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Do You Hate Being Called an "IT Guy?"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the tech-genius-will-do-nicely dept.

IT 736

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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Can't see why this would matter. (4, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Can't see why this would matter. (2, Insightful)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260080)

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.

It matters to future employers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:It matters to future employers (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260260)

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!

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (4, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (4, Interesting)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (5, Interesting)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (5, Funny)

The Unusual Suspect (980537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260294)

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:Can't see why this would matter. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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."

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (5, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 :)

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260284)

"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"?

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (1)

McHenry Boatride (1661199) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260254)

I think it matters very much that the OP thinks:

"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."

It strikes me that he is not the right person for this management job if he can't retain top-tier talent because of a job title. The good people don't care what their job-title is, just what the work involves. And good managers have better things to care about than job-titles.

Re:Can't see why this would matter. (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260348)

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.

You have an ego problem (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260038)

You're in IT. Deal with it.

Re:You have an ego problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260176)

Yeah, but IT is pretty non-descriptive. Especially as nearly every area of human endeavor starts using computers. The job of a programmer, a systems administrator, a chip designer are not the same.

Re:You have an ego problem (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260202)

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.

Re:You have an ego problem (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260236)

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

Nothing wrong with ego ;) (5, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260282)

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

Grammar Nazi to the Rescue! (4, Insightful)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Grammar Nazi to the Rescue! (5, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Grammar Nazi to the Rescue! (2, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260388)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260044)

Yes that's petty. A rose by any other name smells as sweet.

Just do your job well.

Petty? (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Petty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260092)

I'm sure that this healthy attitude is precisely the same reason that paralegals have a similar salary to senior associates. Especially those that Oh wait...

Re:Petty? (0, Offtopic)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260204)

Yeah but you're a girl.

(hehe how lost would my point be here if you actually were)

Re:Petty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260382)

Your job title being clickclickdrone and the challange the spelling checker?

GOOD GOD (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260052)

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

I'm not an "IT guy". (4, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260056)

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

Re:I'm not an "IT guy". (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260096)

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"

Unfortunately, the CEO probably falls into that category.

Re:I'm not an "IT guy". (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260384)

But he doesn't have an English degree, he studied commerce and has an MBA!

IT guys use the same about other departments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260120)

Honestly, how often do we refer to some people as "He's from the marketing" without going into details. We are aware that marketing department has MBAs, it has interns, it has people who have studied IT, it has all these odd people who have studied language arts, philosophy or such... But we don't care. Why? To us it makes no difference what they have studied. We only care about what are their connections to us.

If you have a masters degree in computer science and you specialized in database technologies but you are doing the same low level tech support as the intern, you are referred to in a similar way. If not, you probably aren't. Or perhaps people will say "Some guy from IT will come and interview us today about that one project..." because they don't (need to) understand IT's work in more details. You can't fix that with fancier titles.

Re:IT guys use the same about other departments (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260152)

Speak for yourself. I worked in a world-class marketing department, and I learned a lot about what marketing should do.

-jcr

Re:IT guys use the same about other departments (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260402)

Speak for yourself. I worked in a world-class marketing company, and I learned a lot about what marketing can do.

FTFY.

New here? jcr worked for Apple.

Re:IT guys use the same about other departments (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260190)

Whether you're a programmer or are IT support is not simple a matter of studying something different... you could study software development and end up in IT support, or you could study biology and end up as a programmer. I don't think this is a matter of refering to someone's abilities, it's a matter of refering to what they actually do. If you work for a marketting company, but you just make the tea, it wouldn't really be correct to say "I work in marketing", because you don't, you just happen to work for a company that is in marketing. You wouldn't call the person who supports their IT needs a marketer any more than you'd call those in marketing 'programmers' because they use a computer.

Your knowledge of the subject may leave you having to round down, but that doesn't mean there's no need for accurate description, you don't need to understand the terms to understand the purpose of a little accuracy. Call a British person French, or a Canadian an American, you might live the other side of the world and so a few miles one way or another makes no different to you, but you can always bet that it matters to them. It's hardly a difficult thing to respect.

Hrmm (4, Insightful)

acehole (174372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260074)

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 (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260076)

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

Get over yourself IT guy (2, Informative)

Niobe (941496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260086)

Like it says

Quality Control (5, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260098)

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

The spelling Deptartment just called. They need more budget.

