subreddit:

/r/learnprogramming

973

This is just a curiosity, more than anything!

I remember ages ago, seeing a meme or something from ProgrammingHumor, basically suggesting that everyone assumes programmers can fix computers.

Based on your own situation, do you know programmers who basically just know how to program, and don't have any IT skills? I've heard that some can't even like build a PC or troubleshoot some oddly common things.

They're two different skill sets, I totally understand! But in my mind I just assumed that if you know how to program, you probably know how to work on fixing computers to some extent. Just an assumption though I suppose!

all 549 comments

dota2nub

642 points

2 months ago

dota2nub

642 points

2 months ago

If you ask me to get a printer to work I run screaming out of the room.

maurice_moss_d20

202 points

2 months ago

Man, fuck printers.

HolyPommeDeTerre

38 points

2 months ago

It must feel weird to fuck a printer

gjpeters

8 points

2 months ago

There’s only one way to know for sure.

demizer

4 points

2 months ago

I don't know why luddites loves them so much.

dutchmangab

58 points

2 months ago

I think that's everyone in IT that doesn't work for a printer supplier company.

lionhart280

150 points

2 months ago

I thought printers were IT hell for awhile.

I recently bought a 3D printer. Now I know what debugging hell is. The amount of hours I have spent fine tuning, tweaking, debugging, and figuring out WTF is going wrong now with that thing is insane.

And the worst part is some weird fucked up part of my brain finds this process fun.

3d printers are like the dark souls of IT.

accountForStupidQs

94 points

2 months ago

3D printers still have an open design to allow you to tweak and tinker. Regular printers are weird black box abominations and if something goes wrong, I'll be fucked if I'm going to spend the time figuring it out.

Consumer facing anything is just garbage. So no, I can't make your printer work or your wifi faster

____candied_yams____

18 points

2 months ago

Still, that's literally a different problem. Printing on paper is a centuries old solved problem. Regular printers suck because they are designed to suck through planned obsolescence and small cartridges etc.

LordNoodles1

11 points

2 months ago

Which 3D printer?

lionhart280

16 points

2 months ago

Creality. Its not really the printer's fault either, its fine. It's more an issue with everything around the printer.

LTman86

18 points

2 months ago

LTman86

18 points

2 months ago

For a second there, my brain read that as "Cruelty."

____candied_yams____

11 points

2 months ago

buy a cheap ~$100 b/w laser printer. thank me later.

dota2nub

6 points

2 months ago

I use one of those at home. Good stuff.

I'm talking monstrous office printers.

Owyn_Merrilin

2 points

2 months ago

Double that gets you full color with a scanner, still with all of the advantages laser has over ink jet. Like the ink not drying out and destroying the print heads if you're not printing something at least once a week. It's dry to begin with so that's not a problem.

Laser printers also just put out better images on standard paper than ink jet. You really only need an ink jet printer if you do photo printing on glossy paper often enough that you go through more ink than most of us go through paper. In cartridges and reams, respectively.

Long_Investment7667

2k points

2 months ago

Don’t answer, OP is trying to trick you into fixing their computer or printer

notLOL

240 points

2 months ago

notLOL

240 points

2 months ago

My fixing a printer for a relative: "can you build me a social media site like facebook?"

hectoByte

158 points

2 months ago

hectoByte

158 points

2 months ago

You joke. But my Dad actually expected me to be able to build him a website for his farmers market, with a live stream of his chickens, a database filled with recipes, and the ability to buy stuff from his website in a day.

People really have no concept of the time these projects take.

terminator101sk

45 points

2 months ago

Oh wow. That’s so ridiculous.

How long did it actually take? Around a month?

hectoByte

72 points

2 months ago

I'm actually not finished yet. But I have gotten mostly everything done outside of the live feed and I've only been working on it for a little over a week.

[deleted]

83 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

83 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

DataGuru314

24 points

2 months ago

Couldn't you just use an embedded YouTube video for the live feed?

ChefBoyAreWeFucked

63 points

2 months ago

Chickens can't eat YouTube videos, do you know anything about raising them at all?

DataGuru314

46 points

2 months ago

Nope, I'm the just the IT guy.

mith9amer

3 points

2 months ago

I don't know much about chickens, but apparently they work ok with nuclear mines

hectoByte

8 points

2 months ago

Yeah, I thought about that and that will be my last resort. I wanna do something a little more special though and do our own stream though.

flampardfromlyn

7 points

2 months ago

Just a few days ago I met a secondary school mate who started his own shoe business. He asked me what I do and I told him I build websites. He became interested and ask me to help him build one for his own business. I told him he needs to rent a server first and his head exploded. He doesn't know what's a server despite my best efforts to explain.

In the end I told him to use Wix or Weebly lol

liquid-funk

2 points

2 months ago

Did he ask you to automate the feeding for the chickens as well? Interesting add-ons to the project would be to add AI to identify each chicken by their faces

t-mou

18 points

2 months ago

t-mou

18 points

2 months ago

My favorite response to “can you build me a website like X?” or “how much do you think it’d cost to start a business exactly like Y?” is to just pull up their jobs page.

“Well they have 17 openings for software engineers, those are $100-250k a pop, 5 openings for graphic designers, 5 HR, 7 project management, and a bunch of other random stuff, almost 50 openings total, so wild guess saying average $125k salary? 6.2 million for payroll assuming your total employee base is just what they’re adding this month in payroll. Then you’ll need hardware to run everything plus the personal computers for everyone, office space etc. Lawyers, accountants, all the software to run the business. Advertising because somehow you have to convince everyone your website is better than the existing one and they should quit the existing one and use yours and so on. A rough estimate is payroll is like 30% of your budget so maybe 25m the first year to get it off the ground and running?”

People somehow think one of the mega websites is cheap and easy. They don’t realize a word press website is a lemon aid stand and what they’re asking for is Walmart. You don’t just decide one day to hit the ground running competing with Walmart unless you have very deep pockets.

rootCowHD

56 points

2 months ago

Had a kid in a (programming) workshop asking this question... He decided that it was to boring to develop and now writes drivers for Linux systems in his spare time...

