Professional IT Work Is Hard

Brandon A, IT ProMeet Brandon A. He’s an IT pro! You probably haven’t seen his smiling face on your webpages because you are not an “IT Pro” and so can’t really make much use of the services of Spiceworks. That’s because it is more an “experts talk to experts” thing. It reminds me very much of the Experts-Exchange — a place where IT professionals go to ask and answer each other’s questions. Why it is that Spiceworks has been given over a $100 million in venture capital money, I cannot say. But then, my experience with venture capitalists is that they are generally a bunch of fools, running around looking for the Next Big Thing™, with little interest in actual business models and how Spiceworks — which is almost entirely dependent upon advertising revenue — will ever be a company worth that kind of money. But I digress.

I put up the advertisement there because I like the image of the guy. It says a lot about the kind of people the company is trying to attract — people like me. I assure you: he is not an IT pro. He’s an actor. Take away the terrible haircut. The ridiculous glasses. (Having a medical tape repair between the lenses would have been too much; it would have been parody.) Take away the uncool facial hair and the bad teeth. And most of all: take away the harsh lighting! What do you get: a guy who looks terrific in his head-shot.

Almost every person I know in high tech simultaneously sees himself as “IT Pro” Brandon A here, and as a pretender. Because IT is that way. The field is so broad and ever changing that what the best IT professionals bring to any job is a general knowledge. The only difference between the guy on Spiceworks with the question and the guy with the answer is that the latter guy recently had to struggle with the problem.

I know that I often feel a little strange when clients hover over me as I mess about trying to figure out the solution to a problem. There is a feeling that I ought to be able to walk in and immediately know the answer. But computer problems are rarely like that. If they were, there would be a book called, “Easy Solutions to Every Computer Problem Ever.” And there isn’t. Other than “Is it plugged in?” and “Did you power cycle it?” there really aren’t any standard answers. Being a paid WiFi Hero is not like this:

But we muddle on. We try things. We discuss problems with each other in language that isn’t intended to exclude everyone else, but usually does. It’s hard work. The only thing easy about it is that we manage to look like “IT Pro” Brandon A without even trying!

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