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The Dirty Jobs of IT

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the we-care-a-lot dept.

IT 162

dantwood writes "In an Infoworld article, Dan Tynan writes about the '7 Dirtiest Jobs' in IT. Number three? Enterprise espionage engineer (black ops). 'Seeking slippery individuals comfortable with lying, cheating, stealing, breaking, and entering for penetration testing of enterprise networks. Requirements include familiarity with hacking, malware, and forgery; must be able to plausibly impersonate a pest control specialist or a fire marshal. Please submit rap sheet along with resume.'" Paging Mike Rowe, Mike Rowe to the IT desk.

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Link covers several pages (5, Informative)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708842)

One-page link. [infoworld.com]

Re:Link covers several pages (2, Insightful)

waterwingz (68802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710568)

Sorry - the OP of this thread is not really that informative. On most websites that insist on stretching their articles out over many pages there is often a "Printer Friendly" link at the top. That usually gives you the whole article on one page with a minimum of ads and dancing baloney.

A script has tried to read private data (1, Offtopic)

gomiam (587421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708870)

That link is certainly weird. While loading, a script tried to "read private data from any window". Is Infoworld hacked or something?

Uhm... (4, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708880)

lying, cheating, stealing, breaking, and entering for penetration testing of enterprise networks

Sounds like fun.

Re:Uhm... (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708926)

Yeah, like rich people who get their 'people' to pay shop keepers to look the other way while the lady does some shoplifting for the giddy thrill of it.

Re:Uhm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22708996)

Huh?

Re:Uhm... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709132)

He's talking about playing at being criminal instead of actually being one.

Mike Rowe? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709260)

Would this then, be a description of Mike Rowe Soft?

Jus' wonderin'...

Re:Mike Rowe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710170)

It's sad that this Mike Rowe dude didn't fight back.
Didn't he have the right to own that domain?

Re:Mike Rowe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710536)

He is too busy hosting 'Dirty Jobs' on the discovery channel!

Re:Uhm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22708958)

lying, cheating, stealing

Someone call Darl McBride, I hear his gig as SCO has come to an end ...

Hey You! (1)

Sillygates (967271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709942)

Scrub down that database!

Re:Uhm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710096)

lying, cheating, stealing

Those wrestling fans out there... who remembers Eddie Gurerro?

Re:Uhm... (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710234)

I guess that's better than brush up my JCL :).

Re:Uhm... (5, Funny)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711558)

You know, running a penetration testing firm sounds like an excellent cover for black-hat hackers.

Nothing gives you plausible deniability for your data heists like being paid to try stealing it in the first place...

On TV? (2, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708890)

When will this be on Dirty Jobs [discovery.com]

Re:On TV? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711602)

When will this be on Dirty Jobs
Never, because only one of these jobs actually involved dirt in the sense that Mike Rowe deals with. The rest were just trials and tribulations of a typical IT person, and one or two about IT workers with questionable ethics.

What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22708894)

No spammer/antispammer?

Mike Rowe! (1, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708898)

Hey, last time Mike Rowe was on Slashdot he was getting sued by Microsoft!

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/19/133233&tid=109 [slashdot.org]

Now that's a dirty job.

Re:Mike Rowe! (5, Informative)

Alexx K (1167919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709084)

Actually, this guy [wikipedia.org] is the TV narrator, and this guy [wikipedia.org] was sued by Microsoft.

Re:Mike Rowe! (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709306)

Wow, I didn't realize that, thanks for the update, Alexx K.

I would have had First Post.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22708906)

but I had to hide the fact I was there...!

What about the guy (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708936)

who publishes stories on IT web sites and only puts a tiny amount of information on each page but has tons of pages in a desperate attempt to increase ad revenue? I think that should be #1 on the list.

Re:What about the guy (5, Informative)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709244)

Welcome to *world. Everytime you see a URL that ends with ...world.com you're in for a shite load of badly designed pages with a minimum of technical content strewn about a myriad of ugly web-widgets in an attempt to outwit adblock+. Good luck with that! No need to RTFA when that's the case, it's safe to assume anything from the summary.