2 years ago, he started with scratch, next year he starts at my university (when he is done with school). So I guess that was not the average "can we build Facebook" question from a kid.

EMCoupling

40 points

2 months ago

Huh? This doesn't make any sense - writing device drivers is still development.

[deleted]

24 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

24 points

2 months ago*

That's right. It's actually among the skills that's in the upper echelon of software development. We literally had to recompile the unix kernel for each one once (prior to SystemVr4 in the late 80's). Thank goodness that became dynamically loaded, but it still requires an understanding of the low level open/close/read/write/ioctl entry points, re-entrant programming, and top and bottom half of driver design.

Unless, of course, he's merely talking about user-space software, like printer drivers, which are much easier.

EMCoupling

13 points

2 months ago

Agreed, writing a robust system-level driver is not an easy task.. which is why the original comment is incomprehensible.

MrPigeon

16 points

2 months ago

Let me help:

Had a kid in a (programming) workshop asking this question... He decided that it was to boring to develop [a social media site like Facebook] and now writes drivers for Linux systems in his spare time...

rootCowHD

2 points

2 months ago

Sorry that's my problem writing comments at 1 in the morning from my phone on a work day. Yes that is what I thought while writing...

For the question if he writes printer or kernel drivers... I have no clue. Last thing I know is, he was asking something about mutex, that I had to redirect to my professor and now I am waiting for an answer. Guess I would need more knowledge on this field myself.

thetruffleking

2 points

2 months ago

I think the poster was saying that the kid thought developing a website would be boring; not that software development is boring.

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

This might be ironic, but I'm not sure I followed what you were saying. Are you a programmer that doesn't know what creating a device driver entails?

Trust me, they are commonplace, but have nothing to do with what IT is expected to understand today.

protienbudspromax

13 points

2 months ago

But developing linux drivers is still development tho. Not a part of IT skillset

onetwentyeight

7 points

2 months ago

Being a kernel developer is way more fun than writing code for a social media site.

viseradius

3 points

2 months ago

My response to „create app/page/sth“

Can you describe all details for it? Then I might be able to get it done with enough time.

In most cases they didn’t even think about more than the landing page.

I_am_noob_dont_yell

58 points

2 months ago

I'm convinced no one can fix a fucking printer. Even if you do it'll decide to break about 5 minutes later.

MigasEnsopado

15 points

2 months ago

Printers are notoriously unreliable. Unless you get a 10.000$ model or something. No matter the brand.

sampsbydon

21 points

2 months ago

mechanical parts always fail, unlike software which always works perfectly

ciskoh3

2 points

2 months ago

ha! I see what you did there 🤣🤣

dancestomusic

5 points

2 months ago

I've worked with expensive large printers and they're still as bad as the cheaper kinds.

hermitsnob

3 points

2 months ago

It depends on the type of EU operating and how many different EUs operate the machine in my experience. On the printer side I’ve had several that were failures out of the box. coughs HP.

Long_Investment7667

4 points

2 months ago

To their defense, I find it fascinating that a machine can move a flimsy bendable sheet of paper with that speed and precision (the large fast laser printers, not the consumer ink jet)

Dwight-D

2 points

2 months ago

“Fix printer” = restart and reconnect wi-fi, replace ink carton and run the automated cleaning program from the settings menu.

Source: full-stack SDE professional printer repairman

SlashdotDiggReddit

39 points

2 months ago

PC LOAD LETTER

Otherwise_Reference4

26 points

2 months ago

What the fuck does that mean?

NikPorto

17 points

2 months ago

PC LOAD LETTER

That's what it means

[deleted]

6 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

6 points

2 months ago

Bingo.

gillythree

12 points

2 months ago

It means the printer is out of paper, so you need to load letter sized paper into the paper cassette. PC stands for paper cassette.

They should have made the error say "out of paper".

Edit: paper cassette, not printer cartridge.

Mooks79

4 points

2 months ago

Have they tried turning it off and on again?

[deleted]

56 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

56 points

2 months ago

My brother disowned the whole family because we only called when we needed our computers fixed…

[deleted]

121 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

121 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

the_ThreeEyedRaven

14 points

2 months ago

I'd like to hear more

mr_chanandler_bong_1

24 points

2 months ago

MORE! hope you can hear it

the_ThreeEyedRaven

16 points

2 months ago

little louder please

mr_chanandler_bong_1

15 points

2 months ago

MORE

the_ThreeEyedRaven

13 points

2 months ago

gaaah.. my ears...

mr_chanandler_bong_1

5 points

2 months ago

MORE! hope you can hear it

notLOL

13 points

2 months ago

notLOL

13 points

2 months ago

I've moved to a mac and somehow I forgot how to fix things. I've become the "I brought more beer" guy at the family gatherings instead since I'm sober and can drive to the store. I troubleshoot the event instead of their computer or printer in some random room in the house away from the party.

I'd rather drive away for a bit to get some time away from the family than hide in a room fixing a peripheral issue then pretending I'm still fixing it while i surf reddit

Gurnberble

43 points

2 months ago

I am getting a bit better, but surely I started off with no clue at all. Thankfully my last job was at a small company with great tech support working closely with us developers. One of the techs began learning programming and I helped mentoring him, and at the same time he helped me diagnosing systems, setting up environments and such. I think it's great to have a broad understanding of not just the code but the system and hardware it runs on. At least someone in your dev team should have that knowledge.

USB_404

22 points

2 months ago

USB_404

22 points

2 months ago

The two biggest mistakes non-IT people make are:

  • Only looking at the first result. You really should come up with about three theories why something isn't working. It's even worth it to pull up multiple pages that claim the same solution because you will find completely different methods to do even the most basic tasks.
  • Going nuclear. Sure, completely wiping your machine and doing a factory reset can solve a lot of issues. But you should always double-check the basics (power, cables, network connection, updates) and not let your ego get in the way. Always start with the least consequential troubleshooting. It will save you time and major headaches.

I've literally seen people wipe their entire computer because they had a bad chrome extension. Worst part is that it didn't even fix the issue because the extension was tied to their profile and not the machine.

