Just a bit of fun although I'm sure you will be nodding your head quite a bit in places!
But lets face it, theres definitely several 'types' of IT support person, good and bad. Most good IT teams tend to have a diverse mix of skillsets and personalities.
The 'Know All'
Yep! We know this type well, don't we? Literally knows it all. Interrupts your troubleshooting conversations because he already knows the answer and the patronises with comments like 'oh come on, thats easy'. But, and its a big but, he really doesnt know that much at all. When the poop hits the fan and it needs everyone pooling resources, he'll go missing. And most annoyingly, when he makes a fundamental mistake, will never own up and points the blame elsewhere. Is usually well qualified for the job and has his uses here and there, but ultimately, more of a hindrance than a help. Tends to move on from one job to another fairly fast.
The Hobby Jobbist
This is Mr IT. He lives, breathes and fantasizes about computers. Go into his home, and there will usually be a pile of BBC Micros in one corner and load of older PCs running Linux in the other. A total nerd who will probably take his holidays in IT related places such as Reading's Silicon Valley, that place in Ireland where you used to send faulty HDD's under warranty back to, or maybe even the base of Microsoft, Seattle. Ash him about his holiday and he'll tell you how crap the in flight entertainment system was, and how easy it was for him to crack the wireless in the departure lounge. Is usually pale in completion due to lack of sunlight and personal hygiene could be better. For all his quirkiness though, is a valuable member of the team as he's the one who will gladly take any problems home and usually have a solution the next day.
The Itchy Feeter
Constantly moans about IT support pay and how great it used to be in the 1990s. Is always banging on about moving on to something else, but years down the line will still be performing the same role. Secretly doesnt mind his job although doesnt like admitting to others that he works in IT as he doesnt want to be seen as a geek. Not naturally gifted at troubleshooting, but does his best, knows where to look for answers and usually gets there in the end. Won't ever pretend to be an expert. The sort of bloke who could have been working as a plumber, salesman or electrician but chose to do the IT course instead. Definitely a few of us like that on here!
I'm sure theres a few more clearly defined types
Can I add two?
The "Lazy-sits-in-his-chair-all-day" Type
This is a techie who you think is welded to his chair, every problem can be fixed remotely via a clever tweak to a Group Policy Object, a VNC session, web-management tool or something via remote registry services. He knows his ICT Chops, and can do things in a powershell or vbs script that other techies can't do, and Microsoft didn't intend but even a printer in flames won't get him out of the office. This type of techie would do 15 minutes work at his desk coming up with an incredibly complicated way to powercycle an inkjet printer using a .bat file and some assembly code in order to avoid a 2 minute walk to a classroom. Expect biting sarcasm and some very good quality put downs and he'll know his way round technet better then anyone.
Don't try and get a conversation from this guy. Unwilling to talk human you won't get an opinion about the football, apprentice or anything at all going on in the outside world. Every problem from a broken mouse to a Screaming UPS is greeted with the same "Yeah alright" and if you are lucky, a turning of the head towards you. He'll happily get out and move around the school, but staff and students will move out of the way and the corridors go quiet as he moves like Arni on the hunt for John Conor. Eye contact and the ingestion of fluids are alien to this Techie - he won't apparently eat, drink or sleep. Don't bother asking how he fixed a problem, you won't understand the answer even if you get a response.
Last edited by jstuttard; 9th June 2012 at 11:42 PM. Reason: spelling
Brilliant additions!!! We had two people similair to your two. One who ended up being nicknamed 'Jabba the Hutt' because he simply didnt move from his desk all day.
In my job previous to this, there was a total loner who simply couldnt work as part of the team, kept his cards close to his chest and never documented or passed on tips. Should have been a programmer as his social skills were zilch.
Last edited by superatticman; 10th June 2012 at 12:07 AM.
Out of interest, where is John Conner???? Why? no reason... honest
Last edited by SYNACK; 10th June 2012 at 12:52 AM.
