Being a part of IT community for quite some time – entitles me to mock it a bit – as I am doing it at my own expense. In a behind-the-scenes discussion with my colleagues, I came once with an idea of clustering types of people working in the IT – which I have called later “The S^2 Model”. Although seemingly purely playful, it had some basic reasoning underneath.
In The S^2 Model, the first S, represented on the horizontal axis, stands for Skill. It is the general level of skills, knowledge, experience in the field. It is lowest on the left and increases to the right. Second S, represented on the vertical axis, stands for Swag. It is the degree to which one’s able to generally put up a show around the matters of IT. You can map it onto presentation skills or a general ability to sell an idea or product. It is lowest at the bottom and increases to the top.
We end up having following quadrants, reading from the top right, clockwise:
They are the real deal. Competent beyond doubt but have also mastered their communication skills. Wizards are able to sell their idea or a product to a non-technical audience and will always stand up for a more technically focused discussion. Being able to move gracefully between business and technology – they make excellent support for sales. They earn the most, as they should.
Very experienced, equally competent, effective on their tasks and projects – but also almost invisible to the general corporate public. They do their job, but do not feel like showing off or have scarcely any opportunity to do so. They mostly earn fair money, but at times are underpaid. Finance is one of the incentives to try to move towards the quadrant of Wizards, assuming it is possible from the characterological point.
As the name implies – fresh people in IT. Not experienced thus keeping a low profile for a reason. They get paid accordingly – meaning the least. Among all quadrants – this group have the biggest potential for growth. Recruits can educate themselves and gain experience to become Ninjas, with a bit more effort, luck and talent – Wizards. The last available option, most effective in terms of time and finance, although requiring some natural talents – is to aim for the 4th quadrant, the Jesters.
They might know close to nothing in terms of IT, but will attempt to convince everyone it’s the opposite. Jesters often succeed in doing so, as they will employ all the mandatory buzz words, trending acronyms and will do all in their power to maintain the discussion on a very general level. They cannot afford any in depth discussion as it would reveal their gross incompetence. Jesters will try to sell you things you do not need equally they do not understand (except for the level of bonus for the deal.) Some of Jesters have previously achieved genuine wizardry in other domains (e.g. Sales, Marketing) – and in such cases – they are likely, with time, to gain more experience in the new field and move towards the 1st quadrant. Jesters that departed from Recruits and benefit, for the most part, on their charisma, will not have that much financial incentive to gain more knowledge, as they already earn close to what’s achievable in a given environment.
How these observations work with the way you see people in the IT? What about other domains? Let me know in the comments!