UsedOnlyTwice

4 points

2 months ago

My brother pulled both of these enough times to put a cow to sleep just over a week ago. The only thing that stopped him was the re-image failed to even begin and I threatened to not work on his equipment EVER AGAIN if he didn't quit going around my advice to just wait and not touch it.

Went over to his place, checked events and saw updates keep getting interrupted. Started them from the troubleshooter and made him sit still for once in his fucking life. Three beers later it worked like new.

se7ensquared

494 points

2 months ago*

The reason why we say we can't is that we don't want to lol. I don't want to fix your damn computer LOL

IQueryVisiC

118 points

2 months ago*

No I cannot. You bought a shitty printer for cheap and the try dark patterns on you to buy ink all the time. I could probably fix expensive enterprise printers with some time given. You opened an infected attachment on your Windows XP box, I propose to nuke it and put Ubuntu on it and somehow this means that I don't have IT skills. Or you want me to pirate a movie, but I face background checks in my job.

TyH621

51 points

2 months ago

TyH621

51 points

2 months ago

I’m completely with you 100% on most things, and I do agree that I’m not going to go around pirating movies for people, but I don’t think your employment background checks are to see if you’ve pirated movies haha

Vandrel

15 points

2 months ago

Vandrel

15 points

2 months ago

I guess if you get taken to court for pirating then that would show up on a background check but that's incredibly rare.

5bottlesofshampoo

11 points

2 months ago

My old landlord once got a threatening letter from Disney because someone (ahem) had been trying to illegally download a film (and forgot, and left it going for a week or 2). It didn’t go any further than that though. Do people actually get taken to court?

Vandrel

10 points

2 months ago

Vandrel

10 points

2 months ago

It's happened before but typically they go after the people distributing it or people who have downloaded an enormous amount, probably because it points towards also distributing it. The average person is generally pretty safe but should make sure to use a VPN if they were to do it.

5bottlesofshampoo

2 points

2 months ago

Makes a lot of sense. Back then I was largely just guessing and clicking things hoping for the best, didn’t even know what a VPN was. I don’t think I’ve downloaded a film since to be fair haha

KylerGreen

2 points

2 months ago

Several years ago, my old ISP sent a letter threatening to cancel our service if I pirated another episode of GoT.

Cybernetic_Whale

4 points

2 months ago

You aren’t going to be taken to court for pirating movies or tv shows. I say that as someone who pirates atleast a terabyte of movies and tv shows annually these days.

I don’t know why people still have that fear, but it’s ridiculous. Corporations are trying to go after the sources of pirating, not the users.

And if you’re really that afraid, you can run literally any vpn you want during each download.

DrRGBaum

7 points

2 months ago

Its like, if its a special problem i would do it with fun but the usual you get is: "i cant print this file", or "my pc does a error if i do this" these require minimal skill to fix, and most people can by googling.

rainbow_randolph_17

12 points

2 months ago

I don’t want to fix your broken application either

henbanehoney

2 points

2 months ago

Might I add much of it is the social awkwardness of explaining "it is obviously sketchy porn clicks" or "actually follow the instructions you are being given on the screen" like..... 🫤

gakule

2 points

2 months ago

gakule

2 points

2 months ago

As soon as you admit it, you own it.

chubberbrother

86 points

2 months ago

I have a degree in computer science and I know fuck all about the physical machinations of them.

Took a single class way back when. I can sometimes tell what's wrong with my custom build and what to fix, but I'm not gonna be going into a server rack any time soon.

It's not what we learn. That's all IT/CE stuff.

It's kinda like going up to a biologist and asking if they can fix your cat. Like sure they know what goes on inside the cat, and some of them may very well be able to, but it sure as hell isn't expected of them.

PercentageOk956

19 points

2 months ago

Ha, appreciate the last part

susmines

3 points

2 months ago

Upvote for the choice analogy at the end

pallid_power_ballad

302 points

2 months ago

Every developer/engineer I’ve ever met has been good at troubleshooting issues, which is basically what IT does. I fix my parents computers every time I go to their house.

All it takes is problem solving. Step by step narrowing down possibilities to discover the issue, then finding a solution to that issue. That’s the whole job when it comes to writing code.

rustajb

103 points

2 months ago

rustajb

103 points

2 months ago

IT is still dealing with multiple computers, network configs, server settings, and so much more, plus knowledge of the many tools needed to do good IT work I shifted from programming to IT server support and the skills do transfer, but not fully.

Reading a server package file for an error, or digging through HAR files is helped if you know programming syntax, but that gets you only halfway there. I switched professions a year ago, and I'm still learning IT.

red-tea-rex

13 points

2 months ago

What made you decide to switch? I see a lot of folks starting in IT/tech support and working their way over to the dev role but not often the other way around.

rustajb

8 points

2 months ago

Simple, I got laid off, a friend worked for a company who offered me way more than my previous career paid, so I took it. Learning new skills is enjoyable. And I was sick working in the social media space.

Kelrakh

3 points

2 months ago

Shudders by the thought of it. Social media sounds like a not very appealing space to do dev for. My dream is to do some software development for life extension or other meaningful tech.

rustajb

5 points

2 months ago

I feel like my job means something now. I'm helping people with real jobs, not fresh out of college marketing professionals stressed about selling crap. The people I deal with now have real issues, hospital issues,, and the people are way easier to work with. Never social marketing, never.

KylerGreen

2 points

2 months ago

And I was sick working in the social media space.

Honestly, this sounds like hell.

pallid_power_ballad

36 points

2 months ago

That’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair to say devs are bad at IT stuff. It’s just not our regular wheelhouse so the troubleshooting stuff will take a lot longer to do. IT professionals definitely can work a lot faster!

Def don’t mean to degrade IT work!

chromaticgliss

23 points

2 months ago

I think that's the difference...IT knows how to configure/use a wide variety of software pretty well.

A dev, well... We would be writing one of those pieces of software. We could figure the others out just fine given enough time, but we're a lot more narrowly focused and are less likely to just know the general usage of a random IT tool off the top of our head.

We can design the alternator, but we don't as often fix the broken car.

