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What IT stereotype bothers you?

Brian McNabola
Long time Sysadmin. Now a Environments engineer. Founder of
・1 min read

One of my peeves are the age old. "What does your significant other do?" "Oh they just work with computers."

Discussion (26)

cdvillard profile image
Charles D. Villard

A pet peeve of mine is more along the lines of a culture issue I'm struggling with, so feel free to call me out of it doesn't fit.

It's the notion that if you're working in technology today, you are a young, single person with no other major responsibilities to anyone other than yourself. As a newer developer and father of two, I hate running up against that notion. Which is why it makes me happy when people like Dave Rupert talk about how damn hard it is to learn all of the new things when you have two kids, or when Leah Silber MC'd EmberConf holding her toddler.

chrisvasqm profile image
Christian Vasquez

Is there a video/post about Leah? That sounds amazing!

cdvillard profile image
Charles D. Villard

I tried finding some video of it, but this was told to me by someone who attended Emberconf. If I find it, I'll let you know!

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chrisvasqm profile image
Christian Vasquez


jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

Some inside IT peeves of mine...

One that really bugs me is with other IT people thinking that just because I'm nearing 60 that I haven't kept my skills updated or even that I'm not capable to doing so.

Another peeve is IT recruiters creating listings for "Rockstar Ninja Programmers". Should you wear a leather jacket and strap on a guitar or sport a shinobi shozoku and a ninjatō when you go to the interview? Other "we're such a cool place to work" cliches ("we have foosball tables and play beer pong!") are also annoying but that one annoys me the most.

brianbola profile image
Brian McNabola Author

Totally agree I think some people forget and dont appreciate that modern languages, frameworks and practices are better because of the people who suffered before them.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Most IT stereotypes are useless junk.

Our industry's culture should revolve around a desire to do good work and follow our fascinations in the craft and the image should reflect this. But this is not the case. The IT stereotype expects you to act a certain way, believe certain things and be a certain gender.

IT itself can be pretty bad about self-adornment of stereotypical images, but the broader world's view of the craft seems like it's 30 years behind sometimes.

Beyond the more cultural things, here's a pet peeve of mine that I've encountered in the past: When I'm talking about computers I'm expected to be a wizard, know everything and never make mistakes. When I'm talking about anything else I'm "the computer guy" and should stay in my lane. I'm a marketing major with a diverse background and did lots of different work before settling on mostly coding. It's obnoxious how much you can get pigeonholed.

ipaulson profile image

I'm a certified and experienced teacher with a Master's in Education who does IT for my school district, so I hear you about being pigeonholed as the computer wizard.

But my pet peeve is when people ask me to "do my magic." It's not magic, and calling it magic really blows off the hard work I've put in to learning these skills in addition to the rest of my background.

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Ach, you computer guys should avoid talking politics and culture, go back to your terminal!


speby profile image
Sean Eby • Edited

This is one is debatable but I personally don't like the Front-End Developer versus Back-End Developer versus Full-Stack Developer tropes in hiring. One person can have great skills across all of those, and even many skills within each of those, and not have to be forced to "label" themselves as one kind of a developer or another. Front-End versus Back-End has some unique frameworks but the skillsets themselves are not specifically unique or specialized.

Another one I find annoying is hiring for languages or specific frameworks. So many organizations want something like a Python developer but wouldn't entertain someone who knew Ruby/Rails really well, or some other dynamic language.

Another stereotype is the general "Eye-Tee" stereotype. I never say I am in "IT" because the connotation that many people think of when they hear it (or at least when I do) is some back-office network support or sysadmin or call center person from India. And it generally has this low-brow reputation associated with it, often associated with some dissatisfactory experience ("Reboot your computer" didn't fix the problem... for the 3rd time!).

dheeraj326 profile image
Dheeraj.P.B • Edited

When you say IT in India too, there is this problem if being considered along with 'back office support' jobs. But do keep in mind, when we talk about IT jobs in India, back office support isn't the only one that comes under it. We have very good developers here too and very good work going on in Bangalore, Hyderabad and many other cities, both corporates and startups. :)
This tag of a cheap Indian IT labourer being put on by people who think Machine Learning and call centre support, both to be things done by 'IT people' using computers, to be the same, does bother me a lot.

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

I just go by the title "Programmer" for these reasons. It's a good title describing what I do without limiting the scope or field.

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

That programmers are asocial, anti-social, arrogant or otherwise. Good programmers are sociable and agreeable. Good programmers don't work in a realm of silence, or on their own. Good programmers understand more than code and willing to work with others.

val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca • Edited

"Oh they just work with computers."

This one doesn't bother me as much.In fact, quite the opposite: I think we as developers put too much emphasis on how important our career is and how it is tied to our personality.

For example, my step-dad is a truck driver. No one, except other truck-drivers care about what model of rig he drives.

