Today as I sat in a session at PETE & C about Acceptable Use Policies, there was a discussion about ‘the IT guy’ and working with ‘him’ and making sure that ‘he’ is on your side. After hearing numerous adults refer to ‘the IT guy’ over and over, I became more and more irritated. When are we going to drop the term and replace it with a more updated, realistic term?

If we don’t, then we are perpetuating the stereotype that IT is only for men, that men are more tech savvy than women and that women do not enjoy being geeky and nerdy and tech-y.

So what label do we use?



  1. Jennifer Wagner


    I am the one of the IT guys on my campus….
    and I have changed my label to Tech Support — or Tech Department when talking about us in general.

    and more often than not, I call myself Help Desk.
    It is appreciated and it is true. I not only KNOW IT, but am helpful when working with those who don’t.

    I am unsure if it is a stereotype — instead more of just a “man (or woman) behind the curtain” — Often people will say that their “IT” issues come from the IT guys — without really knowing #1 who the IT guys are and #2 what the IT guys jobs are. To me — saying IT Guys is like saying kleenex. A generic way of description.

    What needs to happen — more than changing a name or label — is to put a face with that name. Who are the the IT people on your campus, what are their job descriptions, what are their perceived powers and what really do they control? Honestly, I believe people are hiding behind the “my IT won’t let me” as an excuse — when in actuality, they just need to start personalizing themselves with those they believe hold the power.

    Anyway — sorry, I began to rant.

    Personally, I prefer Help Desk.


  2. mbteach


    Great response, Jen.

    It is definitely true that by using the “IT guy” label you take the face away from the person behind the service. It’s important that the IT people are considered part of the school team and that the staff know who they are and what they actually do for the school (and what they don’t do, too!)

    I still think, however, that people assume that there is a ‘guy’ who runs the ship, and the label perpetuates that perception.

  3. Jennifer W


    To be honest —
    Until me —
    I had always worked with guys in IT.

    The fact that the last IT GUY I worked with was willing to teach me (well he didn’t do it willingly — I just helped make his job easier since I was on campus and he was not) — really indeed qualified me for my current job. He allowed me to see past the “scariness” of the network and showed me that often the “blocks” and “no you can’ts” had nothing to do with network security and more with just laziness. (tis true!)

    My campus has 4 in IT….1 is female. And I admit, I too often will defer to the IT guys for wisdom…..but not as much as I used to.

    Honestly, when people say IT Guy — I don’t think they have thought their words through carefully….and what we might need to do is stop and question what they just might mean. But I would not do this confrontational.


    • mbteach


      Yes, I am also very good at asking questions, and I have learned a ton from pestering the “IT guys” as well 🙂 They have taken off the veil for me in a lot of ways about how things work.

      I don’t think people think before they use the term either, and I think that even just a simple speech by the admin at a staff meeting explaining who the IT person/people is/are and what their roles and responsibilities are and aren’t can help clear things up.

      Once people know the roles and responsibilities of these team members, then they will know what kinds of things should be referred to them and which things can’t possibly be blamed on them.

      This is the job of the administrator/leadership in the school to implement IMHO.

  4. Reply

    I tend to shorten it to IT, as in: “I really hope I can get in touch with IT soon – these laptops are possessed.” I would love to see more woman involved in our IT team.

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