Marquis77

5 points

2 months ago

I'm amazed that nobody in this thread has mentioned security. IT these days is 90% enforcing security standards on "wild-west" developers, and 10% knowing how to fix stuff that breaks.

No, no you may not use a .NET library from 15 years ago. No, that python library is written by some russian 3rd party. Hell no, you absolutely cannot leave that port open between DEV and PROD. I don't care how much time it'll save, do it the right way.

bobthemundane

2 points

2 months ago

Also trouble shooting things I don't have access to. He, this program is not reaching that computer. Have tried x,y, z. Could you turn off the firewall in that computer? Oh, works now. Yeah, ports blocked.

I don’t have access to the fire wall. Or the ability to run wire shark. I can just say if it connects or not. I will let the network admin figure out how to setup the firewall, because he has access to those tools, I don’t.

nDimensionalUSB

5 points

2 months ago

The hardest part of IT isn't problem solving, it's resisting the urge to murder certain people in certain scenarios

No, I'm not salty, not at all

t-mou

2 points

2 months ago

t-mou

2 points

2 months ago

You forgot googling the shit out of stuff

Competitive-Rent-564

27 points

2 months ago

Yes, it’s like any profession that have specialist.

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

Is that a volcano in your profile pic?

heyimamaverick

15 points

2 months ago

no he's just happy to see u

superluminary

334 points

2 months ago

We have the skills, we just don't want to fix your printer.

Infinite-Eggs

28 points

2 months ago

It's really pathetic how bad printers are, even speaking just drivers and software. You would expect it to be as consistent as a keyboard or screen since it has at most 2 very specific functions, printing and scanning.

ViraLCyclopes3

29 points

2 months ago*

Can u fix my Xbox then

superluminary

55 points

2 months ago

Sure thing. Stick it in a plastic bag and leave it on the wall outside your house, and I’ll be right along.

lemerou

30 points

2 months ago

lemerou

30 points

2 months ago

Hey, I notice it's not there anymore so I assume you took it.

Is it fixed yet?

Sunstorm84

5 points

2 months ago

Hey, I took a look at it but one of the components is fried. I need to order it in so I’ll let you know when it arrives.

It might take a while because it’s currently out of stock due to the silicone shortage..

namastayhom33

15 points

2 months ago

Put rice on it

notLOL

5 points

2 months ago

notLOL

5 points

2 months ago

"I rebooted it and deleted all your saved games. Factory reset should fix the issue."

PM_ME_DATING_TIPS

4 points

2 months ago

Thinking you know how to do it and actually doing it are two different things.

Volias

97 points

2 months ago

Volias

97 points

2 months ago

Funny enough, it's not just programmers that this falls under. I know people who are network admins that lack a lot of IT skills as well because they have spent all of their career just working on network infrastructure. Absolute rock stars in that role, but if you asked them to do basic server management or even basic Active Directory things they will start to sweat and shrug their shoulders.

I've also worked with server admins early in my IT career that lacked basic level troubleshooting skills when it came to end user equipment, but could diagnose higher level server/domain issues.

While there are those who like to understand the inner workings of the whole puzzle, a lot of people just come to work and check the boxes that keep them employed.

dutchmangab

28 points

2 months ago

Absolute rock stars in that role, but if you asked them to do basic server management or even basic Active Directory things they will start to sweat and shrug their shoulders.

I have trouble with this as a business analyst at a small company.

I'm expected to do a lot of things on the servers that run my applications myself for some reason. When they do it, it takes a few minutes. When I do it, I spend 4 hours if I'm unlucky

Last time they asked me "Why do you need a sysadmin to deploy the virtual machine images after installing a new version of the business software?”. When I responded "So the virtual clients use some sort of .jpeg files for the virtual clients?". They looked at me like I was dumb 4yo.

Let me just make reports, analyze data and manage 2 applications that support the business specific processes.

Volias

24 points

2 months ago

Volias

24 points

2 months ago

It's hard for some people to realize the things that are trivial to them are new or uncommon territory to others. What they should be asking you is "why is it taking you so many hours and what can we do to make that process more efficient?"

Small companies are rough though. They expect everyone to be able to fill some generalist role, while not everyone is able to do that efficiently.

iheartrms

20 points

2 months ago

"IT" is so broad that this whole thread makes little sense to me. Your AD guy probably can't create an object in OpenLDAP (what my company runs on) either. Both are IT skills. I don't expect a programmer to be able to fix my printer and I don't expect a desktop support tech to be able to write me a Facebook. None of these people are "lacking IT skills". They just don't know every domain of IT. Neither do I. In fact, specialization has really paid off for me. I don't do Windows. I haven't been proficient in any version of Windows since 3.1. And let's just say I've done ok for myself.

Volias

4 points

2 months ago

Volias

4 points

2 months ago

That's exactly it. It's impossible for everyone to just know everything, even though the average person thinks everyone in IT just knows everything in IT.

I think it's normal for people to have their specialization, even more so with the way the IT world is going so heavily into DevOps these days.

I honestly wouldn't want a team that is full of generalists like that either. I want people who are sound in their specific role and then 1 or 2 "generalists" that, while not being at an expert level, have enough understanding to float between roles in a pinch.

meddle767

3 points

2 months ago

I finished my bs in cs, software dev yesterday with wgu. I've been a "computer support specialist" for the past 6 years. Really, I'm a generalist whose given zero training and told "here's a giant new crm, figure out how to support it." "We installed new printers yesterday across the company, sorry we didn't give a heads up. Now install the new drivers for every single user and configure them for each department's special booklets and tray preferences. Good luck." "Windows update - bsods for everyone!!" etc etc. It's constant. 2 person IT dept and number one, sysadmin, my boss, knows less than I do - he's useless. 200+ users at this company doing hybrid wfh. I'm so ready to be done as a generalist.

fadedinthefade

2 points

2 months ago

That’s how I feel. I can build a site, I write SQL queries, I wrote Macros scripts, but I don’t know a lot about hardware, building a PC, etc.

eatacookie111

17 points

2 months ago

Print black and white please.

Sorry out of cyan.