Re:What about the guy (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709426)

Or, how about the guy who publishes user-submitted stories with varying amounts of information on geek websites, adds a misleading headline and sensationalizes the summary, including several misspelled words, and then sits back and waits for all the users to write things like "Fr1st Ps0t", "In Soviet Russia...", "I for one welcome..." and goatse.cx links, all in a desparate attempt to increase subscribers and ad revenue?

I, for one, welcome our new dirty, spelling-challenged, sensationalizing user-submitted story-posting editor overlords!

Re:What about the guy (2, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710856)

No, because whoever wrote that isn't in IT, he's a journalist. Writing articles to maximize the number of ads is an important part of his job. If he thought that writing pages like that was a Bad Thing, he'd be in a different industry.

Depends what you mean by "dirty" (5, Insightful)

NMajik (935461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708956)

If "dirty" implies unpleasant to preform, I think anything that forces you interact with an end user should be higher on the list. If "dirty" implies morally wrong, only the espionage engineer seems to apply. But if "dirty" implies physically dirty, only 1 and 2 apply. This article seems to combine all the different definitions, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. I think intern would fit somewhere on the list event though it isn't a job, exactly. You get to experience whatever other people would like to avoid, so you get a nice spectrum of unpleasantry.

Re:Depends what you mean by "dirty" (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709362)

If "dirty" implies morally wrong, only the espionage engineer seems to apply.
What about "kiss-ass golden boy" or "underpaid so has to pimp self out to on-line video chat room using company's servers" or "sewer-control-system-maintainer". I think the black-ops job is far from dirty - sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to me and the people doing it are probably loving it.

Re:Depends what you mean by "dirty" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22709842)

What about "kiss-ass golden boy" or "underpaid so has to pimp self out to on-line video chat room using company's servers" or "sewer-control-system-maintainer".

All redundant, Windows admins are already covered by "onsite reboot specialist".

Left out ecommerce (5, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708970)

For a time I was the primary (er, only) technical person for an eCommerce site. I learned one important lesson. Sales people have zero morals. They would lie to their own mother to make a sale. Hell, they would toss in sex with their baby sister to make a sale. I felt sleazy just keeping their servers running. I hope I never have to take that kind of job again.

Re:Left out ecommerce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22709838)

Hell, they would toss in sex with their baby sister to make a sale.
What are they selling and where can I buy some?

Left out Multi-Level Marketing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710344)

Pretty early on in my career, I worked at a Multi Level Marketing [read: Pyramid Scheme] company.
The company makes multi-millions, and I was personally in charge of the systems that calculates, tallies, and print out "reward" cheques every month. I had to be intimately familiar with all the details and clauses and sub-clauses and secret definitions of obvious words like "one week" or heck even what "50" means. I knew first hand that what our marketing people said was very different from what our sales people said, which is different from when people call our customer service, and which in turn is many miles away from how the system actually works.

They never lie, because you get sued when you lie.

But ever since, I have been convinced that it is dirtier to speak in half-truths and equivocations than out-right lies.

[confession]
I was young and dismissed my disgust at the company as my being too "picky" about jobs. I convined myself to tough it out. Eventually I found out the company was stealing from ME, and only then did I quit. So I already got what I deserved. [/confession]

sorry about posting as AC, but I have a rather unique handle I've been using for quite a few years.

Re:Left out ecommerce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710364)

I'd go so far as to say _comissioned_ sales people would lie to their own mother. Including ones operating under sales metric "incentive" programs. I've had a good time dealing with the current non-comission based travel insurance company sales reps i work with.

Sounds like you were me. or i was you......one of those.

Re:Left out ecommerce (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711546)

Don't ever work for an insurance/financial services company then. Which is basically the same as a commissioned sales force anyway. Those assholes would give up their firstborn and their wives for an extra $10K in commissions.

Again with the Wikipedia!! (4, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22708998)


What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site [discovery.com] ??

