Land of the lost (or, All computer folks are not equal)

August 16, 2007

Without warning, I’m hit:

“Layer 2 MAC resolution through the ARP cache”

I stagger slightly.

“24-bitted mask with a dotted decimal”

My vision begins to blur.

“A typical situation is where an ARP flood or broadcast storm can cause keepalive or VRID messages from being delivered”

With slight embarrassment, I realize that I’m drooling.

Welcome to my personal reminder of how truly, completely, unfathomably different computer disciplines can be. Much to my mix of amusement and chagrin, the quotes above and many more were used oh-so-casually by my trainer last week while I was in Denver. See, he was (and presumably still is) a diehard networking guy. So was everyone in the class. Well, everyone who wasn’t me, that is.

While I know we all seem alike to the lay-person, there are many different, totally unrelated flavors of computer folk. So that you may be warned, descriptions of a few of them follow.

  • The networker: generally unappealing and slovenly, these sad people work with servers, routing, and (yuck) security. This role is the closest IT professionals can get to manual labor, since they may have to physically run cables and move servers. As a result, they’re nearly all hunchbacked.
  • The database administrator: cross-eyed from hours of staring at execution plans and performance statistics, the database administrator is best avoided at all costs. For entertainment, they’ll appear out of nowhere at your cubicle to discuss query optimization, job scheduling, and clustered indices. Run away quickly if they approach you about “natural joins”.
  • The Windows developer: in my experience, these individuals have as many as 3 teeth. However, 2 of those will be in their pockets. This breed of IT “professional” is particularly inclined to be found in seedy discussion forums known as “newsgroups”. Often still drunk from the previous night’s binge, Windows developers have small, beady eyes from lengthy debugging sessions and are quick to espouse the virtues of “exception handling” and “design”: 2 universally reprehensible concepts. Very unsavory guys and gals.
  • The web developer: by all reports, the saviors of the IT industry. As elegant and graceful as the experiences they create, their reasoning skills are only rivaled by their intelligence. Generally recognized as a boon to productivity, the web developer is highly sought-after in all business circles for his/her robust skill-set and infectious positive attitude. Will often be heard uttering the question and entirely true answer, “You know what sucks about being a web developer? Nothing.”

So next time you’re asking your IT professional buddy why he isn’t smart enough to fix your printer, remember that we’re not all created equal. As illustrated above, some of us are only marginally smarter than that printer and most are less capable.


4 Responses to “Land of the lost (or, All computer folks are not equal)”

  1. krftsman Says:

    I think… er… um… I think I’m offended. 🙂

  2. themarksavage Says:

    I hope not – this was all intended to be in jest.

    After all, DBAs, network engineers, and developers are all fine folks in my experience! 🙂


  3. What’s that I hear? Oh it’s you – losing half your readership.

  4. themarksavage Says:

    Dude Who Is Really Cool,

    Well, crap. I had 4 readers and I lost half, so now it’s just you and me, dude.

    So, valued reader, uh. . . what do you want to read about? You’re pretty much my whole audience at this point.


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