Work nights and never do sports: IT specialists respond to stereotypes

What does a typical programmer look like? Is it true that all IT specialists are shut-in people and women should avoid this profession? Like any other industry, the field of IT is surrounded by myriads of stereotypes. We talked to specialists from various Admitad offices to dispel some common myths.

According to the internal engagement survey, it was easy for IT guys to switch to the remote work mode (which we expected). Compared to other departments, they took online coffee breaks more often and discussed non-job topics (which surprised us a lot).

Most IT guys are introverts and not talkative people

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “Yeah, that’s true. We try to arrange things straight away. Some prefer writing a message, for others it’s easier to discuss the current matters in person. We need both groups.”

Sasha, Development Team Lead, “We may seem loners but the communication skills can be honed.”

Pasha, DevOps specialist, “In the early years of this industry, most developers were true enthusiasts that sometimes forgot about life around them. Today, this stereotype is getting weaker and weaker, since work does not disrupt personal life as much as it used to.”

Oleg, DevOps specialist, “Speaking of any social group, there are always introverts and extroverts. At root, I’m an introvert. My practice of communicating with people suggests that in 80% of cases, frontend developers are extroverts, and backend developers are introverts.”

Dima, Software Engineer, “When you said you wanted to talk about stereotypes about programmers, I thought to myself, ‘What would a stereotypical IT guy do? They would just ignore the message in the first place!’ As conditioned by the job specifics, IT company employees usually communicate with other people less often — just because they don’t need to. But I cannot call it introversion.”

Katya, Python Developer, “Well, yeah, I love talking IT with my friends.”

Yulia, Middle Frontend Developer, “Any developer has interests associated with engineering, gadgets, and so forth. But their passions are not limited to electronics.”

Zhenya K., Middle Frontend Developer, “Everyone has interests outside the IT sphere.”

Pasha, DevOps specialist, “I try to maintain the work-leisure balance. Life is full of fascinating things, and we shouldn’t waste all our spare time discussing job-related matters. But I see why this stereotype emerged and remains. When you and another person barely know each other, you try to find some touchpoints. You try to find a stepping stone to jump into a conversation.”

IT guys Only Hang Out With Other IT Guys

Katya, Python Developer, “There is so much going on in the IT field so my circle is fully made of IT people. I love spending time in this ‘computerized’ community.”

Yulia, Middle Frontend Developer, “I don’t have a single friend from the IT industry.”

Zhenya K., Middle Frontend Developer, “Only 20% of my social circle consists of IT people.”

Oleg, DevOps specialist, “A well-developed person will easily form a circle beyond their professional activity.” For instance, I’m an amateur musician and have lots of friends in this field.”

Sedentary Lifestyle

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “That’s us. I see that people affiliated with the industry of technology are more ‘fixed.’ Of those I came across, most were not into sports.”

Zhenya K., Middle Frontend Developer, “I visit the gym three times a week; have been doing sports all my life. However, there are some computer geeks that never leave their homes. Just like houseplants, they need to be watered and fed.”

They Work Nights

Zhenya K., Middle Frontend Developer, “True! They bother you less at night. We in our team often communicate at 11 PM-12 AM.”

Zhenya Sh., Head of Integration, “Yes and no. Sometimes I do work at night, just because my job is my hobby, my lifestyle. This is why I keep living it after work hours.”

Katya, Python Developer, “I understand why this stereotype came around. This is just that nobody distracts your attention in the night. In the daytime, however, I feel like talking. I used to work nights earlier, but today I prefer sleeping in the ‘right’ hours.”

Yulia, Middle Frontend Developer, “It’s hard to work at night when teamwork and schedule are streamlined: you got to be available when they need you. Freelancers and those who code independently prefer being active in the night for it’s quieter around.”

Pasha, DevOps specialist, “I knew some eager beavers that worked night and day. You know what, they are a threat to society. Imagine working with such a person in one team, and they suddenly write to you when it’s 11 in the evening to ask something about a task.”

