Boo’s Field Guide to Nerds (part 3)

The IT Professional is so closely related to the 3D Animator that it is often presumed the two are the same species. Also characterised by poor eyesight and non-existent social skills, these Nerds are as irresistibly drawn towards glowing computer screens, dusty motherboards and long pages of code as Environmentalist Nerds are drawn to organic food outlets.

Popular wisdom dictates that the IT Professional is the crème-de-la-crème of all Nerds. When two women grasp for a suitable insult for a single man in his 30s, one will often add the caveat ‘…and he works in IT’. The other woman will need no further explanation. Despite this common prejudice against him the IT Professional is an optimist, and is a regular fixture on the online and speed dating scene. Research has not been completed on the ratio of IT Professionals to regular jobs in this milieu, but early figures show that this ratio is high.

The BBC sitcom The IT Crowd is a sentimental portrayal of the species, and should be considered as an introduction only. Although highly detailed with regard to props and costume, this show depicts the IT Professional with a ready wit and charming demeanour – two traits not often associated with the profession. While IT Professionals are adept at programming languages such as Java, C++ and Perl, the nuances of the English language are often lost on this unique species. It is at times best for them to communicate in the vernacular of code and mathematics, the mode in which they feel the most comfortable. Some IT Professionals take this idea to its logical conclusion by removing the front-end, or user-friendly interface of their computer to type code directly into the machine’s heart. To other Nerds, this is an affecting sight.

One area of communication at which the IT Professional does excel is that of games (see the later ‘Habits and Preferences’ section). When not toiling on his indeterminate work tasks or shyly approaching virtual women in a non-threatening environment, IT Professional plays games (otherwise known as Gaming, a subtle, but important distinction to this species of Nerd). Rather than playing traditional games of dice, cards or chess, in keeping with his respect for technology the IT Professional prefers the online gaming world, where role-playing, first-person shooter and real-time strategy games are enjoyed late into the night.

In appearance, the IT Professional is easily identified as one of two extremes:

1. Slight and Weedy
2. Tall and Massive

With some minor variants eg Gangling and Knock-kneed or Squat and Hirsute. It is suggested that his sedentary lifestyle and unwholesome diet has led to this clear split in form, although some radical theorists put forward that as the IT Professional is already genetically disposed to one or the other, his entry into the field of IT is somehow inevitable. Unlike other predominantly Caucasian Nerd species such as the Birdwatcher or Tinkerer, the IT Professional hails from all continents of the globe and comes in all colours of the rainbow.

The IT Professional scorns the straightforward simplicity and all-in-one design of the Mac, and concerns himself only with the PC platform. This gives him the chance to configure the back-end of his computer to track NASA communications, eavesdrop on shipping movements or program his mobile phone to ‘talk’ to his microwave and heat the evening’s frozen meal. He is most content when surrounded by not one but many unsightly grey monitors and whirring towers and will dedicate rooms of his department to ceiling-height servers with flashing lights. Rather than organise his equipment to fit around himself and his activities, he is happy to wedge himself behind this apparatus, and as a result is often hard to locate.

It is interesting to note that despite all the literature written by and about the IT Professional, no-one knows what a person working in IT actually does. Despite encompassing fields as broad as programming, working on the help desk, computer science and software engineering, to the layperson these could all be in fact the same thing. While the Birdwatching Nerd is eager to share his knowledge with the uninitiated, the IT Professional enjoys this division from his contemporaries, and secretly rejoices in the frequent eye-rolling and tsking from his family when he is unable to respond to the polite inquiry ‘what do you do’.

In this way he is perhaps the most elusive of all Nerd species, despite his broad distribution. It is the lifelong desire of the IT Professional that this knowledge of his species never be brought to light.

The issue of French Horn Players has already been covered on this blog in detail, so it is not necessary to delve much further into this topic. Needless to say, these rugged individualists can retain strong nerdy characteristics from the amateur player up to the professional.

Although the rare anomaly exists (as demonstrated here by John Entwistle), the sight of a person clutching a French Horn is intrinsically funny to the non-French Horn player. Thus this instrument will always exert a strong pull to Nerds the world over, and should be discouraged by parents early on should they wish their offspring to have any normal kind of adolescence.

The French Horn Player is closely related to players of the bassoon, oboe, euphonium and other awkwardly-shaped instruments. Tuba Players are sorted into their own subspecies owing to the ridiculous noises emitted by the instrument, the extreme inelegance and impracticality of the case as well as the strong connotations with Neighbours alumnus ‘Harold Bishop’.

5 thoughts on “Boo’s Field Guide to Nerds (part 3)

  1. I can add another nerd subspecies – the Scienceworks staff member that put up his hand to work at the Star Wars exhibition. I myself sighted 5 prime examples of this creature on the weekend – all of them a cross between Comic Shop Guy,Dungeons&Dragons throwbacks, a Klingon complete with overshadowing forehead, and a large bearded Peter Jackson lookalike but with 10 x the beard (kinda more like a 7 foot tall Silent Bob). I wish I'd had my cameraphone with me.

  2. Ho LL – you're easy to wind up!E – don't leave home without that camera phone – the lives of these Nerds must be praised in art and song.Bek – you may have noticed a number of other assumptions as well ie every word!!

  3. Yes – wot Lad said – Entwistle was the musical genius of The WHO. He could play everything (like Brian Jones was the heart of The Stones)I love it that Gates looks unperturbed in his mugshot – obviously thinks "my dad is such a big lawyer, he'll get me out of this"I saw a fashion label called Boo Radley recently, and wondered how many shoppers would know it's a character from The Chase.

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