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (2, Funny)

junner518 (1235322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709300)

I'd trust wikipedia with my life.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (4, Funny)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711048)

Weird, that's not what your wikipedia page says...

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (5, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709374)

What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site?

Well, I looked at your link [discovery.com] and I see some ads and a big Flash thingy. (I'm using FlashBlock [mozdev.org] so I have to click to view Flash. Wonderful!) If I load the Flash, I see some fancily designed animated cruft with a bunch of buttons that may or may not lead to actual information. Much of text is at slightly random skewed angles, and there's no obvious place to find basic facts.

When I look a the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , on the other hand, I see no ads, no Flash, and some nicely formatted text, written to give quick answers, laid out in tidy sections, all using a standard format that I'm familiar with from a bunch of previous visits.

Other than that, no reason.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

sczimme (603413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709850)


Well, I looked at your link and I see some ads and a big Flash thingy. (I'm using FlashBlock so I have to click to view Flash. Wonderful!) If I load the Flash, I see some fancily designed animated cruft with a bunch of buttons that may or may not lead to actual information. Much of text is at slightly random skewed angles, and there's no obvious place to find basic facts.

I am deeply sorry you needed an additional click to see the content; you obviously didn't click any of the links or you would have gotten some hints about the show. Oh, that's right: the text was skewed. Try tilting your monitor and/or your head - that might help. I'm using AdBlock so I don't see ads. *shrug*

When I look a the Wikipedia article, on the other hand, I see no ads, no Flash, and some nicely formatted text, written to give quick answers, laid out in tidy sections, all using a standard format that I'm familiar with from a bunch of previous visits.

So your grumbling boils down to a) Flash and b) your comparative lack of familiarity with the Discovery Channel sites. Yes, those are indeed compelling arguments. *rolls eyes*

The original point stands: it is silly to use Wikipedia when there are better/more direct sources. Basic critical thinking skills will allow you to see that.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (5, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710124)

So your grumbling boils down to a) Flash and b) your comparative lack of familiarity with the Discovery Channel sites.

No, my point is that Wikipedia is easier to get information out of. That's because they understand that fancy design reduces utility [useit.com] . Further, their only reason for existence is to provide answers, whereas the Discovery Channel has different purposes, like promoting their show, reinforcing the fan base, and selling my attention to advertisers.

And suggesting that it's somehow more efficient to become familiar with every primary-source site on the web rather than just one? You can't expect to be taken seriously with statements like that, can you?

it is silly to use Wikipedia when there are better/more direct sources. Basic critical thinking skills will allow you to see that.

Basic critical thinking skills? Yes, please use them before posting. It will save us all some time.

More direct sources are very rarely better for a quick overview, which is why I have shelves of dictionaries, almanacs, concordances, indexes, encyclopedias, guides, maps, analyses, abstracts, and literature surveys. I also have plenty of primary sources, and go to them when needed. But the whole point of an encyclopedia, on-line or off-, is to make basic info more conveniently available than primary sources. Which is what 99% of people want as a starting point. If you don't, fine. Post your little link and move along.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (0, Troll)

Arapahoe Moe (665219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710314)

Oh, just stop. He called you on your ridiculosity, so just walk away. You're just making yourself look like an ass. If you wanted your point to be Wikipedia is easier to get information out of., then you should have just said that. Instead you dressed it up with all this Flash FLASH flash WIKI wiKI wiki flash, oops I pooped my pants, wiki Flash, nonsense. Ironically, you've dressed your point up such that you might have well used FLASH to make a cartoon that explains your point. GOD.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

landonf (905751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711124)

The poster's response didn't seem ridiculous to me. He was simply pointing out the undue complexity of the destination site.

Moreover, he's right. Wikipedia -- as an independent third party dedicated to neutral point-of-view articles -- is likely to provide useful information about the show, as compared to an entity with a vested interest.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710274)

Don't forget the feeling of smug self-satisfaction.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711258)

Don't forget the feeling of smug self-satisfaction.

On Slashdot? No worry that will get forgotten. Here we all worship at the church of Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris [c2.com] .

