back to article The human router

Fifteen years ago, raw technical skill was all that was asked of geeks placed in charge of a collection of computers. That has changed. The diversity of devices and software and the complexity of the internet have conspired to move IT beyond the understanding of any individual. The field has become far too diverse for even the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Too True Blue

    This article sums up my job. I quite enjoy the different aspects of it but there are times when being pulled in 6 different directions at once that i wish i was a dedicated programer.

    1. ProblemChild

      Used to be me.

      I used to be a non-specialist doing everything from fixing individual desktop PCs to high level network architecture, and it was a lot of fun in the late ninettes and early noughties. But I don't understand how you can maintain complex heterogeneous systems from a broadly skilled team. My narrow focus has allowed me to explore my core skills in greater depth. IT skills look a lot like fractals - the more you look, the more detail there is.

  2. jake Silver badge


    I've been making a good living doing that for the last thirty years ... If you tell everyone, the market will be flooded with idiots undercharging for their services, kinda like the "WWW programmers" of the late '90s and the "PHP programmers" of the '00s ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fortunate in that respect

    I guess I'm fortunate; I'm a freelancer, but ultimately my specialism is app programming, pretty much exclusively, so I avoid the worst cases of these kinds of deployment issues - though for some stuff I do these days, deployment and custom builds thereof come into play...

  4. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Have A Beer and...

    ...relax, you are working too hard.

  5. ElNumbre

    Job Descriptions

    Long have I pushed for a change to my job description that lists what I am expected to do. I haved asked it to simply be changed to 'IT Guy', because although I don't work for a SME, I still cover a wide base of IT disciplines from coding a web-app through to swapping failed disks in our servers.

    Better paid subject 'experts' have come and gone, but my jack of all trades, master of none approach has thus far worked well.

  6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Fewer and fewer of us left though.

    Every year there are fewer and fewer of us. Large corporations won't (generally) touch us with a twelve foot pole. The smaller end of the SMEs are jumping ship to cloud services. The mid-range companies are using consulting services with increasing frequency; consulting services largely comprised of groups of specialists.

    That said however, those SMEs that outsource their services (cloud or otherwise) generally need a body or two to sort it all out. Organise the IT part of it while dealing with the sharp business end to make sure that the company isn’t being taken for a ride.

    I think that as services like cloud computing catch on in larger enterprises, this trend will start to move up the chain. Interesting times…

  7. Peter Mc Aulay


    "Systems administrators working for SMEs do not need to understand how to diagnose, decompile and repair every binary on their network."

    My personal experience is rather the opposite, actually. In small companies the (probably only) IT person is expected to do be able to fix anything with a power cord, never mind a data connection. Software no longer supported? Vendor went bankrupt 10 years ago? Watch managers not care.

    Beer, because it's Friday.

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