When it comes to IT guys, there is always an ongoing conflict between the Gen-X IT persona and the baby boomers that have been with the IT industry for perhaps longer than the Gen-X have been alive. The Gen-X IT guys are likely to come into the field with knowledge of the latest technologies and the baby boomers bring the years of experience to the table with a mixed bag of knowledge in IT practices.
So, what is the difference between the Gen-X IT type and the baby boomers and which one fits your style?
The Gen-X IT persona is commonly associated with the word “geek” which can actually have a derogatory meaning except when it comes to IT. In the IT industry, a “geek” is someone who has become an expert in a specific niche but makes a point of learning everything they can about the latest technologies and gadgets. Although they may be introverted, they strive to stay on top of their game and are quick to adopt the newest practices in IT.
In terms of the employment arena, the Gen-X IT persona tends to pursue a career as an IT professional with expertise in a specific niche or they may take on employment as a Web design and development expert or graphic designer. Depending upon their specific persona, Gen-X IT professionals may also moonlight as an entrepreneur or marketer.
The Gen-X persona also insist on the latest gadgets, are interested in pop culture topics, and typically engage in gaming and the latest hacks, coding, and the latest newly released movies. You can recognize a Gen-X since they typically exemplify “cool” and are constantly pulling virtually unknown new gadgets out of their pocket.
The baby boomer IT persona can bring a mixed bag of IT knowledge to the table sometimes due to where the IT industry was currently situated at the time they received their education or became interested in computers and networking. This is not to say that all baby boomer IT professionals are not interested in the latest technologies because surprisingly, a lot of them are and enjoy learning about the latest gadgets and IT practices.
As a generalization, the baby boomer persona may possess a diverse set of qualifications and skills that include computer programming, PC repair, IT networking, and other skills which were required at the time they entered the IT profession. IT baby boomers may tend to be looked at by the Gen-X persona as having an impractical skill set for the newest technologies and IT practices.
In terms of the employment arena, IT baby boomers may take on jobs as a computer programmer, college professor, or IT professional. They may even be in the engineering industry or be considered an inventor by the Gen-X persona.
IT baby boomers may tend to take on interests in the area of physics, computer-related activities, academia, and science fiction. They may be introverts and at the most, carry around a laptop PC which may be a few years dated. Despite this fact, most people will pursue the technology advice on computer issues from an IT baby boomer.
Talking to an IT baby boomer you may hear references to source code and binary terms or the scoop on the most popular science fiction movies. The IT baby boomer never tries to act “cool” and basically could care less about the latest movies and pop culture topics.
So which persona are you? Perhaps you fall in between or maybe you are in the minority by being an inept Gen-X IT professional or an extremely tech savvy and hip IT baby boomer. Anyway, it is fuel for thought and makes the IT industry a colourful place in terms of persona.