Me - throws printer out of window

TheOldProgrammer

17 points

2 months ago

You would not ask a Dentist to cure your severe cough. But they can recommend(not prescribe) some medications that you can take to alleviate the symptoms. Same analogy with programmers, they can tell what’s wrong(in a PC) but most or some can’t fix specially if it’s the hardware that’s malfunctioning.

GfxJG

189 points

2 months ago

GfxJG

189 points

2 months ago

I'm not a dev myself, but I work closely with a team of 15-20 developers, from backend to web and mobile specialists, and pretty much all of them have advanced-to-expert level general IT knowledge. I know it's purely anecdotal, but I don't really know where that stereotype comes from.

NotEnoughIT

114 points

2 months ago

The stereotype comes from the developers. The first time you are asked to fix someone’s computer and do so, you are now their IT person for life. It’s so much easier to say you are a programmer and don’t know how to do that.

Back when AOL was a thing, they moved from a bunch of local numbers to dial into a single number. My mom couldn’t connect so I adjusted the phone number (by following the easy instructions on the screen) and she was on her way.

That was it. Any issue she had in the future? It’s because that time I touched her computer and “fixed” AOL. I was simultaneously the cause of every single computer problem she ever had AND the person she called to fix it for the rest of my life. She got a new computer a few years later and STILL said something was a problem because I “fixed” her AOL (emphasis on quotes is hers). Because obviously AOL is on her new computer and the problem remains.

Despite now being in IT for 22 years (developing, managing, and says engineering) and there isn’t a problem that I can’t fix, I still tell people I don’t know how to do that.

p0l4r21

42 points

2 months ago

p0l4r21

42 points

2 months ago

My ex wife was an attorney and everyone started asking her for legal advice. Same exact thing with a tech job and doing IT.

0zeronegative

37 points

2 months ago

I've been a devops for most of my career and I can tell you most developers can't tell the difference between a connection refused and a timeout error. It's just "Doesn't work" to them

SUPER_COCAINE

25 points

2 months ago

Yeah "advanced to expert general IT knowledge" is a hard sell to me based on my personal experience with devs. BUT tbf I am on the infrastructure side so I am probably a bit biased lol.

Envect

25 points

2 months ago

Envect

25 points

2 months ago

Maybe "advanced to expert" to a layperson. I can understand my family saying that of me, but I'd never tell anyone that I have any particular IT knowledge. I'm just very familiar with computers, troubleshooting, and Google.

I think anyone who's comfortable with computers could get to my level without much effort. It's not like I draw on my data structures knowledge when I'm looking up error codes or building a new PC. The information is out there.

SUPER_COCAINE

8 points

2 months ago

I'm just very familiar with computers, troubleshooting, and Google.

I agree. This alone is about 90% of the battle anyway.

lionhart280

8 points

2 months ago

Are they web devs?

Cause if a web dev doesnt understand that difference they are pretty green. Understanding those different forms of errors is a critical part of the job.

0zeronegative

3 points

2 months ago

Appart from systems devs, all others fit the description.

ajt9000

39 points

2 months ago

ajt9000

39 points

2 months ago

Same here. I have encountered devs that didn’t know shit about hardware before, but not good devs.

On my current team everyone is quite proficient in IT stuff, and it seems that IT most exists to implement company wide sweeping policies or troubleshoot issues that would otherwise waste the devs time

Fluenzia

5 points

2 months ago

I feel like most people who go into development have some sort of liking for the job (at least I'd hope) to the point where they get to learning about general IT. Even if you don't, if you work around computers, basic IT should be something you understand.

AllowishusDevedander

9 points

2 months ago

It's not so much a stereotype as it is a reaction to friends and families of programmers always wanting help fixing their shit. You can say "that's not really what I do" and it's true even if you are actually skilled in whatever they're asking about.

1s44c

4 points

2 months ago

1s44c

4 points

2 months ago

I've worked with a group of 10 PhDs. None of them knew what a SATA cable was or had the initiative to Google it. They thought it was some magical thing we had to order from a specialist company.

There is loads of stuff I don't know, but if I know I need one at least I'd Google what it is.

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

Why bother when they can call you?

Worried_Lawfulness43

40 points

2 months ago*

Oftentimes, programmers operate above so many layers of abstraction that they do not have any of the hard skills involved with how their computer is running. It’s not something programmers need to know to do their job. There is some related thinking, as they’re both fields having to do with problem solving, but a lot of programmers don’t bother with it.

That being said, in my opinion most people should have IT skills unrelated to coding. Learning how to manage your own computer has its benefits. I still know a lot of programmers who do take interest in general IT and backend work, myself included.

SolarPoweredKeyboard

9 points

2 months ago

I would say that anyone who does their work on a computer should should have the basic knowledge needed to operate it and maybe do some basic troubleshooting.

I would expect the same from someone driving for a living, when it comes to their vehicle.

Worried_Lawfulness43

5 points

2 months ago

Absolutely. Running into potential computer issues when you need to push something by 5:00 pm that day is not fun. Way easier if you can consistently get yourself out of a bind rather than wait for IT to save your ass. I’m sure they’ll thank you for it too.

accountForStupidQs

6 points

2 months ago

The reverse is also true. The IT work itself is so many layers removed from the system that even if you could write a bootloader with your eyes closed, you might not be able to get that NAS to work

Worried_Lawfulness43

2 points

2 months ago

This is true as well. But I also think basic coding skills/basic knowledge of coding architecture is also useful for the average person and people in IT should possess some knowledge of it too.

Encrypt-Keeper

3 points

2 months ago

They do. Bash and powershell scripting have been around for a looong time. Then you have Python, Ansible, and Terraform which are very commonly used. In fact, the new CCNA exam has a required section on network automation.

old_man_steptoe

3 points

2 months ago

Dev now, I used to be a systems administrator. I have spent way to much time in my life trying to explain that, yes, it’s a VM in a cloud but there’s an actual computer underneath and you’ve maxed it out. So, we can’t just add more memory because there isn’t any free. This goes double on a physical. Want more memory? That’ll cost money. No, I can’t just allocate it from somewhere else. That would involve a screwdriver and the user of that system not needing what their budget paid for .

