammers".

          All tools are hammers, except screwdrivers and they're chisels.

      • by Nursie (632944) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:49AM (#30260986)

        Hi there,

        I'm a software engineer. Take your funny definitions of what is and what isn't engineering somewhere else.

      • by pthisis (27352) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:52AM (#30261366) Homepage Journal

        That's where the engineers are - you know, the people who design hardware of different types

        Please don't give credence to professional engineering societies who try to fetishize the word "engineer".

        Engineers are also people who adjust the mix levels of audio recordings. Or dig ditches for the military. Or drive trains or fire trucks. Or keeps the radio equipment running.

        Or engage in the (IEEE-recognized, for what little that's worth) field of software engineering.

    • by x2A (858210) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:32AM (#30260130)

      It's just not very descript, the connotations that the term 'IT' has attached are different to those of 'programmer', at least to myself, and I've no reason to believe I'm unique with that. IT in my experiences will tend to be more office/user facing; easing other peoples use of other peoples products, dealing with word processing, spreadsheets, all that kind of stuff. Programmers create the stuff that the people in IT use.

      Personally I find it easy to escape the label of 'IT' by not having a clue how to use Excel or Word leaving me very much being not the person to ask :-) System architecture, coding problems, no sweat, that stuff interests me, so that's the stuff I'm interested in being associated with. I don't look down on people who fix the office printers or get peoples mail clients working with their AV or whatever... I don't look down on teachers, but it doesn't mean I wanna be one or believe that calling me one is an accurate description.

      • by hazem (472289) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @12:31PM (#30261972) Journal

        I don't look down on people who fix the office printers or get peoples mail clients working with their AV or whatever... I don't look down on teachers, but it doesn't mean I wanna be one or believe that calling me one is an accurate description.

        I once worked at a university (doing "IT" for the engineering school) and during one of the staff meetings, the management suggested that they could save money by having the computer science professors take over all the IT tasks in the school.

        Fortunately one of CS profs quickly suggested that the EE professors could fix wiring and changing light bulbs and the Civil Engineering profs could clean bathrooms and unplug toilets. The idea died almost quicker than it was born. But it belies the point of this article. Most people have no idea what "IT" even means and assume that if you can do one thing with a computer then you are automatically able to do all things.

    • by Bent Mind (853241) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:46AM (#30260198)

      I can't see why this would matter.

      I can. Where I work (as in most places I imagine), the IT department handles the network and helpdesk. IT also includes database administrators. While the database admins can write some really good SQL, they don't know jack about networks or computer maintenance. This is all fine and good. However, management doesn't know jack about IT. So we end up with a bunch of database administrators trying to run a network and maintain computers. And management wonders why everything is falling apart all of the time.

      Keeping the titles separate might help management make the distinction between the database guys and network engineers.

      • by The Unusual Suspect (980537) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:15AM (#30260294) Homepage
        That would be a good start. Then all you'd have to do is get them to understand the difference between a database and a network.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gtall (79522)

          Yeah, good luck with that. The only view of computers they see is the screen, keyboard, mouse, and if they are really sophisticated Power Users, a USB stick. They are now considered experts by those Upper Management (UM) that fear to even gaze upon a computer and have their secretaries print out their emails for markup and reply. The UM will gladly turn to these experts since they are all Business School Product and speak the language of widgets, product, cash-flow, and will fondly recall bits of Buzzword B

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:53AM (#30260218)

      "IT guy" or "computer guy" or whatever. People need a generic term to describe people who work in some area they don't (or won't be bothered to) understand. "doctor" or "engineer" or "lawyer" just the same. A cardiac surgeon doesn't know much otolaryngology; an EE doesn't know much about steam turbines; a personal injury lawyer isn't going to be much help with your corporate takeover. It's easier to lump all of the people who do similar work together and refer to the whole group by a generic term - eg, "IT people" for all the computer-centric jobs, whether hardware, software, or support; eg, "lawyers" whether they're finance, liability, or contract. "IT people" should probably have descriptive titles for internal use, once the group gets large enough for division of labor and effort to be important, but you shouldn't get too upset if people outside the group just see "computer people."

