What you do… and what people think you do

Gareth Halfacree

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As an IT professional, the next time you’re asked what you’re doing, just point to this article and smile.

What the executives think you do

We’ve all heard it before: IT is a cost centre, not a profit centre; an electronic black hole that sucks in money and returns nothing but bizarre password requirements and a block on Facebook. It’s an opinion which is slowly changing, but, unless you’re working directly within the IT industry, old attitudes still die hard.

What your friends think you do

Facebook and Reddit. Everyone knows that IT monitors everything you do on the corporate network – the log-in prompt clearly says as much – but who watches the watchmen? It goes without saying: you are, of course, spending all your time doing everything you killjoys ban from the proletariat. You monster.

What your parents think you do

Your parents likely fall into one of two categories: they think you’re the local equivalent of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg; or they think you’re a glorified secretary. Either way, they’re likely wondering when you’ll be selling out to Google and coming home in a Lamborghini like the ‘IT staff’ they read about in the papers.

What society thinks you do

Make ridiculous demands, such as passwords that have numbers, letters, symbols, runes, and at least one hieroglyph, yet still leave their credit card details open for anyone to see. Sadly, the media rarely writes about all the companies that have perfectly secure systems thanks to your diligent work.

What you think you do

You’re a samurai, a keyboard cowboy. Your fingers blur as you hack away at the network over which you exhibit total control. In this domain, you are the master; you can see the code behind the Matrix, and it’s yours to control as you see fit.

What you actually do

When you’re not changing the chief executive’s password because he’s forgotten it for the fifth time this month, you’re most likely either preparing for Microsoft’s next Patch Tuesday or still trying to run down the bugs from the releases last month. But hey, it’s a living.

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