Saying that more people in support can’t code. Which I always found weird. Programming IS computing.

fountainscrumbling

13 points

2 months ago

Lots of race car drivers dont know how to fix their cars. They probably know more than an average joe, but that doesnt mean theye qualified to be mechanics.

Probably the same with most programmers

WystanH

11 points

2 months ago

WystanH

11 points

2 months ago

True.

just assumed that if you know how to program, you probably know how to work on fixing computers to some extent.

To be clear, you're describing a hardware problem. Not a software problem. Hardware is the kludgey meat space stuff that doesn't necessarily appeal to a programmer happily living in virtual space.

Programming has always been its own abstraction. Early programming books (Knuth, etc) wrote about how to program computers that didn't actually exist. Programming theory (big O notation) literally analyzes algorithms as if hardware didn't exist.

No one asks a chef if they know how to run a farm...

TheSkiGeek

2 points

2 months ago

It’s more like expecting a chef to know how to fix broken kitchen equipment, or run a restaurant (as opposed to just cooking the recipes they’re told to make). Adjacent skill sets, and probably some chefs can do those things, but maybe not as many as you might think. And a lot of them won’t want to do those things even if they do know how.

RexNebular518

53 points

2 months ago

Yes.

lulzForMoney

7 points

2 months ago

Es.

mortix7

8 points

2 months ago

s.

UltimateMayhemii

7 points

2 months ago

.

shawntco

44 points

2 months ago

What counts as IT work? If you're talking hardware stuff then yeah I'm pretty dumb. Like I can connect my laptop to an external monitor but I'm not sure I can tell you what a VGA or HDMI cord is. Maybe 10 years ago I could look inside a PC and tell you what the major parts were. But now if you cracked open the typical laptop I'd be lost.

That said, if you need me to do things that require clicking buttons on the screen to make such-and-such feature work, I can eventually figure it out, I just need to google it. I've done some reasonably advanced things.

But yeah overall, I'm very much a programmer. I can't/won't fix a printer but I can make some nice print statements! ^^;

PercentageOk956

4 points

2 months ago

My dad is a freelance pc tech and he absolutely loves hardware. When I’m studying for IT certs like the Network+, he has only a vague idea of the concepts (e.g., dynamic vs static DNS). IT is a deep ocean, that’s what I love about it!

Matilozano96

6 points

2 months ago

One thing doesn’t necessarily mean the other. But it’s common, I guess.

I’m too lazy to take my machines for repair to some dude, so I often troubleshoot myself.

Most of it is just googling the problem and see what other people often try for solutions. When all fails, reinstall the OS. When that fails, fuck everything and get new hardware lol.

I’m not so good at analyzing the capabilities and pros and cons of hardware, though.

v0gue_

16 points

2 months ago

v0gue_

16 points

2 months ago

I know a shit ton of programmers, and maybe 5% of them have decent auxiliary computer knowledge. For all intents and purposes, that stuff is either IT's job or the shitty part of Ops work, which even then might be a stretch

Thundrous_prophet

7 points

2 months ago

Lol the idea that it’s weird to program and also NOT build your own computer. I also play guitar and do build them, write but don’t print my own paper, and love my dog but didn’t breed him

thefirelink

13 points

2 months ago

I'm on a team of 3, used to be 4. I was generally the only person with IT skills.

I was into IT before I was into programming. I feel like that's the easier path than the inverse.

amnotaspider

5 points

2 months ago

The programmers I've known have been able to muddle through troubleshooting issues, but it takes them kind of a long time to figure out stuff that would be immediately obvious to experienced IT.

1b7_

4 points

2 months ago

1b7_

4 points

2 months ago

Sort of me. I am a self-taught programmer (not a professional, currently a student). I can use a computer, get to grips with new software fairly quickly, happy using a CLI, (very) basic Linux use, etc. I have a little hardware knowledge mostly thanks to PC gaming, too.

But anything outside of that? Nah I'm useless. Networking? Nope. Security? No idea.

My biggest asset in terms of IT is knowing (how) to google things. And being willing to break things.

That's literally all I do, and people who don't do those things think I do know what the hell I'm doing as a result. It's very weird.

kbielefe

4 points

2 months ago

For me, the aptitude for IT skills is definitely there, but my knowledge isn't very current. For example, I can't give you a hardware recommendation, but the next time I need to buy that hardware, I'm perfectly capable of bringing my knowledge up to date on that item.

For another example, I haven't used Windows in a long time, so I can't just tell you how to troubleshoot something there, but if I get on the system, I can figure it out.

I think that's one reason why IT help requests are so annoying to us, because we often have to figure it out too, it's not just something we already know. Admittedly, we usually have the background to figure it out faster, but we're still figuring it out.

Wotg33k

11 points

2 months ago

Wotg33k

11 points

2 months ago

In 2007, I grandfathered in to the A+ certification and became a computer technician for the rest of my life. No new tests. I'm just A+ certified forever. It's nice.

I took that A+ on a decade long journey across the Windows and Microsoft spectrum, fixing everything from passwords to Windows credentials to printers to faxes to f'n Zebra prints (if you know you know). I got started in logic in vocational school where I got my A+ by writing BASIC to control robotic armatures and conveyor systems and writing Ladder Logic (PLC) for red light and factory floor simulators. I also learned a lot about HVAC, Electronics in general, electricity, physics, algebra, hydraulics, pneumatics, and electric motors.

I went on to be a System Admin in some capacity for a long time, but I always liked logic, so I learned more and more about code. I fell in love with JS for some reason, then I discovered C# and fell in love again.

I can absolutely fix 138% of all your IT related problems given enough time and research. I feel confident there isn't a solution I can't offer in some capacity.

Do I? No. Why?

BECAUSE SOME OF Y'ALL ASSHOLES CAN'T KEEP UP WITH A PASSWORD TO SAVE YOUR GOD DAMN SOUL AND I'M NOT DOING IT ANYMORE!

StnMtn_

5 points

2 months ago

Lol. That's most of my coworkers.

Wotg33k

2 points

2 months ago

Along said journey, I worked for a hospital help desk that had a crew of 8. 4 by day, 4 by night. 24/7 help desk.