      • by war4peace (1628283) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:09AM (#30260276)
        I absolutely agree. My company has a large sales department. I refer to them as the "sales people" and they refer to us as "the IT people". Nobody's bothered. Why bother? It's like you are angry because you are a Texan and somebody from Taiwan calls you an American. "Oh, wait, dude, I'm not American, I'm Texan!" - now that's plainly strange :)
      • by x2A (858210)

        "Computer guy" is pretty much fine... you could manage servers, you could be on the floor keeping office workstations going so that people don't lose access to their accounting information, or you could be a games programmer, they are all computer jobs. But could you call the guys at ID "IT"?

      • by piquadratCH (749309) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:24AM (#30260586)

        A cardiac surgeon doesn't know much otolaryngology;

        That analogy would be correct if people wouldn't know the difference between Java programmers and C++ programmers. I'm pretty sure every cardiologist would feel a bit insulted if a patient wouldn't know the difference between him and a nurse. Nothing against nurses, every hospital would collapse without their work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AGMW (594303)
          True, and yet a cardiac surgeon is also a surgeon is also (at least in layman's parlance) a doctor. Do surgeons dislike being known referred to as "doctors" - HELL YES.

          I work in IT. I'm an IT Professional. Do I know anything about fixing windoze? HELL NO! Do people assume I know about PCs and wireless routers and (sheeze!) printers? Yep ... all the time!

          To the untrained eye IT is IT is IT. It's like wine tasting vs beer tasting. Until you expose yourself to the knowledge you just think they all taste th

        • by invisibastard (620915) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:17AM (#30261140)

          Some of these people think the server is a "CPU" or a "Hard Drive". I get calls where they say "the internet is down" because they somehow deleted the IE icon. They don't even know how to use the address bar in their browser, they type the url into one of the 10 search toolbars they've installed. You face the wrath of god when you delete their Weather Bug crapware. "my weather doesn't work, the it guy broke it"

          If I talk Java or C++ their eyes glaze over as they pretend to know what I am talking about. Never underestimate the stupidity of people. I say that as a stupid person.

      • by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:35AM (#30261232)

        A cardiac surgeon doesn't know much otolaryngology; an EE doesn't know much about steam turbines; a personal injury lawyer isn't going to be much help with your corporate takeover.

        Comparisons:

        • IT guy: helpdesk guy through to ph.d. who works with high-end clusters.
        • Health guy: orderly through to highly specialized surgeon.
        • Electric stuff guy: from the guy who moves crates of PCBs through electricians through to EE.
        • Law guy: Secretary at law firm through to top tier lawyer who's spent his/her entire career specializing.

        Now, don't you think those on the right side of the above descriptions would frown own being referred to as health/electric stuff/law guy if the terms had the meanings I gave them above? And for "IT guy" that's exactly how the term is commonly used, the guy who gives you a new keyboard when you spill coffee on it gets referred to as an "IT guy" and so do your senior developers and sysadmins, guess why they're grumpy about it...

        /Mikael

    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:35AM (#30260348) Homepage

      From what I've understood companies in the US are extremely tightfisted about giving information about employees, so you'd better take what little you get. If you were a DBA but all your resume says is "IT department" and that's all they'll confirm then you have an uphill battle just to convince them that you were in fact a DBA, and not the guy replacing broken keyboards and fixing paper jams who is now desperately seeking a new job.

      Of course there's such a thing as title inflation so too excessive a title will set off bullshit detectors, but there's no reason to sell yourself short either. I'm hardly a career ladder climber, but I would react negatively to a job title that would sell me short with my next employer. While it's not as bad here as in the US, the resumes do get screen by recruiting companies and HR and not having the title could lose me interviews before I even got to talk about what I've been doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:11AM (#30260038)

    You're in IT. Deal with it.

