MonkeyPuzzle Computers: Ilminster, Somerset

Dispelling the Myth of the IT Geek

This article stems from a presentation I made to the 4Networking group in Taunton a few months ago. The idea was not to refute the fact that IT geeks exist, but rather to make the point that you don’t have to put up with an IT Geek supporting your company.

Now, I realise I am being a little unfair and poking fun at a stereotype, however I’m quite sure some of the elements of our stereotypical geek will ring true with readers. If it was simply a case of IT geeks resembling the misfits in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd, we might find them endearing and full of comedy value. The reality is that IT support can be provided by those who revel in jargon, delight in proving their superiority and lack in the most basic of social graces.

Do any of the following strike a chord as characteristics of an IT geek?:

  • IT is held on a pedestal and not the mere likes of you
  • IT is something of a black art not to be shared
  • They cultivate a feeling of you being in their debt
  • You get the sense that the real problem is you actually using your IT, instead of leaving well alone
  • Slightly snide, condescending attitude
  • A particular warped sense of humour

So, if those are some of the defining elements of an IT geek and are what we have traditionally had to put up with, what should we expect instead?

I would suggest in the first place that IT support is fundamentally about your business, not about the latest technology. IT should be there to fulfil a need, solve a problem or help push your business forward. The IT really is the means and not the end.

As an investment, the money you spend on IT should do one of the following for your business;

  • do things more quickly
  • do things for less money
  • lead to more effective use of time

Money spent on IT should equate to more profit by saving time, increasing productivity or adding new features. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it should lead to a measurable benefit.

And if your tame IT geek can’t justify IT spend in terms of how it will benefit the business and in plain English, then I suggest there is another way.


And by way of a humorous interlude, perhaps this demonstrates my point perfectly:

A farmer is out in the middle of a barren hillside, tending to his sheep, when suddenly a black RangeRover comes hurtling towards him. It stops, and a man dressed impeccibly in an Italian suit and wearing designer sunglasses gets out.

"If I can tell you how many sheep you have here," he asks, "can I have one of them?"

The farmer replies "I suppose so.".

The man reaches into his car and pulls out a GPS receiver and laptop, connects it to a satellite phone, and logs onto the internet. He immediately goes to the NASA website, logs into the satellite page, uploads his current latitude and longitude and requests a high resolution thermal satellite image with 20cm resolution. He then runs the image through image processing software which counts all the heat sources. Subtracting two, for himself and the farmer, he proudly announces that there were 483 animals on the hillside.

"That's correct" replies the farmer, to which the man lifts the nearest animal and places it in the back of his Range Rover.

The farmer then asks "If I can tell you what you do for a living, can I have it back?" The man agrees, and the farmer announces with confidence that he's an IT Consultant.

"How did you know that?" he asked.

"Simple really," replies the farmer. "You arrive here without being asked, try to impress me with the latest must-have technology, only to give me the answer to a question which I already knew. More importantly you know absolutely nothing about my business. Now.... can I please have my dog back?"



Added By: Phil Wright on 25th May 2010 - 12:20
Last Updated: 25th May 2010 - 12:49

Number of Views: 3092
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