IT managers essential strategic partners, no longer ‘the office geeks’

A panel of experts believes the stereotypical and well worn phrase ‘IT geek’ can be consigned to history, with the popularity of technology sparking a widespread interest in the role that IT managers do.

Jonathan Boon, director at Amber Green IT, explained that his role has evolved into more of an advisory position, after starting out in a hands-on job.

He said, ‘When I first started out, I was the ‘IT guy’ who turned up and fixed something. It has turned into much more of an advisory role. Fixing something is a given, but now they come to me looking for guidance or education.

‘It started out as a very simple role but it has become incredibly complex. However, I think that is one of the reasons we love what we do.’

Jono Brain, technical director of Netmums, agreed with Mr Boon, adding, ‘A big change I have seen is the level of understanding people want now. Years ago, they just wanted it done, they didn’t care what you were using or how you were doing it.

‘These days they want me to explain how I am doing something so they can get a grasp of it themselves. Everyone seems to be a lot more interested now in what the whole role entails.’

Lawrence Jones, CEO of UKFast, said, ‘The ‘geek’ tag is long gone as far as IT managers are concerned. People in IT call each other geeks now.

‘Businesses’ reliance on technology has increased so dramatically in recent years and the role of IT managers and directors has followed suit. They are now an essential cog in the day-to-day running and strategic planning of almost every business.’

Alan Mann, head of IT at British Cycling, believes the image of an IT manager has altered significantly outside the workplace, but reckons there is still some way to go to change workplace stereotypes.

He said, ‘I think we are still the quirky and nerdy side of a business and I think it will be hard to shake that.

‘More people have got computers in their homes, running their TV systems, so it’s more acceptable on a personal level.’

Aaron Bazler, IS operations director at Manchester Airport Group, explained how the change in responsibility and technology has affected the role. He said, ‘Over the last eight years the biggest change is that it used to be a 9-5 operation. Where we are now is that it has become 24/7 as the job and the responsibilities that come with it have grown.’

The comments were gathered at a round table event held by hosting and colocation firm UKFast who recently embarked on a recruitment drive to almost double its workforce and add more female technical engineers to its team.

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