    • If you really care so much about your title, and hate being called an IT guy, you're in the wrong line of work. And the wrong website.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I think the title most suited to him would be "PHB".

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:11AM (#30260282) Journal

      Hey, there's nothing wrong with ego. I, for one, always wanted to be called The High Priest Of The Sun. But then the barstards switched from Sun to IBM servers :p

  • by Phat_Tony (661117) * on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:12AM (#30260042)
    I don't think you're going to help attract a lot of talented engineers by changing the nomenclature to the "'Engineering Deptartment."

    That aside, I think "Software Engineer," "Software Architect," "Analyst," "Lead Developer," and such are common titles for people who are creating things with software, as opposed to "IT's" tech-support implications.
    • by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:45AM (#30260194)
      In my experience when lay people say "IT" they usually mean tech-support and cannot conceive of any other job. Which is why I do not like being called an IT person, since programming is nothing like it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moronoxyd (1000371)

        Strangely enough, my experience is exactly the opposite: When I say that I work in IT, people instantly assume that I'm a programmer, and it takes some time for me to make them understand that I don't know Jack about that.
        (Well, I do a little PHP and C at times, but that doesn't make me a programmer.)

        But yes, "IT guys" is the correct term for all of us: Programmers, admins, security specialists, tech support

  • Petty? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:12AM (#30260046)
    Sounds pretty petty to me. I have no problem at all with IT and don't see why anyone would. I don't care what my job's called as long as it interests/challanges me and provides a monthly paycheck. If you're that hung up with titles, I'd suggest your problem lies closer to home.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ls671 (1122017) *

      What do you mean ?

      John Doe,
      Senior Artificial Intelligence Architect, Coordinator, MSc, PMP, PO,
      CBAP, PhD, MBA, Senior Rocket Scientist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Exactly there are a lot of business functions with rather generic names.

      Human Resource... Are these the guys who keep track of your sick days or are they the ones who analyses all the people in there jobs and makes sure each one is the right fit and is being compensated for their work, and that their home/work life can stay balanced.

      Marketing... Are these guys the ones who do cold calls to the customer during dinner. Or are they the ones who do a lot of work to figure out who their target market is and cr

  • GOOD GOD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:13AM (#30260052)

    Did the submitter forget his Twitter account password? Is his navel so big that he can't help but gaze into it?

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:14AM (#30260056) Journal

    I'm a software developer. In my experience, "IT" is a term used by non-engineers as a catch-all for "that which my English degree failed to equip me to understand". Kind of like when they say "microchip".

    -jcr

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acehole (174372) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:17AM (#30260074) Homepage

    In my view of the industry when someone says IT I think of the technical support, admin and sys planning teams. The ones who make the systems work and keep working.

    Programmers and the such, I put in the developers group. Graphic designers, html jockeys or software developers. The ones who make what people see on their desktops look pretty.

    You dont call someone who washes your car and gives it a bit of a polish a mechanic would you?

  • I'll let you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:17AM (#30260076) Journal

    call me Sue if you'll give me a job.

  • by Niobe (941496)
    Like it says
  • by lewko (195646) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:22AM (#30260098) Homepage

    Just call them the 'Tech Department' or the 'Engineering Deptartment?'" [sic]

    The spelling Deptartment just called. They need more budget.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:24AM (#30260102)

    Information technology [wikipedia.org] (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is "the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware."

    IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.

    You ARE in IT.

    However, it's the equivalent of calling a Brain surgeon a Doctor

    Or referring to a Nuclear physicist as a scientist.

    It is kind of vague. Sometimes being more specific is good, as it points out people's specialty more.

    • by kjart (941720)

      However, it's the equivalent of calling a Brain surgeon a Doctor

      I really find this medical analogy apt, especially when extended a bit. Everyone in 'IT' does have some generalized knowledge, but that doesn't mean that the programmer is necessarily going to be able to help you figure out how to do something Word, just like a brain surgeon might not be the best person to help you with your ingrown toenail.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by doghouse41 (140537)

      I expect Accountants get tired of it too (Wait! You mean the girl who looks after the petty cash isn't interchangeable with the CFO?)