Currently left out is 'I-Hate-IT-But-I-Do-It-Because-It's-A-Job'. This is a strange and, thankfully, rare creature can be found working in a large array of jobs in the IT sector. Whilst usually not incompetent they see IT as a job, pure and simple. Unusually they are often very well certified/qualified but have zero interest in the area of their expertise. They cannot be draw into conversation about any IT related subjects, especially after hours, and forget them spending a bit of their own time investigating a problem. Any questioning of this personal policy will be greeted with a curt 'They don't pay me for that'.
Thankfully uncommon, but if you ever do encounter one don't try and strike up an IT related conversation with them unless you want the reply 'That 'stuff' doesn't interest me, I have a life'. Stangely they never reveal what this 'life' actually is.
i'd change 'itchy feeter' to 'malcontent'. There's something about such characters that means whatever employment situation they're in they'll feel that the world is against them. The route out for such folk is to not work for 'the man'!!!. But then going self-employed or moving into manglement positions is easier said than done. I've come across such people who ticked every box on the itchyfeeter/malcontent list and who worked in very good schools, but they didn't appreciate how good they had it, job security, hours of work, holidays...they may have been low paid, but with an attitude like 'thats-not-in-my-job-description' it's no wonder they were low paid. If you don't like the pay and you can't convince those that matter your worth more, then the reality is you move on or your put up...and appreciate small mercy's like having a not terribly demanding job with good security, and for the most part well behaved pupils. and mostly non-stroppy staff.
But then it's more deep seated than not liking IT or a particular manager or down to length of service. It tends to be a personality thing, they'd have a chip on their shoulder irrespective of pay and conditions unless they had everything their own way.
the other type of IT bod i hate is the one who's developed these systems over the years, has documented it poorly, been in their comfort zone too long, and think they're gods gift. Technically they're very good but are lacking in patience and soft skills toward others. Such folk tend to live in a closed loop where only similarly arrogant schools IT experienced only support staff are deserving of replacing them, and if you don't know every line of the dated, sometimes obscure stuff they dabble in, then your rubbish. Fact is if you undertake in obscuring something fundamentally straightforward through disorganisation and complexity is pretty sad and desperate.
I'd call these type of IT workers 'personalities', but only in the martin amis when talking about tennis personalities sense. in other words replace 'personality' with a word that begins with 'a' and ends in 'e'
Last edited by alttab; 10th June 2012 at 10:29 AM.
I guess a variation of the 'itchy feeter' 'malcontent' is the 'beyond my payscaler'. This is the one who clearly isnt happy either with their employer or their job role. When given the opportunity to punch above their weight, they decline to even have a go. More than happy to see a major problem affect productivity until someone who's 'better paid' comes to sort it. Obviously someone who is a genuine Junior technician cannot be expected to fix a deep rooted network issue that requires experience and a degree of knowledge, as it may only make things worse. However, when given the chance to step up a level, they simply arent interested.
another one is the
"the solution is to kill the students"
this homosapien normaly found in the tech support office, spends the day working on IT but at the same time discussing the ways of killing off students or staff.
they can go by many names but they never have any traits that point them out to the rest of the species.
they are however normaly the active type offten found in the hunter gather communitys
laten name: solutonus-killus
We should feed some of these stereotypes into HR for inclusion in various Job Evaluation exercises still sweeping through LAs across the country; they are probably more relevant than the ones being used
I'd like to add the category I feel I fall into..
The Naive Enthusiast
A younger variant of the Hobby Jobbist, this creature has not yet fully developed the cynicism and sarcasm of the full-grown techie. The Naive Enthusiast often enters I.T. due to a love of fiddling with things, possibly having previous experience building, repairing and cleaning their own machines for years. The Naive Enthusiast often attempts to honestly answer the question 'What was wrong?', explaining the situation for a short period of time until the underdeveloped sense of 'The-end-user-really-doesn't-know-what-the-hell-I'm-talking-about' finally kicks in and they give up. Often will attempt - if permitted - to salvage almost-broken (or fully-broken) tech for home repair projects in order to further their knowledge.
