Over 90 per cent of IT staffers have come into work while sick to ensure a project finishes on time, while two thirds have missed a funeral, wedding or similar event due to work-related crises.
Given these numbers, one can only conclude that at least some of those missed funerals were for fellow IT workers who insisted on working through illness, and paid the ultimate price.
Sadly, the survey, by AlienVault, didn’t go into this degree of granularity. What it did glean from speaking to 600 IT professionals in the UK and US was that many IT pros tend to work “in isolation”, with 61 per cent saying no-one would notice if they made a mistake at their work until the internet went down. Another 12 per cent reckoned their boss wouldn’t even realise or understand if they’d made a mistake.
On the other hand, 27 per cent said that their bosses notice problems immediately and get them to fix the problem.
Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault, which operates the Open Threat Exchange (OTX) “intelligence community”, said the report’s focus was on IT security specialists, “but in times of emergencies it’s often a case of all hands on deck and that pulls in a lot of operations disciplines. “
“From a more traditional perspective, development teams were not often called upon during live operational issues,” he added, but “If any of devs’ changes had contributed to an outage, it would be rolled back by operations and the ‘lessons learned’ would be conducted later.”
Malik said that tools that gave visibility into external and internal environments, such as cyber threats, went some way to relieving the burden of IT staffers.
Equally useful is applying a little automation. “Having some scripting knowledge can go a long way to automate and manage recurring activities as well as accessing information quickly in one place when needed,” he said. “I’ve heard of some pros saying they have gained efficiencies of over 25 per cent simply by scripting some activities.”
You’d think the ongoing isolation and constant ducking out of family events might get IT pros down. Nevertheless, 36 per cent claimed they were happy or very happy with their work, while 31 per cent were “neutral”. The remainder were, as you’d expect, unhappy.
Then again, who wouldn’t relish having a permanent get-out clause for those tricky family events? ®
AlienVault asked respondents how they were treated at work, and asked them to respond “in their own words.” The results included the following, which seem, frankly, surreal.
- “People call me Jesus because I have long hair and save them from IT issues.”
- “We are treated like wizards”
- “Everybody loves me”
- “I am seen like a god and treated incredibly well”
- “I am a hero or villain, sometimes both at the same time.”
- “I’m either ‘Mr fix It’ or ‘he’s the one that broke it’”
- “My boss always blames me when something breaks.”
OK, they’re surreal in our opinion. If you think differently, feel free to use the comments box to tell us how your non-tech colleagues describe you.