4 Common Myths Uncovered About IT Specialists


By Staff Writer Published on July 11, 2017

Everyone knows what a typical IT person looks like. You can identify them by sight alone, almost. They’re a nerd, they’re a geek, they’re socially awkward, they know everything there is to know about tech.

While there’s always a little truth to a stereotype, the fact is, there’s more to a person than the two-dimensional representation that society often gives. Information technology is a diverse field, full of a diverse variety of individuals.

So if you’re not sure about a career in IT because you don’t fit the mold, allow us to help broaden your perspective. Here are four common stereotypes, and why you shouldn’t give them more weight than they deserve.

Myth #1: The IT "Guy"

One of the biggest, and unfortunate, myths is that an IT person has to be male and that women need not apply.

Reality:

While it’s true that only 26 percent* of professional computing occupations are held by women, there are women in the industry, and numbers are growing. What’s more, some of the biggest names in the tech industry are women:

Cheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
Meg Whitman , CEO of HP

Myth #2: The Recluse

He’s awkward. He doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t have any friends. He can’t get a girlfriend. These negative attributes are often applied to individuals in tech-related professions, from system admin to software developer. They’re seen as hermits and shut-ins that never leave their homes or offices.

Reality:

The truth is, just because you spend your time with computers doesn’t mean your people skills have been neglected. The tech industry is heavily populated these days with individuals who dance through social and business interactions as deftly as their fingers dance across their keyboard. While it may have been true for some in the past, times have definitely changed, and public image is catching up (albeit slowly).

Myth #3: The Enthusiast

They come to work on Halloween dressed as Captain Kirk. They have a blue police call box on their desk. They talk about comic books and superhero movies frequently. These nerd and geek characteristics are all frequently attributed to IT professionals, assuming that “nerd” inherently means “techie,” and vice versa.

Reality:

In reality, while many do indeed have strong passions related to geek culture, not every IT person is excited about the same things. While it’s true that some could probably tell you what Dungeons & Dragons is all about, not all of them play it. And in the end, how is coming to work wearing a Spider-Man shirt different from wearing a LeBron James jersey?

Myth #4: The Know It All

They can fix your computer, your tablet, and your phone. They’ve never met a tech problem they couldn’t solve. They could probably hack the CIA, if they wanted to. They might even be a little snarky when you ask them to help with simple computer problems, just because “Everyone should know the ‘any key’ joke by now.”

Reality:

While, yes, troubleshooting computer problems regularly can give anyone an irritation for the simple problems, not everyone is arrogant about it. And while, yes, many IT specialists are technology enthusiasts, and thus know a lot about technology, they don’t know everything.

Most learned the majority of their skills after high school, attending training and education to give them the tools they needed to do the job. So for every child prodigy who knew how to code a program when he was eight, there’s an IT intern that just learned the difference between C# and Javascript.

Now that we've cleared that up...

Hopefully, this has dispelled some fears about who should work in IT. If it has, and you’re interested in joining the industry, there’s a lot of ways to get started, including pursuing an IT degree. Programs like Networking & Information Systems Security are a great way to start your journey into a fast-growing and well-paying industry. Contact Independence University today for more information.

 

*https://www.ncwit.org/resources/numbers

For graduation rates, the median debt of graduates and other data, see independence.edu/student-information.