    • by psnyder (1326089) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:50AM (#30260210)
      I think it's more like calling a brain surgeon, "medical staff", since that can apply to interns and support staff in the same way as IT.

      You're right, but I also see his point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:25AM (#30260104)
    the job will be out-sourced soon, anyway.
  • What's in a name (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:27AM (#30260112)
    When I graduated there was the programmer, technical designer, conceptual designer and analyst ladder to climb. And I tried it.

    The you realize the tunnel view you get when following such a path. And after a couple of years of having tried to adopt a fancy name -senior consultant, senior anything- I resolved to name myself that what defines me. If people ask I'll tell them I'm a programmer. Doing well for years with a lovely family, a very good income and a sports car that turns heads. But still a programmer.

    I can develop products -which is much more than coding-, I can look through the organization and suggest improvements and I can tell anyone paying me he's brilliant. Still I'm a programmer.

    Mainstream will never be able to keep cracks charlatans so don't set your hopes too high on job titles.

    Consider job titles at Google. Naming Vint Cerf an Internet Evangelist is a way of telling the world that job titles don't really matter and that the substance matters way more.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:37AM (#30260158) Homepage Journal

    IT guys are the scumbags who put desktop remote control software on my suse workstation. They are the reason I keep rootkits (ie, system rescue CDs) in my desk draw, and why most of the guys I directly work with run gentoo.

    These are the people who solemnly told me they would improve my WAN latency issue by compressing the link. When I said that won't work they said they could always put two compressors in series.

    When they replaced my Dell desktop with an equally crappy ASUS or something they replaced the Dell branded logitech keyboard and mouse with an ASUS branded logitech keyboard and mouse on the grounds that using the wrong type of peripheral might cause "incompatibilities".

    Since they stopped supporting POP and SMTP I now have to use outlook inside windows inside vmware, except there used to be outlook web access which stopped working last weekend so I logged a call with the helpless desk and they got the whole story (running firefox on suse, etc) then they had to get me to give them the version of IE I had there (stuffed if I know why). So they didn't fix it (Exchange server cant authenticate me for some reason) and escalated it a few times then the second or third level guy called me back and asked if I had thought of restarting firefox. When I said yes he asked if I had restarted my system (said so, I had an import or ten on the go at the time). This after I had given them the error message which came back from exchange.

    I wish I could sack these idiots. In theory they work for my organisation you know, but they seem to have their hooks in us.

    • by xous (1009057) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:52AM (#30260214) Homepage

      Someone seems to have confused someone who can turn on a computer with a competent technician.

      The people you speak belong in a call center reading a script to AOL users.

      How do these people get these jobs?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There's a few colleges in a similar situation where it seems basically students who know how to manage with computers will avoid their college helldesk like the plague. Leading to getting, well, people who get taken on"do you want to work in IT?" "what's IT?" "you're hired!"

    • Does the word WANKER have anything to do with WAN latency ?

  • I don't like people assuming that since my group is part of IS that we are "just" technology people. Yeah, we are programmers, but we are far more than that. We have to truly understand the business needs of our organization, and we do. We are partners with the business units, not just a bunch of geeks turning out code that we hope does what is needed, or coding to specs that may or may not be the best solution that some accountant thought up.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:44AM (#30260180) Homepage

    "The phrase 'IT' is so overused, I'm not sure what it means any more.
    It means "information technology".

    OK, maybe it's an ego thing, but I spent a lot of years in grad school, lots of years getting good at creating software, and lots of years getting good at creating technical products and I don't want the same label as the intern who fixes windoze.
    What's wrong with that? Are you really so shallow as this? (Don't answer) I can understand wanting some sort of prestige, but not liking something because the proles get to have it too is one of the worst features of human nature, and it's something that used to get trained out of non-upper-class Americans. Is it really that irritating to be in the same industry as the intern who fixes "Windoze"[sic]? From urbandictionary.com: douchebag "An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears."

