SQLServerCentral Editorial

Who is "the IT guy?"


I'll be frank. I don't want to be called an "IT guy." Among my IT colleagues, when we refer to the IT guy, we mean desktop or hardware support. When tech support calls, we are talking to "the IT guys"; call this elitism, but there it is. (For brevity, I mean the gender neutral intepretation of "guy.") But, when my friends say, "I know an IT guy," they mean me. And despite working in IT, as many of you do, I don't like to call myself an "IT guy."

So what's my pickle with this title?

Well, I'm not desktop or hardware support. I'm a data architect/ETL developer. Which is different. Right? I think so. But people in the greater public don't think so. IT folks are often represented by the Geek Squad and those monochromely-dressed guys in the IBM commercials. (They don't know that we're guitar-playing/motorcycle-riding mountain bikers with attitude!) Granted, no one outside our industry needs to know what our true, convoluted titles are, so I can understand the easy-to-use "IT" moniker. I suppose, then, my real qualm is with the "guy" part of "IT guy."

When we refer to other professionals, we definitely don't say "the plumber guy," or "the doctor guy," or "the laywer guy." If you say those outloud, the inclusion of "guy" somehow changes the connotation, and not in a good way. (Try it.)

Yet, we do have the "cable guy." So what, if anything, puts the "IT guy" and the "cable guy" in a similar group?

Ultimately, what I want to know is: what does "IT guy" really mean?

Is it simply someone, anyone, who works with technology? If so, are you ok with being called, or referring to yourself as, "an IT guy?" If you're not ok with it, why not?

Perhaps me, and a few colleagues of mine, are in denial and really are just IT guys. Maybe the label doesn't matter at all. But sometimes, labels matter; would you trust your health to a "doctor guy?" We're having some debate about this in my peer group and would love to get your opinions.

Ted Pin

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