You just don’t get ‘IT’

With technology now at the centre of all critical business operations, having an enthusiastic, reactive and empowered IT department has never been more important.

However, even in this modern, tech-enabled age it is clear that out-dated clichés around the role of the IT professional in 2017 still persist. These clichés can make IT departments less efficient, feel less valued and can impact the motivation of those who work within them.

Recent research by Jobsite highlights that there is a persistent disconnect between IT workers and their ‘non-technical’ colleagues in the perception of their job role, their roles and responsibilities and even how they performance ought to be judged within a business.

In some instances, office workers are even drawing conclusions as to the competency of IT professionals, even as they admit they have very little understanding of the very technical work they carry out.

In response to their findings, Jobsite have created a video, starring real life IT professionals sharing the most common misconceptions and frustrations they face.


Featured in this video: Dan (Support Engineer), Orlando (Front End Developer), Simon (Product Development Manager), Gurpreet (Server Administrator), Juan (Technical Lead).

We want to help IT pros to overcome these out-dated ideas and communicate the business critical roles they perform to their colleagues. Here are our top tips to assist IT professionals communicate the importance of their role to workers outside of their department.

1.  Find parallels

As a long-suffering IT professional, you know that an office colleague will only have, at best a 20% understanding of what their tech issue is and will expect you to find an instant solution, so show them how to help you to speed things up. If they went to the doctor and said ‘I’m sick’ a doctor wouldn’t know where to start examining, encourage them to apply this thinking and guide your search to a solution. Find analogies to make what you do relevant – show how disabling access of a suspended employee shows you are discrete, show how making sure a CEO presentation goes swimmingly shows attention to detail.

2. Encourage global, not local thinking

Most of your colleagues think you exist purely to fix THEIR laptop, THEIR printer or THEIR system crash. Give them insights into the things they can’t see – securing the system, preventing data leaks etc. Corporate data leaks are always big news when they happen and a chance to showcase the invisible challenges you face. IT is a broad church, help your colleagues to understand your particular specialist area.

3. Manage expectations

Give your colleagues realistic timescales on when you hope to have a fix for something. Try to eradicate the ‘fix it now’ culture – tell people how long things take to they can empathise when you can’t always deliver a magic wand solution.

4. Document, document, document

Log all the enquiries that you field that could have been solved instantly by a colleague applying a bit of brainpower or common sense where no technical knowledge was needed. Find an appropriate forum to highlight the time spent on these to senior management and how that time could have better be spent on more global issues. They might even bring in a company –wide directive to make your life easier.

5.  Shoot for the stars

Don’t let your day-to-day frustrations stop you from raising business critical issues. After a day of menial tasks, it can be easy ignore problems, which need more strategic thinking, but there could be opportunity to reform how IT is valued in the business. Flag the technical issues that may pose immediate threats to data, confidential information and ultimately corporate reputation and become the trouble-shooter of the issues the business doesn’t know it has yet.

Video transcript:

Debunking IT worker stereoptypes

Dan: Do you care about your appearance?
Orlando: Yes… I’m very vain.
Dan: Yeah, I am too.

Simon: I think we’re just the same as anybody else really.

Orlando: This is the new generation of IT guys; cause there was a generation that didn’t care.

Gurpreet: I don’t know if you’ll see any IT guys dressed better than me right now.
Dan: That’s a bold claim!

“You are all gamers”

Juan: That is stereotype number one!

Dan: You’re a gamer?
Orlando: I’m gonna say yes to that.
Dan: I am not really a gamer; I’m a casual gamer.

Juan: I’m not really a big fan of video games, I prefer cycling for example.

Simon: I’m a very big sports fan and I was at the rugby on Saturday.

Dan: Not really playing rugby, more drinking.

“You get frustrated with non-techies”

Simon: We get request to do something and it’s the most important thing to a person outside of the IT department, but a lot of the times our priorities concern the whole business.

Dan: People can help themselves literally by applying common sense.

Simon: So small requests sometimes have to be declined for the greater good.

“How important is cyber security?”

Orlando: Treat your computer, especially your emails, like you treat your front door.

Gurpreet: Security, I think, is key and that’s also why sometimes we can’t give access to all the wonderful things that are out there.

Dan: Well, I always say, if you’re not expecting it, don’t click on it!

“What do you like about your job?”

Simon: Although it’s technology, and IT is incredibly complex at times, it is very accessible.

Orlando: I love everything about it, I love the nuances – cause I’m constantly learning, constantly evolving in what I do.

Juan: To be honest, I can’t wait to wake up every morning and go to the office.

Dan: It sounds really sad but it’s literally customer satisfaction, it’s when the users are happy with the result of what’s happened.

Juan: You solve the problem – the feeling that you have is like when you win a race or you score a goal.

Dan: Yeah, it makes me really happy. You know, when people tick that little box saying that they had great service – that makes me even happier.

Orlando: He’s a pleaser!

Simon: Knowing it’s going right, that’s as good as it can get, and that is everybody in your IT team working extremely hard.

Dan: And I don’t think anyone understands the amount of work that we do.

Orlando: No definitely.

Dan: At all!

Orlando: Definitely not


Related Articles

5 ways to get an IT apprenticeship

Top Tech Trends for 2017

What 20 years in IT have taught me

Britain’s best-paid IT roles