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709378)

What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site ??

I don't know. Maybe I'm not in the US and don't know WTF the Discovery Channel is all about? Or maybe it's that getting comprehensive information from an independent source is preferable to searching it out from a business trying to promote something?

I'm a big fan of The Discovery Channel and especially Mike Rowe. But if I really wanted to know something about either, I would need to make my first stop, for better, or worse, at Wikipedia.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (2, Insightful)

georgeav (965554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709854)

Wikipedia is lynx [wikipedia.org] friendly.

Re:Again with the Wikipedia!! (1)

Brian Puccio (736595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710656)

Chances are the Wikipedia link will work a whole lot longer, I'd guess that it is less susceptible to linkrot.

slashdot editor (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709024)

Slashdot editor. Just think of all the firehose entries you have to post^H^H^H^Hedit.

dirty job? (2, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709030)

Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job. Sounds awfully simple to me. If anyone ever asked me to pull some illegal bullshit job like that I'd be like "Hmm, yeah can you repeat that and speak closer to my MP3 recorder?"

Re:dirty job? (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709096)

Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job.

And hope your next employer doesn't hear about what you did...

Re:dirty job? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709170)

Or hope that your new boss has higher morals (Unlikely, but you never know).

Re:dirty job? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709394)

And hope your next employer doesn't hear about what you did...
Indeed, it would be have been better if they didn't take him away, but took him 'out'.

Re:dirty job? (3, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709186)

Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job. Sounds awfully simple to me. If anyone ever asked me to pull some illegal bullshit job like that I'd be like "Hmm, yeah can you repeat that and speak closer to my MP3 recorder?"
They're talking about being a pen-tester.
The company that you're breaking into hired your firm to test their security.

Enterprise espionage engineer? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709082)

How about Consumer Espionage Engineer . That's what that **AA is into these days. They probably pay pretty good money for individuals with low enough morals to spy on their friends,... ;-)

Black Ops IT is another way of saying (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709120)

Official arrestee when they break the LAW in the process of doing their "job".

Finally (4, Funny)

redeye01 (1254108) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709136)

Finally some recognition.
Dirty IT job No. 7: Legacy systems archaeologist WANTED: INDIVIDUALS FAMILIAR WITH 3270

#7 seems pretty sweet (4, Insightful)

sokoban (142301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709188)

Hey, that #7 job doesn't sound bad at all. Legacy systems? I'll take that any day over most of those other jobs. It's probably not very outsourceable and is obscure enough that when you actually do a good job you'll be revered as a god by those who depend on your work.

Re:#7 seems pretty sweet (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710414)

In case you missed it, the one ranked 7th is the least worst of the jobs. So, yes, it makes perfect sense that the other 6 are worse.

Servicing equipment neglected for years (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22709192)

How about equipment in an 'institutional' environment? Replacing printers, terminals and interface hardware in areas where the dust lays almost an inch thick like dryer lint. One spark in the wrong place and FWOOOM. How about facilites where there are wiring problems? Never touch a metal doorframe and a metal computer case at the same time, cause you'll get a jolt (not cola). How about servicing a line printer with five guys with guns on one side and a score or more of arrestees peering at you behind an expanded steel screen with the place smelling like BO, spit and fingerprint ink?

Mixed Metaphors? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709240)

"I know of at least one major office supply retailer that powers its site by connecting AS400s to Web front ends," says Andrew Gelina, CEO of Syrinx Consulting, in Waltham, Mass. "The cost of rewriting or migrating these apps is huge and the risk is high, so they look for any way possible to reuse and reconnect to modern technologies. It's like marine archeology. You'll need a spelunker to dive deep into them, figure out how they can be bolted and duct-taped into a more modern integration engine, like a SOAP/XML front end."


A spelunker explores caves, not underwater wrecks.