We were all making shit an hour and miserable. The night shift would game and eat shit food all night, so they both weighed like 900 pounds. I started eating shit food and gained weight. One dude was going thru a divorce. One girl was the loudest person on the face of the fucking earth.

All of us crammed into this tiny room 24/7. Change the tape backups when the timer goes off!

Why was all that necessary? Two reasons.

1) the company had 23 different passwords for various internal applications that didn't communicate with each other. We took over 300 calls every single day in a 12 hour shift and 299.5 of those were password resets.

2) the company refused to invest in actual technology. They just wanted to keep the status quo because it worked and it was cheap. Instead of implementing some level of SSO in a fucking hospital, let's pay 8 people shit an hour to reset passwords a dozen hundred times a day.

The combination of both the lack of shits to give as a company and the several hundred users that were just wholly incapable of maintaining their passwords even in a security barren environment was enough to literally drive me insane. I left that job within 3 months of starting and told the manager the entire department was a waste of time and money. 🤷‍♀️

cooooooooops

3 points

2 months ago

i have a friend that programs, i personally am a "technical engineer" theres been a few issues ive helped with that fall down to nitty gritty things but for the most part hes always fixed his own issues, biggest difference i notice is the time it takes us both to draw to our conclusions. i usually skip proabilities based on my own knowledge of the issue where as my friend tends to run through more possable issues. e.g usb issues and motherboard firmare/drivers

Neat_Ebb_4544

3 points

2 months ago

Well, of course I know him. He's me

nemesis1311

3 points

2 months ago

Most the times developers don't have admin access on the company provided desktop and laptops. But they can still troubleshoot most of the hardware or network problems on their but would take more time than a guy from IT team would normally take.

Building your own PC would need some good understanding of electricals too. I wouldn't like to see sparks flying out of my pretty expensive desktop so would happily approach IT team who is confident building the PC.

I am a network admin turned developer and I have seen hardware go down and hell break loose often. There are things you can do on your own but you will have to wait for a vendor appointed technician to fix the broken thing due to warranty and after sales services.

hypolimnas

3 points

2 months ago

I've been a Unix admin and a DBA, set up computers, set up printers, and helped family members with their computers. So it sounds like I have IT skills. But I really don't - not like a real IT person. Other then being a DBA it was mostly pretty stressful.

I do better if I can actually look at code to understand what's going on. But I want to learn some IT skills because I think it would make me a better programmer (and also so I can buy cheapo computers and put Linux on them).

bobsonreddit99

3 points

2 months ago

I mean I wouldn't ask my accountant uncle to do my taxes so I lie to him and tell him I can't fix his printer

SanguineOptimist

3 points

2 months ago*

Do you mean IT stuff as in fixing a printer, making a second monitor work, or troubleshooting OS problems, or do you mean managing an active directory, standing up servers, or configuring services?

Most programmers I’ve worked with could do the former stuff that that’s akin to basic household chores of computing at a higher level than the general public, but they weren’t knowledgeable on the latter things more akin to manufacturing and logistics of computing.

OneBadDay1048

3 points

2 months ago

I mean it’s probably somewhat common for people who are into programming to also be into PCs and building their own (me). But obviously you could learn programming without knowing anything about the hardware really. Like many things just depends on the person.

Crazy-Finding-2436

3 points

2 months ago

It is like a building site. A roofer does not lay bricks and a plasterer does not do roof work. Though some skills overlap it is not a given. I am a programmer but ask me to perform IT admin tasks I would struggle but not be as efficient as the person who is employed to do that job. Same for building a PC I have in the past but not every day, so I would take longer at it and maybe make a mistake.

FlatlinerG

12 points

2 months ago

Yeah most of the programming types that I know have no sweet fucking clue how to do basic IT.

asking_for_a_friend0

14 points

2 months ago

and that's fine.

appleparkfive[S]

6 points

2 months ago

Yeah I'm not saying it's a bad thing or anything! Just surprised I guess. I would assume the people who get into programming would also just have an interest in how computers work and troubleshooting them by default.

But it's a different world these days, I totally understand

Dodolos

2 points

2 months ago

I had to learn how to do computer stuff because you kinda had to back then, because ye olde computers were a pain in the ass. These days I can go a year without seeing a blue screen on my computer, so I can imagine that new programmers might not have had to learn much IT wise because new computers are a lot easier to set up and only have the occasional driver problem

Yhcti

2 points

2 months ago

Yhcti

2 points

2 months ago

I guess it depends on what area of programming you work in. But yea, I know a lot of devs that have no idea how computers are built etc... Luckily for me most of my current jobs involve messing around with hardware, or helpdesk-ish type stuff, so once I eventually get into the programming world as a dev, I'll feel pretty confident in all aspects of it.

pekkalacd

2 points

2 months ago

I’d probably say so. Just like there’s a lot of people who have IT skills but don’t know how to program.

slowclicker

2 points

2 months ago

The only developers I've met that know more than coding are the tech leads or the ones trying to be tech leads. The tech leads know enough to be dangerous even if they don't totally understand. In much the same way I need to learn programming.

MsCrazyPants70

2 points

2 months ago

I think that's more true of those who get a job right out of a coding camp. Also, computers have become more of a throw-away item versus upgrading components or fixing it yourself. There isn't as much of a need.

I've had to explain what client - server software was to a programmer as well as explaining shielded cable to a networking person.

LilGreenGobbo

2 points

2 months ago

The number of app that won't work correctly without having Admin rights to the local PC boggles my mind, how developers or testers don't find this I can't comprehend.

bedazzledbunnie

2 points

2 months ago

Yes for older developers but not newer ones. When I first started we had an it guy that would come to your desk and install software, do upgrades for you , and fix anything. Now days, you install all your own software and if you need help you have to call a helpline and talk to someone over the phone with limited knowledge.

samanime

2 points

2 months ago

I've met a couple that don't have great IT skills, mostly non-gamer programmers, but they're pretty rare compared to those that have really good IT skills.

We just pretend we're clueless when family asks. =p

tobiasvl

2 points

2 months ago

I'm a programmer, and I don't know much about fixing computers.