Information Technology (IT) (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Information Technology (IT) (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260140)

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:Information Technology (IT) (2, Interesting)

doghouse41 (140537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260192)

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?)

Re:Information Technology (IT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260196)

The op is not necessarily in IT just because he/she develops software. Yes, IT as defined in your quote includes software applications, but in the context of providing information management solutions. This is usually associated with in house work (and in the context of software services) like building an enterprise management system, or a paperless billing system, or a event and process management system.

If the OP expects to be developing software that is going to be sold to customers, then IMO he/she is not in IT. I agree with the OP's worry that associating this kind of work with IT in general will either not target potential hirees apropriately at best, outright deter otherwise necessary and fitting talent, or allow management to hire someone else to handle some other domain in the IT realm but then have that person report to the OP in regards to software development efforts, which could be disastrously useless and misguided.

Re:Information Technology (IT) (4, Insightful)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

it doesn't matter (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260104)

the job will be out-sourced soon, anyway.

What's in a name (3, Interesting)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

What about 'Tech Mage'? (1)

andylim (1618383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260118)

Or The Wizard.

Re:What about 'Tech Mage'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260266)

"We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things. The answers to questions that people have asked since time began. Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever, seven words to make them go without pain, how to say goodbye to a friend who is dying, how to be poor, how to be rich...how to rediscover dreams when the world has stolen them from you."

Yeah, definitely doesn't sound like your average IT guy.

Re:What about 'Tech Mage'? (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260280)

I use "Code Ninja" or "The Sexiest Software Engineer" whenever I sign up on online forms.

"Chief Wizard" (1)

davidbrucehughes (451901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260128)

Or you can title yourself Chief Sorcerer, then your reports will be Sorcerers, their reports will be the Sorcerer's Apprentices, etc. I too remember the good old days, heh.

Title or department? (1)

mhelander (1307061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260132)

What's at stake? What your developers get to put on their business cards? If so, are you worried about their titles or what department they will be sorting under?

What would be the problem with having the title Software Developer, or even Software Engineer (say, if that's what someone is) and sort under the IT department?

Being called the IT Girl on the other hand... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260136)

would be pretty cool.

Build a bridge.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260138)

Is there anyway to moderate the article as "troll"?

Re:Build a bridge.... (2, Interesting)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260404)

Ohh... I see your mistake- Digg is down the hallway over there. You might enjoy the Chuck Norris jokes and new screenshots of Halo Warfare 2: Space Crysis.

I swear (1)

anarking (34854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260142)

If one more person says "Oh, you're in IT." one more time, I'm gonna go postal. (do postal workers not like that?) Anyways, it's about the stigma associated with the word. People equate it with lowly service to fix their "CPU" o_0 Helpdesk it what they know. Network engineers, software developers, we need to shatter this image of low-level service said by "IT" and make people realize what it is that we do and how essential it is to them even being able to work or use what products are developed for them. Only then will "IT" get any respect beyond the computer janitor image people so ignorantly have of it now.

Re:I swear (4, Funny)

stjobe (78285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260182)

Oh, you're in IT.

Sorry you don't have a shiny title to distinguish yourself from the lowly CPU-fixers and computer janitors, but there you go.

You're in IT. Face it. You're in IT. No way around it, might as well say it with me: You're in IT.

Re:I swear (0, Troll)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260332)

You're an idiot who thinks that because you don't get something, there must be nothing there to get. You really think that there's nothing that lies outside of your understanding? That if you don't understand why somebody's saying that something "is different", it must not be true, because if it was, you'd already know it? Have you really lived your whole live discovering so very little that you have no concept of 'something that you have not discovered'?

Re:I swear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260408)

Let's face it, if you're professionally involved with computers in a capacity beyond "use this magical glorified typewriter" you're probably someone's CPU fixer outside of work, and since expecting people to know how to be their own computer janitor for everything is close to expecting people to be able to fix their own car or tune their own piano flawlessly because they have one, it won't change. And sadly the tech-dumb don't realize either that the thing they have in their hands they basically know nothing about, because they "know how to use it."
 
You're in IT.

