IT personality types: 8 profiles in geekdom

Forget Myers-Briggs. Here are the true archetypes that underlie the IT breed

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IT personality type No. 6: The OS Fanboy
Job title(s): Help desk, support tech, programmervista

Profile: There is only one true path -- and, more important, only one true operating system -- for this person. All nonbelievers are heretics whose tech needs will be quietly ignored. Though most commonly associated with Apple products, often aligned with Windows or, more likely, Linux -- the more obscure the distro, the better. Every conversation ends with a discussion of why their OS of choice is superior, despite the fact that your company doesn't use it. Actually solving your problem with the OS at hand is an afterthought.

"The 'I'm really an Apple fan' is misplaced in the IT world," says Kevin Lightfoot, vice president of Affiliated Computer Services, a managed services company. "He or she really should be focusing on Apple products but, because of poor career decisions, is forced to support your desktop needs. Their lack of aptitude always leaves your computer performing slower and with more bugs than it did when you first called the help desk."

"The Serious IT Guy wants nothing to do with your toy Macintosh or Linux machine," counters Brian Dunning, technical editor for FileMaker Advisor magazine. "He's a Microsoft-certified engineer all the way, and he'll stand for no tomfoolery. If you're experiencing any kind of a problem or you have a question, it's your fault for not following strict Microsoft security guidelines and published Best Practices. Since nobody actually does all of those things, nothing is ever his fault."

  • Hobbies: Posting angry point-by-point rebuttals in the comments to online articles criticizing his/her OS of choice.
  • Last book read: None; only reads blogs about his/her favorite OS
  • Greatest accomplishment: Jailbreaking an iPhone, sticking with Windows Vista, taking complete editorial control over the Ubuntu wiki
  • Identifying marks: White ear buds, non-ironic Microsoft Bob T-shirt, stuffed penguin
  • Role models: Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds
  • Most resembles: Genius Bar lackey, Steve Ballmer, a stuffed penguin

IT personality type No. 7: The Promiser

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