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “Wrong. This is a statement from the dial-up era that is currently dying.”

Most Of Them are Remote Workers

Pasha, DevOps specialist, “I like working at the office or in a coworking space. For me, it’s vital to stay in a work-inspired atmosphere. And when I’m home, I want to water my plant, tidy up…”

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “Best specialists are almost always remote workers.”

Zhenya Sh., Head of Integration, “True. If you are a team player, you can work from home. As a manager, I have to come to the office, gather people together, inspire them, and set the tone for our work.”

Lena, Python Developer, “Remote work is more comfortable for me. But most of my mates often come to the office.”

A Typical Programmer Is A Thin, Four-Eyed, Bearded Guy Wearing A Deer Sweater

Zhenya K., Middle Frontend Developer, “This is true for the first wave of developers who were hardcore geeks. Today, a typical programmer is a hipsterish guy: he wears sneakers, regular pants, a white shirt, and a hoodie with a backpack with his laptop inside. Last but not least, developers are connoisseurs of top-grade brands.”

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “I met some guys like this, but they are rare today.”

“Help Me Choose A PC, Create A Website For Me…”

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “I think this is not true. Today, it’s clearly specified who does what in IT.”

Katya, Python Developer, “Yeah, they ALL ask me something. When I meet someone, they ask me to botch up a website. This is weird for me, for I’m not a frontend developer.”

Zhenya Sh., Head of Integration, “Yeah, that’s right. I once was asked to tweak an air conditioner…”

Sasha, Development Team Lead, “Some people ask me to repair their computer. And here, the placebo effect takes my side: even if you didn’t do anything, their PC seems to be jet-fast (an IT guy has tweaked it!)”

Dima, Software Engineer, “I must agree that this stereotype is true. My parents are such people. In their world, me being an IT specialist means that I know what TV set to choose.”

“Girls don’t code”

Lena, Python Developer, “Unfortunately, there is such a stereotype indeed. It always hurts when you hear something like that, but being humorous is the only remedy.”

Katya, Python Developer, “I heard something like this back in my university times, but there is no such a problem in our team now. Nobody accentuates that I’m a girl. Skepticism remains during conferences, but being a girl helps draw more attention and unleash the potential. From this point of view, the stereotype is my ally.”

Yulia, Middle Frontend Developer, “I’ve never faced any prejudice against women in the IT field. Nothing hindered my communication with other guys.”

Artyom, Integration Team Lead, “More girls are coming to the industry. They get recognized, and managers build teams with them as full-value members. I suppose there used to be some kidding and even evaluation in this context. But those days are over, and I don’t see anything like that today.”

Zhenya Sh., Head of Integration, “I have no gender bias. We just hire the best candidate, no matter their gender.”

Sasha, Development Team Lead, “I have one female developer in my team. And we’d hire more! IT girls are awesome.”

How to hire IT Specialists?

Boris, Chief Technical Officer Admitad: 

Before sending an offer to an IT specialist, especially a senior, carefully inspect their Habr, GitHub, and Facebook pages. Your offer must be fully relevant to their experience and interests; otherwise, your message will land in the Trash folder. This is the cornerstone principle.

During your first contact, be sure to spark your candidate’s interest. Learn what their hobbies are, what they live on, and what they do (at least, professionally).

Get closer. Use informal language. For instance, go with something like, “Our developers checked out your GitHub account. We like you and would like to talk to you.” Cold, soulless offers are usually left ignored.

If a person is actively seeking a job, feel free to contact them in a messenger. Don’t think all IT specialists are introverts and your direct message would be an invasion into their space. In my opinion, a senior or a team lead cannot be an introvert. They have to communicate and maintain teamwork. You can be an introvert in nature, but you must not act too privately. Don’t waste your time: DM your candidate! However, if your candidate is not looking for a job, keep it easy and respectful, or they will regard your approach as spam or interference.