Next Ask Sloshdot question you should ask (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260148)

I suggest first you ask yourself, and if you still can't find an answer, ask Slashdot "Do I have to be a narscissistic, self-centered, prissy, attenttion seeking person?" In this economy where millions of people lose their homes, don't have the means to feed their kids, lack basic health coverage and are grateful for the chance to flip burgers at McDonalds, you have the nerve to pout and poo poo a, I suppose, well paid job just because your colleagues-to-be would use a generic description to refer to what you do. Have you seen a doctor throw a tantrum just because he's been called doctor, while in fact he's a cardiologist?

Please, do us all a favor and join a Wall Street firm where irresponsible, egotistical psychopaths are not called irresponsible, egotistical psychopaths, but investment bankers. (Disclaimer: I realize not everyone at Wall Street is an irresponsible, egotistical psychopath, but enough are to justify the characterization).

Just do your job well, and as long as you get the respect of your peers be grateful you are employed.

This is my fourth or fifth comment since I joined Slashdot almost ten years ago, but your question so incensed me I had to mouth off.

chepati.

Re:Next Ask Sloshdot question you should ask (0, Flamebait)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260352)

Oh please come back and post more often, your amazing insights are invaluable. That's just what this site needs more of, people who'll only come out of the woodwork to express how little they understand of somebody's point of view.

What amazes me is when you saw that ol' "comment" box, you could've written anything, you went with "I know what the world needs, more bitterness!".

In this economy where people are losing their homes?!! Wake up, there're people all over the world who've never even experienced a proper home or job, or not dying with their families of starvation. If you can live your life while that's happening, people can live their lives while there's a credit crunch and unemployment. Somebody not trying to make the most of their own life isn't going to fix -anything-.

I am a software engineer (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260158)

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.

Re:I am a software engineer (3, Informative)

xous (1009057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260214)

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:I am a software engineer (2, Insightful)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260428)

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!"

Re:I am a software engineer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260288)

I laughed when I read the WAN latency issue. The number of IT people that know the difference between latency and bandwidth and their effect on a system is shocking. The number of times I have to explain that no matter how much bandwidth you are getting, it would not make a difference for a lot of applications. (This of course is a more common issue here in South Africa because the lowest possible round-trip latency to the US and Europe is a 100+ms).

I am a sysadmin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260338)

Now, I'm not the kind of sysadmin you're complaining about. I'm the kind of sysadmin that manages fleets of thousands of computers.

I'm the kind of sysadmin that develops systems that automagically reinstalls systems via bootp/tftp etc.etc.

I'm the kind of sysadmins that allow technical people to run whatever they want on their desktops (as long as it's not abusive/disruptive software. In which case I'll bring my two-by-four over to the luser in question and degrade him into non-technical user. Meaning that he'll no longer get to install whatever-the-fsck he wants.

I'm the kind of sysadmin that says "yuck, this piece of shit software is slow", whereupon I strace it, fetches the source-code and figures out that "Oh my! Oh my! That shit is O(n^2) when it's easy to make it O(1).". Whereupon I submit a patch to the developer saying "Yo, please patch". I'm the kind of sysadmin that points out that "Yeah, I realize you think that hardware is inexpensive, but doing tens of thousands of stat() calls against the same files on a netapp per second instead of caching the result is rather stupid".

Software Engineers that consider their local sysadmin a resource rather than an annoyance usually enjoy having me around.

Software Engineers that consider their local sysadmin an annoyance that wasn't good enough to become a software engineer usually realizes they were wrong.

Re:I am a software engineer (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260366)

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

sounds petty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260160)

Yes it sounds petty. Everyone refers to anyone who works in technology as IT! Why? because they have no idea what you do, or for that matter what anyone else does. Information Technology is a broad descriptive title. I don't think it is meant to belittle anyone. Most people on the business side just don't know how to refer to the different areas of IT.

re. IT guy (1)

ramjambam (1416617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260170)

I'm one of those guys who fixes Windows, and I can understand you don't want to be lumped together with us :). How about calling yourself 'software engineers'?

More than IT (1)

spudnic (32107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260174)

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.

Self-important Douchebag (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260180)

"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:Self-important Douchebag (1, Flamebait)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260324)

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.

Honestly yes... (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260184)

Because IT term is so generic... plus many times is used with as a bit of downgrading term...
Cheers,

Re:Honestly yes... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260328)

Using downgrading terms for Us, how dare those lowly "users".