Re:Mixed Metaphors? (2, Insightful)

Faylone (880739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710512)

While a spelunker isn't likely to be going to explore underwater wrecks, they very well may be going to explore underwater caves. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Mixed Metaphors? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711268)

they very well may be going to explore underwater caves.
An odd choice of words. Cave diving is a dangerous, niche sport. The certification rituals are quite difficult-- whereas getting a recreational diving license is fairly easy, and caving clubs are ubiquitous.

In any case, software archeology presents no risk of death-- despite what Vernor Vinge's novels might imply.

Risking your life to test security (5, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709254)

I took a security course at Interop many years ago. The guy who taught the course worked on a "Tiger Team" that tested the security of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. They only base employee who knew in advance was the base commander.

My teacher stayed in a nearby motel and hacked in over the telephone, but a military officer with expertise in security parachuted into the base at night - it's a big base, with lots of wide open space.

He started breaking into computer rooms. Interestingly, he was detected but not caught. My teacher intercepted emails from the base staff warning that an intruder had been seen in the area.

Eventually they went public, and submitted a report to the staff as to how they could improve security.

They emphasized that this sort of thing is meant to help, and not to cost anyone their jobs.

Re:Risking your life to test security (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709372)

Parachute eh? Why not just wait until there's an airshow at Holloman airforce base, which is right next door, and drive over to White Sands.. it's not like they have any real border security between the two. I know because I nearly accidentally drove the wrong way into White Sands last time I was at Holloman.. thankfully they do put up a nice big sign saying "WARNING: rockets being tested".

Number 8 BSA guy (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709280)

Number 8 BSA guy

#0 dirtiest IT job (4, Funny)

freelunch (258011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709308)

Slashdot Dupe Checker.

Re:#0 dirtiest IT job (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709354)

Just a note for job-seekers: the above position is yet to be filled. Please drop off resumes at /dev/null.

Why does the link go to the end page of the story? (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709416)

Is there a compelling reason to make us start at the end of the article? Other than possibly heading off a hundred "WHY ISN'T THIS ARTICLE ALL ON ONE PAGE?!" posts, I mean?

A.K.A (0, Troll)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709430)

Also known as s.h.I.T. a recent innovation in CS

Penetration Testing? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709460)

From TFA: "For tips on penetration testing, see "How to think like an online con artist"
Like any /.'ers know anything about penetration. hehe

Help Desk Zombie (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709520)

Must disagree with the crack about low self-esteem. Having never worked help desk, I say these troopers are surprisingly patient and well-balanced individuals. These troopers must be commended not only for their ability to abstract problems and processes, but also for their increasingly rare phone skills. They are good guys. Now... desktop support itself can get pretty dirty... as in when the PEBKAC is the sticky grime on the keyboard itself.

Re:Help Desk Zombie (1)

Brewskibrew (945086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710870)

I have infinite respect for help desk phone agents who can walk a customer through describing a problem over the phone and managing to interpret what they're saying compared to what's being displayed on the screen. And on top of that, so many of them have language challenges seeing as how they're in Manila or Bangalore or East Bug Burp or wherever these jobs are being outsourced these days. But the desk side people? No way! You actually have to *see* the customer. And they can see you. And ask a billion questions, like "well, since you're here, how do I fix the 12:00 that's blinking on my VCR?". And YOU CANT ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE HANG UP ON THEM! That's the worst job in the IT world!

Number one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22709550)

Steve Jobs?

The real list (5, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709608)

1) Dreamweaver webmaster
2) Keyboard cleaner (cheetos and pepsi and genetic splatter, oh my!)
3) Floating point wrangler
4) Monochrome wire detangler
5) Witnessing <body bgcolor="#FFFF00">
6) rpm dependency arbitrator
7) "Cowboy Neal option" writer

Re:The real list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710746)

8) Perl developer

I don't think so... (4, Insightful)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709638)

...help desk zombie, but even lower on the totem pole, is the on-site reboot specialist...

