The IT professional of today is no longer a stereotype. In fact, of the 850,000 IT people in the UK, most work harder than average, earn more than average, and are young, intelligent and well informed.
Recent research from database software developer Embarcardero, which surveyed over 5000 IT professionals, has brought the profession out of the "shadows and silences of modesty" to reveal that most of the assumptions that have dogged it over the years are wrong.
Although a majority of IT professionals are men, they are more social and less geeky than they are given credit for.
They get out in the week on an average of two occasions, usually for a few pints in the pub, but they are also enthusiastic sportsmen. Over half reckon they are competent cooks and budding gourmets, with 34 per cent favouring Italian cuisine.
Interestingly more (23 per cent) would like to have dinner with Bill Gates than Jordan (15 per cent), and even Ali G gave Bill a better run for his money (22 per cent).
Just under half are married and 30 per cent are single, but this may be explained by the massive 42-hour average working week including some weekends.
However, 76 per cent claimed to enjoy their job most of the time. In fact, many would prove difficult to poach, preferring to work for at least three years in the same job, and valuing career opportunities over money. Some 36 per cent would refuse to work for a large corporation at all.
The typical IT professional, although young, is very well informed and takes IT issues seriously, supported by an average 13 years' experience. A total of 40 per cent backed the internet as the most important technology innovation yet, and most thought ecommerce would have the biggest impact on the future.
The nerd image was further dispelled when only three per cent thought that Lara Croft was an important innovation. Although eight per cent were still clinging to their geekiness by admitting that Star Wars is their favourite film.
But this can be forgiven seeing as one third considered internet resources to be essential in finding out what's going on. Some 33 per cent felt that online news sources are more useful than printed media (ahem).
David Oates, vice president at Embarcadero, said: "When we decided to conduct the world's first 'IT Lifestyle Census' we didn't really know what to expect. We were astounded by some of the results and pleasantly surprised by others. But it's time IT people made their voices heard: they're too important to exist in the silence and shadows of their own dedication."
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