Titles before substance (2, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

IT is infrastructure, not computer science (0)

techmuse (160085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260200)

There are lots of computer related jobs that are definitely NOT IT:

Computer scientist: performs basic research relating to computers and computing technologies
CS Professor: teaches computer science
Developer: *could* be IT, but may be developing software not related to companies at all!
Software architect, Systems architect: creates high level designs for applications, software systems, etc.

IT is the set of people who provide internal computing services to companies, governments, universities, and other organizations. It's an infrastructure service. It takes commercial products (software, hardware, etc.) and configures and maintains them to support the operations of the parent organization. This is very different from developers who *produce* products, or from computer scientists who invent new technologies.

Re:IT is infrastructure, not computer science (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260336)

IT = Information Technology

No matter how you twist it, all of the jobs you list deal with technology that processes information, or "information technology" if you will.

You can refine the job titles if you want (in fact, you've already given some examples), but they are all part of IT.

Re:IT is infrastructure, not computer science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260368)

GP is right, IT guy has connotations of tech support, plumber, electrician etc. Labeling programmers or designers with that is tantamount to bringing highly educated and skilled professionals down to tradesmen level. Any doctor would be pissed off if you called him a nurse, and any surgeon would be pissed if you called him a general practitioner.

Information Systems Developper (1)

etenil (1645213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260216)

Does it sound better and more accurate? after all, a program is a way to process data and information. The guys who repair computers are already called "Computer Support Team" so that should be ok for the distinction.

Cost center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260224)

IT is a cost center. That's the reason sales/business (profit/revenue centers) related position get more respect and status. So you can call IT something else, but it won't change anything.

IT only supports the business where money is made.

Member of Technical Staff (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260238)

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

Title is key in resume searches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260240)

I've been at several jobs where the departmet itself was called something like "IT", but my title was Senior Systems Engineer, and that title was all that ever ended up on the resume. Don't worry about the department's name; worry about your job title. From experience, titles DO matter, especially when they're on your resume. People who think that an HR person or recruiter are going to notice what your title SHOULD HAVE been are either deluded or have no job-hunting skills. Use your leverage to get a good job title, and if that doesn't pan out, use the more accepted title on your resume.

Anyone think of South Park after the summary? (4, Funny)

hagrin (896731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260242)

"Don't call me IT Guy, IT Buddy. Don't call me IT Buddy, IT Friend."

wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260258)

Why do you feel so bad about that label?
Take for example Google, they are all (mostly) IT guys, and everybody thinks they are cool.

(I guess if you really wanted to be regarded differently from the rest, you should have gone into nuclear physics or something...)

I don't work in IT, but.... (2, Insightful)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260278)

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.

Yes, But..... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260322)

Yes, but when someone asked you questions about drag coefficient and fuel consumption, did or did you not answer "Dunno about any of that, but I can fold a mean paper airplane"?

Re:I don't work in IT, but.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260406)

Well, yes. At my school at least, the "IT" major was seemingly designed explicitly for students who started out as CS majors but realized they couldn't hack it. This way they could still do something computer related and apply the credit hours they had earned. The students themselves were pretty frank about this, too.

It could be worse (2, Funny)

atmurray (983797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260286)

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 ? (5, Funny)

erica_ann (910043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260308)

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

Re:IT Guy ? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260360)

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

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

Re:IT Guy ? (2)

erica_ann (910043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260410)

Oh.. How could I have grown up for 30 odd years and never knew this! Thanks for the Enlightenment..

  As far as Enlightenment goes though.. I prefer using Enlightenment (or other WM's) in GNOME and KDE

I really thought I was a female all these years..

now now sensitive are we ? (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260310)

IT Guy sounds better than Accountant or Sanitary Engineer or Sales Guy or ...

ego alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260326)

maybe you should be a 'businessman' instead

Yes, I do. But people don't call me one. (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

I want to be known as Nerd of Doom (1)

FatherDale (1535743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260364)

Mmmm. Nope, not offended. I *am* an IT guy. Since my boss refers to himself as "head geek", I'd have a tough time getting upset by it. I'm the "virus geek" in our shop. What I resent is Best Buy stealin' our titles....

Who *cares*? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260376)

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 (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260412)

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.