    How does the following passage make you feel? Does it make you feel comforted or outraged?

    "What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it."
    --Andy Warhol

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by mwvdlee (775178)

      How does the following passage make you feel? Does it make you feel comforted or outraged?

      Outraged. The idea that America (I assume he's speaking about the USA, not actually America, the continent) started something that pretty much existed since the beginning of time is... well... a bit silly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      Ha! You call *him* self-important?

      Well you could have called me King of Computing; Lord Protector of Communication Infrastructure; Suzerein of Anything That Might Break; and Keeper of the Secret of Setting Digital Watches.

      I'd have answered to Patron Saint of Lost Files or The Last Best Hope of the Desperate Cubicle Dwellers.

      I don't play that role any longer, but when I did, I had no doubt I was important to *other* people. They turned to me when they were in doubt or trouble, and I and I sent them away

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:44AM (#30260186)

    Do you really value titles before substance?

    'IT Guy' isn't a term of abuse, why should you care if people call you that?

    Do they value you in your current position? Of so great, if not fix it or leave. Either way being called an 'IT Guy' is not worth worrying about.

  • by argent (18001) <peter AT slashdo ... taronga DOT com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:59AM (#30260238) Homepage Journal

    That's THE title at Bell Labs. If it's good enough for Dennis it's good enough for me.

  • by hagrin (896731) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:59AM (#30260242) Homepage Journal
    "Don't call me IT Guy, IT Buddy. Don't call me IT Buddy, IT Friend."
  • by NoPantsJim (1149003) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:09AM (#30260278) Homepage
    It drove me nuts being in college and meeting "IT" majors. I would ask them questions like what they like to program in or what kind of Linux they use, but anything I asked beyond the technical skills required to setup a standard home Linksys router was met with a blank stare and an explanation of how good they are with anti-virus and firewalls. It made me wonder why as an aviation major I knew ten times more than any IT major I ever met.
  • Try doing a PhD concerned with the hardware implementation of pretty hardcore mathematics for wireless communications and have someone refer what you do to be "IT". Without trying to sound like some form of zealot, the best thing I did was switch to a Mac. Not because it is a superior environment or anything, but because when someone has a Windows problem I feign ignorance and say "sorry, not sure, I don't use Windows these days".
  • IT Guy ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by erica_ann (910043) * <erica.stjohn@gmail.com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:20AM (#30260308) Homepage Journal

    yup, specially when the client realizes I am a woman, not a guy :)

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      yup, specially when the client realizes I am a woman, not a guy :)

      Non-sense! There are no females on the Internet.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:33AM (#30260346)
    I am a systems architect. I've been a systems architect on and off for 25 years. During that time my job title has included Engineering Director, CFO, Systems Manager and CIO, depending on the size of company I've worked for.

    Would you call someone who designs aircraft engines a mechanic? Would you call someone who designs central heating boilers a plumber? Would you call someone who runs a team working on ALU design at Intel an electrician?

    My point is that nowadays IT is actually a trade, and mostly attracts the sort of people who in the past would have become plumbers, electricians and mechanics. Which is not to knock them, because these are essential and valuable trades, but basically they implement what other people have designed and specified. Programmers who are not just coders, systems designers, user interface designers - these are creative professions.

    In the UK we have a terrible tradition of confusing professionals with tradesmen, caused by our emphasis on "administrative" skills. We've just had the Government dismiss their principal expert on drugs because he dared to disagree with the irrational "omg smelling cannabis kills you I need a stiff drink or five before I can go back to work" culture of the Government and the Civil Service. In a properly organised world we would sack the Government for lying to us, but in the mind of the Govt., Prof. Nutt's status is about that of a plumber. The point is that you go to tradesmen for advice on implementation of what you want to do, but you go to professionals to tell you what to do in the first place. You somehow need to get back to that position (I say you. I hope to retire in 5-6 years; then it will be someone else's problem. For now, I am quite happy being a software architect, because that is actually what I do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644)