All that said, I make it a point that I will not be my friends and family's on-call IT guy :P

brianbola profile image
Brian McNabola Author

Yes thats second on my list. Being roped into salvage a 5 year old desktop for a family friend . First thing I say is buy a new one they insist their not going too. I just install ccleaner run it and say all set !

pmcrealcor profile image
Paulo Almeida

I "Like it" when my "friends" come and ask me «You work with computers, could you fix my computer?, Windows won't boot!»...
I have a programmer-friend who answers this requests with «when your oven is broken, do you ask a Chef to fix it?»

pawelsalawa profile image
Pawel Salawa • Edited

when your oven is broken, do you ask a Chef to fix it?

Good answer ;) I should remember that.

piotroxp profile image
Piotr Słupski

I need to chip in

The notion from business people that since Google and Facebook deliver software at scale, and fast, is that you are just as capable. Hey, if Facebook can, you, being a developer after all, are just as awesome and thats when an endless stream of misunderstanding, confusion and pain come from.

"Oh, just add a simple Facebook login" does not translate to a simpler implementation of Oauth2 token passing

"Its a simple matching algorithm" does not ease off any of the underlying tech that translates to bounds checking, sorting and optimization techniques

"You need to make it simple for the users so they dont think" is probably the one that got me over the edge to the point I am just today returning to some code after three weeks of regaining sanity after binging weeks trying to deliver a 80 thousand dollar app with myself and my trustee single EC2

I hate business people. On the other hand, I also love them. My take here is that business people need to be constantly involved in the technology.

Same goes for coders. Business isnt "just talking to people".

pawelsalawa profile image
Pawel Salawa • Edited
  1. "You developers do almost nothing and earn like billionaires! You simple sit and tap at your freaking keyboards! This isn't real work!"
  2. "You know computers, right? Can you fix my Windows/Mac/XXXXX", or another version is "Oh, you're programmer? Can you do this Excel project for my univeristy? It's like 5 minutes for you!". While I know computers and operating systems probably better than average computer user, it doesn't mean I'm an expert with addressing hardware/OS issues. Moreover it's not something I'd like or want to deal with. People think since I'm a "computer guy" fixing this is nothing to me, while sometimes to fix something it takes hours or even days.
  3. "Developers are boring, lonely individuals."
effingkay profile image

Oh man, number 2 is spot on.

And when people try to dump something that's not even remotely related to computers on you, can't even count how many times I had to do flight check-in for people just because 'You're good with computers, I don't know how to click on check-in button and fill out the form'.

Most of the time I don't mind it but sometimes it's just annoying because ironically, I found that people in number 2 column often belong to number 1 column as well.

atyborska93 profile image
Angelika Tyborska

The stereotype that annoys me personally the most is that being a good software developer is equivalent to being good at writing code.

People just completely skip over the fact that developing software is a team effort and, as in any team, communication skills are crucial.

When asking themselves "I wish to progress my career further, what should I do today?" I wish more people would answer:

  • "I will see how my English skills are progressing."
  • "I will read a book about project management, communication, team work"
  • "I will reflect on myself and try to figure out if I have some negative behaviors that bring other people down".
  • etc. etc.
3leftturns profile image
Andrew T Johnson

I witnessed a conversation between a man and woman go this way. The man, a network admin asked the woman what she did for a living. “I’m a network admin.” His reply “so you run cable then.” I was beyond furious. He was and still is a sexist jerk, but I was so shocked at the time I didn’t tell him off for his awful behavior. I regret not saying anything.

dougmckechie profile image
Douglas McKechie

I guess the one that annoys me the most is the misconception to those outside the industry that I know everything about all areas of computing because I "work with computers" or "are in IT".

In the past I would often be expected to know how to fix the computers of friends/family/staff/others or sort their networking issues etc when my area of expertise is in web development.

khophi profile image
KhoPhi • Edited

I'm not sure if this will qualify as a stereotype.

It is this notion that developers are developers because they are "Computer Addicts".

A pilot, in the cockpit for a 9 or 12 or 15 hour flight, is very likely addicted to flying, and a "Plane Addict", I guess.

Carpenters are thus addicted to hammers and nails, wood and finishes. Tailors and seamstresses are addicted to sowing machines and thread bobbins.

How does using a computer in my line of work make me an addict?

And yes, some ladies from our part of the world bet not to enter relationships with developers, as they argue, we're 'married to computers'.

Very sad for them, as developers can be some of the simple-minded people to be with. ;)

antero_nu profile image
Antero Karki

Have been told that software developers are the modern day punk rockers, but I have no interest in spittin' on my users.

Guess it was more a sales pitch aimed towards the CEO, because he seemed to nod approvingly.

calvinw profile image
  • The way Hollywood and news media associate use of CLIs and IDEs with "hacking".

  • Customers who dial you into their live webex with traders to fix their IE6 and somebody else's crappy site.

  • ihaveaproblemheresascreenshotplsfixwillbebackinamonthbye (forgets to attach, goes offline).

  • Work due in a week and your hands are full? Here's an intern I hired for one week - train him to help you!

  • Architect Bob estimated he can finish all of this in 1 hour, I need it done by you in 1 hour.

  • CFO: Heres a cheapo Business Intelligence app, go build me a dashboard!