Having done both, I completely disagree. In fact, I have yet to meet a help desk zombie who hasn't dreamed of becoming an on-site reboot specialist. It doesn't take long for a help desk zombie to wish they could simply get the person on the other end of the phone to do what they tell them and nothing else, or even just understand what they have told them. Getting to be an on-site reboot specialist allows one to work directly on a machine without the person who has no idea playing a literal game of telephone with your instructions to mess things up. In addition, on-site rebooters usually get paid more for doing less and can get rid of angry customers at least for a time by telling them to go get coffee. The only real exception I've seen to this would be the Graveyard Support Vampire who have other priorities than more money or getting the job done ASAP to meet quota.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

Tteddo (543485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709694)

Real call this morning, I am not kidding:

I get a call from one of my customers with a spooler problem. So I say:
"Did you reboot?"
"Yes, several times."
"Well, that's odd because usually with a spooler problem if you reboot
it clears the spooler and your printers come back."
"Oh, well then, I'll try it again and call you back."

So, she started off by friggin' lying. Nice.

Re:I don't think so... (4, Interesting)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710220)

One of the first thing that any IT support person needs to know is that "USERS LIE". With people on the other end of the phone, they are certain there is some secret "fixed" button and if they stall and are a pain long enough, you'll tell them where it is so they make stuff up in an effort to speed things along. Sometimes, you even do tell them where the "fixed" button is (for their problem anyway) and they'll keep on lying because they don't recognise it as being the instructions for pushing the "fixed" button. They may not even know they are lying, but they still lie. Many times, they'll try and describe what is happening, and do so in a way that either offers no information or wrong information who actually knows what the terms they are using actually mean. Then there are the people who simply call the help desk but are still trying to solve the problem on their own. The number of times I've told people to click one button or open a window and not to do anything else, and could hear frantic typing over the phone drives is non-trivial. When I repeat "do not do anything" they'll tell me they aren't. Then when I ask them to do something like read the error message that appears or follow a set of steps that has to be done in order without doing anything else, they tell me to hold on and reboot the machine to return to the state I told them to get in. This in one of the main reasons help desk zombies want to get their hands on the machine, users lie and when the person who is actually trying to fix the machine can't see the machine and must rely upon a lier to tell them what is going in, it makes things really hard.

On the other side of things, the on-site reboot specialists have to deal with the users who give them no information and still expect results.

Dr. House said it best (2, Insightful)

nhtshot (198470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710726)

Even though medicine and IT aren't obviously related, I've garnered a lot of wonderful problem solving theory from Dr. House.

Rule #1: Patients lie

Re:I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710522)

That's because 99 percent of the time she is asked to reboot the computer, it is a problem that is never fixed by rebooting, and the tech support doesn't want to wake up his other brain cell and start thinking about the problem yet, and is just buying time.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Insightful)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710788)

Wrong, verging on flamebait. Chances are they're supporting software running on a Windows OS, and the first point of call when troubleshooting is to start from a fresh reboot.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710818)

I couldn't count the number of times I've been told to reboot the computer as a first resort by DSL/Cable modem support when reporting a modem without sync. Not to mention that one is more or less obligated to lie if one is using a router or VOIP box of any kind, and give feedback as if the computer were directly connected to the internet (shudder).

Re:I don't think so... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710718)

Just out of curiousity, what "other priorities" do you refer to when you talk of the Graveyard Support Vampire? :-)

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22709672)

The guy that had to film the two-girls-one-cup vid. Poor guy.

--AC

#2 isn't dirty in the least (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709742)

It may be undesirable by most of the kids around here, but there is nothing bad about coding COBOL for a living:

You are always in demand, unlike several other IT fields
Pays well
Stable work
Stable code.

Re:#2 isn't dirty in the least (2, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710924)

Stable code.
trust me, all COBOL is not created equal.

Not as good as it could have been. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709778)

It would have been an even better article had they chosen one definition of 'dirty' and stuck with it consistently.

As far as Dirty IT job No. 2: Datacenter migration specialist [infoworld.com] goes... *yawn*. Move a bunch of boxes, cable 'em up and hit the on button. Big Deal. Come talk to me when you've moved an entire printing plant three blocks across three weeks - without interrupting production or missing a deadline.