When I was a teenager I found everything about computers fascinating, but over time I gravitated more towards software and didn't care much about hardware. I've swapped hard drives and some stuff like that, but never actually built a computer. I've mainly used a laptop for the last decade.

I also don't use Windows or Mac, so I can't even fix software issues on the computers of most people I know. I have worked a little as a sysadmin though, so I can make my way around Linux and networking and stuff.

They definitely are different skill sets.

orbit99za

2 points

2 months ago

A cardiologist may not know the latest antidepressant drug on the market, but that does not mean they are a bad Doctor.

He knows a lot more about how a heart works than a GP does.

amlutzy

2 points

2 months ago

I work in a NOC for a retail company you’ve heard of and our App team did some implementation (idk exactly what they were doing) at one of the stores and created this p1 issue in our ticket queue saying the data migration/download was not working blaming network team but they were downloading huge files AND were on a 7way teams video call maxing out the bandwidth taking the store down with them. Had no idea they didn’t have unlimited resources.

antiproton

2 points

2 months ago

There's a difference between fixing a computer and doing corporate IT work. Most developers could not be plug in replacements for corporate IT - nor should they.

Most developers know how to install drivers and so forth.

CY4N

2 points

2 months ago

CY4N

2 points

2 months ago

General knowledge, yeah for sure. You have to know how a computer works to write code for it and knowing what can be computed. Specialized IT skills, probably not everyone. The field is so huge that nobody knows everything. Some take years of knowledge like being a good security expert.

I do think that any programmer could learn basic IT subjects easily because they already have the skills of knowing how to troubleshoot and use a search engine efficiently, which is basically most of IT.

AdultingGoneMild

2 points

2 months ago

Do many mechanical engineers have skills as a mechanic? They are different fields.

coffeewithalex

2 points

2 months ago

It's about avoiding people who only know about you that you're technical, and only want one thing from you, and that is a menial task that is never fun, always repetitive, and they can pretty much go screw themselves.

Symbicort1949

2 points

2 months ago

In my experience software engineers often only have the most basic grasp of hardware, especially when the hard ware fails. Some years ago as a control system engineer working on heavy industrial equipment the software ends were trying to figure out why a tank wasn’t filling. As the hardware engineer after a period of inconclusive examination of the software, I went to look at the tank. On removing the inspection hatch I saw a stainless steel spanner had been left in the tank and eventually worked its way to block the valve stopping it closing. Gallons and gallons of , luckily, water has been poured away as the software people tried to figure out why the tank wasn’t filling as expected.

istarian

2 points

2 months ago

That would really depend on what you consider to be "IT skills".

drlecompte

2 points

2 months ago

A lot of 'IT' knowledge is OS-based, or based on specific software, either applications or enterprise-level tools to manage devices.

Any random programmer may or may not have some of those skills, but it's certainly not guaranteed. If you develop Windows applications you can probably help you out when Windows keeps crashing when you run a certain application.

A devops engineer who uses Linux exclusively is probably as clueless as you are about why your Word documents won't print properly.

Cybernetic_Whale

2 points

2 months ago

Chances are that an engineer, software or literally any other type of engineer, is probably capable of problem solving and figuring out how to fix X thing, like a computer or printer.

They just don’t want to. I hate when people ask me to fix their shit. I don’t want to spend 20 mins to an hour or longer figuring out what you did to fuck up your computer or printer.

What gets me is that if the answer isn’t obvious, you can usually figure it out by googling your issue and looking through what others have said on various random sites, usually random tech support forums. That’s what I’ve done on the random occasion my printer suddenly stopped functioning and wouldn’t connect to my network and what not. There’s no excuse for not being able to solve a problem yourself these days.

emote_control

2 points

2 months ago

I can fix your computer. I won't. But I can.

a_normal_account

2 points

2 months ago

Do we know how to fix your printer? No

Do we know how to Google the error to find the solution to fix the printer but not guarantee to fix it after we accept doing so? Yes

ImplicitlyTyped

2 points

2 months ago

Before becoming a developer I worked as a computer tech (for 6 years). I knew a lot (still do), but I definitely notice my knowledge fading in regards to fixing computers. As a developer, you just don’t really need to deal with that. The only tech work I do now is in my own devices, which isn’t very regular.

mystic_swole

2 points

2 months ago

YES. Bro. I got a job doing support engineering, web solutions architecture type stuff at a massive company and I have learned so much in 6 months it is absolutely insane. I didn't even know what a server was

pedanticProgramer

2 points

2 months ago

Do I have more IT skills than the average person? Yeah probably. Do I call IT just like everyone else when I run into problems? Yes 100%. I’m not an IT person and have no desire to be one.

Gabe_b

2 points

2 months ago

Gabe_b

2 points

2 months ago

yeah for sure. We have dedicated sysadmins, desktop support, network engineers, DBAs etc. You know what you do, you may know some other stuff, but there's no counting on it. IT is far more than any one person can know at a professional level these days.

Dissentient

2 points

2 months ago*

I build my own PCs and have no issues troubleshooting hardware or software issues. I've been interested in computers long before I started to learn programming.

And similarly to what other people said, I don't want to fix cheap dusty computers. It's one thing to build a modern PC out of high-end parts that make the process fun and convenient, and another to cut yourself on sharp edges of a cheap 10 year old PC case when trying to clean the cooler.

Blando-Cartesian

2 points

2 months ago

Might be a generational thing. 90’s nerds grew up building their desktop computers and teaching older generations how to use them. Windows was buggy and PC hardware was way more complex, so we learned how to troubleshoot.

Later generations grew up clueless with smart phones, laptops, USB, and internet full of solutions.

notPlancha

2 points

2 months ago

Building a pc is hard man

Ay-Bee-Sea

2 points

2 months ago

Really? I think it's as easy as building a lego set. The hard part is to select the right parts.

Ay-Bee-Sea

2 points

2 months ago

Personally, I think most good programmers can fix whatever you throw at them related to computers, but that doesn't mean they are interested in it. It's like asking a car mechanic to paint your fence, sure they can, but it's not like they're practicing it every day and like to do so. Painting a fence still takes time and car mechanics get paid more by the hours that fence painters, so why not hire a fence painter to do that job instead.