The five types of IT office worker

Think Progress Team

Thursday 18 September 2014

Within the sphere of IT, there are a few common elements to be found. In particular, the industry tends to draw in staff who fit surprisingly neatly into a few personality pigeonholes – but it’s probably best if you don’t tell them that. The five most common are presented below for the reader’s edification and entertainment.


The Graduate

The Graduate is eager to show that his or her years of academia have not been wasted. Most commonly spotted still clutching textbooks and wondering why your code base doesn’t reflect any of the models they learnt, the Graduate can be relied upon to do exactly the ‘right’ thing at any given time.

Most likely to say: “According to Knuth Volume 2…”

The Brogrammer

When the Graduate has spent more time drinking and gaming than hitting the books, he or she may evolve into a Brogrammer. They are easily identified thanks to the polo shirt with popped collar and tendency to refer to everyone as “bro” regardless of rank or gender. The Brogammer responds best when given challenges couched in sporting metaphors.

Most likely to say: “Yo, bro. This d-base b-tree is off the chain, bro!”

The Firefighter

Should a Graduate or Brogrammer rise up the ranks to become your system administrator, he or she may have a tendency to race around the office finding disasters to solve. From their bluster, you’d be amazed the company doesn’t go under every time they take a holiday. But the secret is that their relative inexperience may be the direct cause of many of the individual issues.

Most likely to say: “No time for lunch – the backup server needs attention <em>right now</em>!”

The Greybeard

The Greybeard can be male or female, bearded or clean-shaven, and of any age – the defining characteristic is that they’ve been with the company since the start. They know so much better than the others how the code base and network have developed organically, but may have a tendency to use seniority to argue against change.

Most likely to say: “When you’ve been at the company as long as I have…”

The Lazy Sysadmin

The ultimate system administrator, the Lazy Sysadmin has only one goal: to minimise the amount of effort he or she needs to expend. The result: every task is driven by a tiny little shell script. Automation is the Lazy Sysadmin’s watchword, and so long as everything is properly documented – the Lazy Sysadmin’s Achilles’ heel – that’s to your benefit.

Most likely to say: “Go away and stop bothering me or I will replace you with a very small shell script.”

This tongue-in-cheek spotter’s guide to the most common IT staff could come in handy during your next round of hiring. But remember, in order to avoid a scene, keep the printout somewhere the candidates can’t see.