Herd the nerd

Herd the nerd

When people are asked to describe an IT team, they break out the Moss and Roy stereotypes. You know, nerds, right? They have limited social skills and play videogames 5 hours a day. They obsess over science fiction. They can tell you the name of the castle where Captain Kirk met Princess Leia. And they are angry about that last sentence.

“Are you passionate about SAP and XML?”

Geeks as a subspecies

Apart from some hardcore part of the Slashdot community, no one considers himself to be the nerd-nerd. Most people have friends and their love for comic books does not interfere with their social life. The hardcore gamer who likes fishing. The software developer who’s never seen Star Trek. People are more than one-dimensional cartoon characters.

The stereotype splits humanity in two and sets up geeks as a kind of subspecies imbued with magical hacking skills that no mere mortal can understand.

“Do you dream of Java? Can you speak C++ ?”

Herd the Nerd

They may have super skills, but lack leadership or self control. The ninja needs to be directed by an emperor. The wizard has a king. The rock star needs a tour manager to make it to the venue on time. They can’t be trusted. That’s where The Manager steps in. You can’t leave software development to the nerds, right?

If tech skills are only for the chosen few, is it any wonder there is a shortage of IT workers? Is the lack of diversity that strange if 95% of the population selects themselves out?

On the other hand, when Dilbert’s PHB is the gold standard of management, it’s hard for your average techie to stand up and take charge. More role models are needed on the work floor.

“Are you a Front-End Ninja? Is Drupal your life?”

Magic for everyone!

Any good team is better without a manager. People who are pure overhead drag down the team. We need tech-savvy hands-on leaders. The good news : Leadership skills are harder to learn than coding. If you are a manager of an IT team and you have zero understanding of tech : start learning. A Udemy course, a For Dummies book, anything. Get started.

Instead of promoting the weird-but-smart thing, we should frame a Software Developer as a professional who turns a problem into a well-designed and user friendly solution. They are experts in understanding business domains and processing information streams. They listen to you and help you grow your business.

That sounds a lot better than Moss and Roy.