Saldy I currently do two of those jobs (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709806)

Because I work in education I have to be both a legacy specialist AND help desk. But I honestly dont consider them that dirty personally. Maybe partly because I have a education background, so Im used to working with users, and maybe because I find a elegance in legacy code, but both are fun to me, and both make me almost 50 grand after only 2 years of full time work.

Real Dirt (2)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709984)

More and more I'm finding that simple upgrade jobs are taking longer to do due to masses of dust and crap.
Upgrading a 256mb to 1 gb takes maybe 5 mins. The last one took over an hour, It was so bad I took photos.
The dust was so thick that I had to dismantle everything, vacuum, use artist brushes and compressed air, reassemble after oiling the fans! I even replaced the power supply as it was too stuffed with dust to be safe.
By the time I finished, my workspace was filled with dust, crap everywhere.
Next time I'll blow it out with compressed air outside in the sunlight.

I really didn't think I was special... (3, Funny)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22709988)

...but I've had 5 of these jobs in my career.

No, I haven't had #1, but the wet end of a paper making machine is very close. It's amazing what will grow in warm pulp, if you leave it there a while. And how your shoes literally fall apart when you walk through the stuff they use to clean it off. Literally. In minutes. Leather is no match for DuStrip.

Cat Herder is the worst of them. Being a rebootnik isn't quite as much fun as a third-party field tech, driving back and forto from the airport 3 miles away in a driving snowstorm to get *another* part to make that ^&*) Alpha server run again, so people can rent porn. Yeah. /.'s will get the incredible irony of that.

Shenanigans (2, Interesting)

Fryth (468689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710020)

It's a dirty job to be a penetration tester? Looks pretty cool to me. Awful to stand in a server room sandwiched between (horror!) a server rack and a wall? That's called working in a server room. And since when are support techs all patronizing idiots, and night-shifters all zombies. For the most part, at our company people treat our techs with respect. This is sensationalist BS... a lot of people would kill for any of these jobs.

Forensics Responder (3, Funny)

Rurik (113882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710044)

The lab tech at the police officer that gets to deal with computer crimes. Yeah, once the police knock down the door to the house of someone collecting child porn, he's the guy that has to touch the keyboard...

"Help Desk" is customer service (1)

Lijemo (740145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710466)

Regarding the Undead of #6...

Help Desk is a Customer Service position requiring a basic level of technical competence & teachability, NOT a tech position requiring only a basic level of people skills. This is especially true when the Help Desk person is dealing primarily with people with minimal to no technical skills.

The job should go to someone who likes people-- and who may not want an IT career per se, but does enjoy tinkering around with the stuff a little and learning a little bit about it. It should not go to a tech wizard who just wants to drudge through it so that he can get promoted to a position where he hopes he won't have to deal with another human being ever again.

People skills are more fundamental to the job than technical skills. (and no, I'm not a help-desk person. I like people, but not enough to be able to deal with being interrupted by them every ten minutes all day long.)

Re:"Help Desk" is customer service (3, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710998)

I was just chatting with someone about this the other day.

You're right, Help Desk is a horrible place to expect qualified techies to hang out. It's more of a litmus test than anything else. If you've got some level of skill, you advance out of the help desk and into something useful. If you suck...well...at least you're unlikely to be fired.

Every place I've worked that had a decent sized IT department had two types of people; Help Desk / Operators that had been there 10+ years, and help desk staff that got promoted or moved on within six months.

Hey don't forget... (1)

larpon (974081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710486)

online porn distribution!

Now that's dirty

Due Diligence Blows (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710674)

The guy sent in to probe for the intel of the people who may very well lose their jobs in an oursourcing deal has a crappy job. Those people have zero motivation to help, are often scared and angry.

Waste Treatment Process Control System Maintenance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710774)

How about legacy process control system maintenance for a waste treatment plant? :)

Chemical Plant (4, Interesting)

enigmastrat (1254198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711412)

My best experience with a dirty IT job was at a Chemical Plant turned Furniture Factory. I never before hoped the burning sensation in my hands was just fiberglass.
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