Knows one thing really, really well and will attempt to solve any and all problems with this one method. For example, a PowerShell expert - turning computers on will be done by throwing together a quick script, instead of getting up and walking ten metres to the machine. Users wanting their password changed will be asked to enter it into the command window of a running script, rather than just doing it through an AD console. Printer jobs, software installation, even attempts to solve Layer 8 problems will be done through PowerShell. Often a "Lazy-sits-in-his-chair-all-day-type" and a CLIngon.
The Jack of All Trades
Has bounced off lots of things in his time but never really stuck at any of them, getting distracted by the new shiny thing that he thinks will make any difficulties going away, instead of sticking at anything and getting over the difficulty hump. When encountering a problem, tries several different approaches in rapid succession, but never tries any one of them long enough to really work out what's going on; instead, just lucks into a solution, and often then crows about how he solved it to try and look smart and gather praise.
CLIngon (couldn't think of a better pun, sorry)
If you're using a mouse, you're doing it wrong. The mouse is for people who don't know what they're doing and need hints and help and snide remarks from Clippy to guide them on their way; if they were real sysadmins, they'd do it all on the command line. The CLIngon will often get into arguments about which is better, vi or emacs. They wish there was a command line tool for Photoshop because they could do that if only Adobe would stop treating them like idiots.
(For the record: I'm the middle one, I just ran out of new things to look at and have been forced to start learning some things in depth)
happymeal (20th June 2013)
Probably time to change the accent of the thread a little and state which one you feel you fit into!
I'm the itchy feeter. However I'd say I have a casual interest in IT and arent doing it simply because I fell into the job.
Last edited by superatticman; 11th June 2012 at 04:24 PM.
Oh, it all sounds so negative, what about Santa's little helper The techie, he or she who is always helpful although not downtrodden, professional in attitude and has focussed customer service skills. Not necessarily the most techno savvy (although fixes most problems quickly without fuss), but knows they can generally 'google' it otherwise. Not a fearsome character that will belittle someone because they don't know a simple thing. We all had to start somewhere.
Last edited by NikChillin; 11th June 2012 at 04:42 PM.
I'd like to add another category...
Often an older gentleman, used to know his sh*t but then got promoted up the tree and lost touch with the nitty gritty of IT. Probably waiting to retire. Suggests broad solutions scattered with buzzwords during meetings which appear sound untill examined closely. Very popular with senior management. Illustrates every thought with an example about main frames. Calm in a minor crisis because he knows he can point the finger at those with their hands on the keyboard. Calm in a moderate crisis because he plays golf with some lawyers who'll help at a tribunal. Calm in a serious crisis because he knows if he resigns he can swing 'going quietly' with claiming his pension early. Out of touch with the day to day admin of a modern network, occasionally shows lack of knowledge in entertaining ways, can often be persuaded to approve raises/bonuses with slight blackmail about said lack of knowledge. Easilly identified by the phrase (or derivatives thereof) "You... <technician>... configure <this> to do <this>" which will inevitably make no sense. It is usual for this person to require careful management by their technicians to ensure that the manager does not agree to demands which are impossible, and to ensure that projects are accepted.
Anyone who has managed one of these managers from lower down the food chain will inevitably become a better manager themselves having had an amazing example of how not to do it.
Last edited by Oaktech; 11th June 2012 at 05:05 PM.
The Danger Mouse
Has worked in an educational environment so insane and fubar that nothing fazes him anymore. Has a job description of "Support All The Things" despite there being ten other guys who should be doing most of that. Plagued by incompetent and money-grabbing contractors and server rooms that fill up with sewage. Provides relief to other IT professionals in the form of "well, my server room has just burnt down, but at least I don't work where Danger Mouse does". Has a thousand yard stare and can be occasionally found rocking gently in the server room saying "you weren't there man, you don't know what it was like, there was Thinnet coming out of the walls".
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