Names/labels matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260420)

Yes - it really does matter.

In the very large financial organization I work for, those "in IT" are paid massively less and yet have to know both the business inside out AND the technology inside out (and I get pretty frustrated a lot of the time dealing with those "in the business" who, frankly, don't even know their own business)

We also still have to work all the hours and get all the grief of working in an investment bank (and these can be pretty crappy).

It goes further than this - the top grade in the organization ("Managing Director") is applied to around 1 in 10 people "in the business" and 1 in 250 "in IT". This is justified by the statement that "the business brings in the revenue". Interesting - given that the majority of the revenue in a bank is now brought in by automated systems created by those people "in IT".

Being labeled as "IT" is a problem - because I label myself as "a business person...who also happens to know something about developing systems"

Oh - one last thing. If you speak to someone outside the company and mention who you work for, then you also get all the really lovely hostility that's around right now that's aimed at banks. At that point no-one cares that you're "just and IT guy" - you're an "evil investment banker" who "must earn millions" (I don't - nobody "in IT" earns these sorts of numbers).

All of this is why I am currently looking for a job "in the business" and also why so many people "in IT" are leaving.

Labels matter - a lot.

It's important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260422)

I think it's an important distinction, even if the poster was, in fact, egotistical in making his point. There is a difference between tech support and software development. Both are important in their own regard. Both the highly paid software developer and the lowly intern have their place and their purpose and both deserve the same level of courtesy and professionalism. Not knowing the difference between two different tiers in a position can have negative effects.

One thing is indeed ego. It's in a company's best interest to not insult its employees and keep them happy, even if the insult or happiness might stem from a certain level of egotism. Keeping your employees happy should be a priority for all companies. I think most departments take for granted the distinctions made in their respective fields. Would anyone here refer to his or her CFO as an "accountant"? Would you call your COO an "office manager"? What about your head of public relations? Is that person merely a "marketing type"? No one would refer to the chief officer in any department as the lowest tier of employee in that particular field. So why is that different when it comes to software development?

I think most people should adhere to a certain level of professionalism and refer to their coworkers as the titles that their coworkers feel they deserve. And, try to understand what that title means and relate that to what they should expect that person to do. You should expect tech support to answer your questions about computer problems. You shouldn't expect this of software developers. You should expect them to make software products that your company uses or sells.

There seems to be a double-standard when it comes to "people who know computers".. A lot of people assume that if you are "trained in technology" then you will perform rudimentary tech support for them.

I still remember the first time I saw a mid-level manager call on a company's CIO to perform tech support -- call on the CIO directly, dial the CIO's extension and tell him that he needs to come down here and fix this. I thought it was absolutely absurd to see a man with a graduate degree explaining to an assistant director of a department how to set a printer as the default printer (something I did on my own the three times that our printer crapped out and was replaced in our department). Ego or not, that is beneath a CIO. Who would dare tell their CFO to process payroll checks? Who would angrily tell their CEO to answer the phones when the receptionist steps out for lunch? Yet this seems to be accepted treatment of any and all "computer guys".

Delegation is crucial to a smoothly-run business. Software developers, engineers, or whatever you want to call the people who create software products that your company uses or sells need to focus on just that: software development. Tech support needs to focus on telling people to restart their computers, setting default printers, installing basic software on employees machines, and responding to complaints and questions of people who don't know as much about computer literacy as they should. And I'm sure there are more important things that tech support does as well that I have failed to mention.

I'll admit that is egotistical to a certain degree. But it's still true. When you have random employees pulling important tech people off of important things to explain how memory leaks in Windows leads to their machine "acting weird", then they not only get frustrated, but they are also not making the software products that your company needs. And that will hurt your bottom line eventually.

In conclusion, I just spent a really long time drafting a very wordy anonymous post that no one will ever read and will not even be modded up from 0. Hooray for me.

Cordially,
David 0mega

Get used to it (1)

m1c4a1 (785940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260424)

The term "hacker" was used to describe a technically advanced man, now its prevailing meaning is somebody who attacks networks and computers.

CS vs IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30260438)

Internet Technology is to Computer Science as Lab Assistant is to Scientist.

Especially if you have a masters or Ph.D in CS rather than a 2 year degree in 'IT', you should not settle for being called an IT Guy.

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