Judging techies

How can you judge a techie? Here's a suggestion

Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.


Michael Horowitz

It takes one to know one. So, how can non-techies form an opinion on the abilities of a computer nerd? There is a language gap, a knowledge gap and, likely, a personality gap to overcome. Here's a tip.

Ask the techie about the system (meaning hardware, software and manual procedures) used to backup the computers they are responsible for.

I see three possible answers.

  1. The techie will brag about what a great system they devised or inherited.
  2. The techie will gripe about how management has held them back from implementing a much better system than the one currently employed. They may go on and one about the flaws in the way things are done.
  3. The techie will blow off the question, as if it wasn't important.

In real estate, the three most important things are location, location and location. In computers, they are backup, backup and backup. Any techie that blows off the question about backup, is a normal person in techie clothing.

Where do I fit in? See for yourself: The Best File Backup Scheme

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.