      You're a pet peeve of mine ;)

      I design buildings for a living, and in my field, the job title "architect" is pretty highly regulated. I have a masters degree in architecture and over 4 years of experience practicing, yet I can't refer to myself as anything containing the word "architect" or else I face potential legal issues. To use the word "architect" in my job description, I have to be licensed, which requires 3 years of internship work, then passing a bunch of licensing exams. And then continuous educat

  • I couldn't give a stuff what they call me. People at work generally know if they want their PC to be fixed, we have two people in the department who spend much time fixing PCs. They know if they need something developing, they go the developers. But it's all the "IT department" and the "IT guys". People seem to be able to figure out that we're not all the same, regardless.

    Similarly, we call everyone in finance "the bean counters" right from the lowliest of them all the way up to the CFO.

    Who cares.

  • Deptartment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:53AM (#30260412) Homepage

    One thing is certain: Referring to any group as a deptartment (or worse, a deptardment) will not win favor with anyone, top-tier talent or not.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:31AM (#30260622) Homepage
    I find those that are worried about their title are generally those who obtained a degree and think that anything less than the title of their choice is offensive because they take their degree far too seriously or people who, for whatever reason (ie no degree or just stupid) don't feel qualified for the job and want a excellent job title to reaffirm they're doing their job right and it will help when they're caught out and need to be find a job elsewhere.

    We already have numerous title for someone who does programming. Too many in fact and it's because of those two types mentioned above or companies wanting to avoid paying a decent wage by giving you a title that is hard to compare to other titles.
  • Dialect (Score:3, Informative)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:26AM (#30260870) Homepage

    Briefly adding my own $0.02:

    In Britain, 'IT' seems more acceptable to be used as a catchall for anything computer-related. In the US, many narrow the definition to helpdesk support, and the personnel responsible for the ongoing operation of anything computer-related. Developers and architects are separate (with DBAs and a few other positions hanging somewhere in the void between) --- I'm not sure if this is a regional distinction in the US, primarily because personnel in these fields tend to move around quite a bit.

    Frankly, they're both valuable professions. I've worn both hats, and it's a bit of a shock to make the switch from one to the other, as both fields evolve and change so rapidly that it's very difficult to stay current in both. That said, I can easily understand why one would want their job title to accurate reflect their duties!

  • by pondlife (56385) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @02:44PM (#30262918)

    So apparently you want to be taken more seriously, but you decide to drop "windoze" into your question? Do you really think that the people who hand out jobs - and titles - care about your personal prejudices? As a professional, if the best solution for your company is "Microsoft`s platform" then you deliver it, you don't spend time complaining about how no one respects you because your proposal to migrate Visual Studio to vi isn't taken seriously. If it makes sense, make a business case for it and argue for it, but if the guys upstairs decide against it then either shut up or get out. This is what happens every day in Sales, Marketing, Production, Finance etc., but you seem to believe that IT is different.

    If you're so obsessed about a job title then insist on it your contract. As some people say, that may make sense if you're concerned about your next job, but how bad is this job if you're already thinking about the next one?

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc.rrTIGER.com minus cat> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @02:58PM (#30263016) Homepage

    My first IT job was as a basic programmer on the TRS-80 back in the 80's when I was a kid (unique situation where the grown ups had no idea what to do with it but the company thought they needed to do inventory on a computer). Since then I have been called a Web programmer, router jockey, network engineer, NTAC, consultant, etc... The most offensive to me is Engineer, not for me but for those that really are engineers, I have no engineering degree and dont operate locomotives so I qualify for neither. I work in IT, I do alot of things. IT changes so often that there is no box to really put into it as a title description. IT Person works just fine.

    I've really never understood the obsession with cool titles, I have worked with others who thought they had to have some goofy title as if it somehow made them royalty. As long as you get a paycheck and are treated with a fair amount of dignity does it really matter?

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