Stereotypes and Geek: Time to drop the stereotype

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Most careers are accompanied by a stereotype; a banker for example would generally wear a swanky suit and drive a sports car, while a musician would wear the latest trends and think that his/hers is artistic abilities are beyond a point of any others comprehension. In many cases the stereotype is a perk to the job which many are drawn to, however this cannot be said for the stereotype which surrounds the industry of Information Technology.

The stereotype that emcompasses the infomation technology industry is extremely difficult to get-rid and is somewhat unappealing. In the mid-70’s when the IT industry emerged into the corporate world a certain type of individual was drawn into into it; these were geeks in their earliest form. Although many were geniuses and pioneers of the industry which has given us so much in hindsight; they were in fact socially inept characters who preferred to not share what they were set out to achieve, but would rather keep their triumphs close-knit and within their somewhat guarded community.

Moving forward 40 years and the world has wised up to computers due to the dot-com boom in the 90’s. Information technology has evolved into much more than soldering bits of hardware together and entering coding competitions, it’s a key industry in today’s economy and its presence is one we cannot live without.
Long gone are the times where the general population are scared of the unknown, no longer do we fear the computer, but instead we embrace it with with open arms and reap many benefits and opportunities it presents us with.

If we now understand the computer, why still do we hold the aged stereotype of the geek. The industry has created billions of job opportunities across the globe from web and software development, computer game development, communications and infrastructure and project management, so surely all these people can’t be geeks?

IT Professionals are no longer labelled socially challenged geeks but rather esteemed business people with an acquired technical skill. The definition of a modern day IT professional would be a social character, who generally wears smart business attire and has a passion for technology; they no longer outcast themselves as different, but rather see themselves as key members of staff in the running of a business.

So why does this stereotype still exist? There’s multiple reasons why this stereotype still lingers today. One reason is that the older generation who haven’t still wised up to the developments in the industry pass their hostile feelings down to the younger generations, manifesting the problem into a negative outlook which is then carried through into high-school where the problem of stereotyping is rife. Another reason is a select few professionals enjoy being labeled a geek, self-titled geeks may carry the stereotype on so that they feel different, as if they’re on a higher intellectual level than those who don’t really understand much about technology, this is however a result of pure ignorance.


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