The Gulf between the people and the techies: IT Professionals ARE indeed different

Thank you to Computer Weekly for enabling me to download the pcl report “Made to Measure: Intelligent Personality Assessment – inside the mind of IT Professionals“. I remember when the British Computer Society wanted a soap opera to promote IT careers. We got “The IT Crowd“. The diagram on page 18  of the pcl report, summarising the average personality and competence profiles of different professionals  shows how accurate it was. The IT professionals come top in studiousness and bottom in sociability, assertiveness, compliance and composure. They also perform poorly on perfectionism (which might come as a surprise to some, but not to others!) and on sensitivity (no great surprise).

Given that the industry has long used psychometric tests in its recruitment processes this raise the interesting question of whether the nerdish profile is the result of nature, nurture or is a side effect of the industry’s selection processes. At any rate, it does not augur well for the production of more successful systems in the future.   

At any rate, it helps explain what I reported in my last blog entry – that there is a wide and growing gulf between the priorities of the IT industry and its lobbyists and the rest of the electorate.

If we really do want to change the profile of the industry and deliver more successful and reliable systems we have to begin by rewriting our careers material – to attract sociable, sensitive and imaginative perfectionists as opposed to studious, rebellious (i.e. low on compliance) introverts. 

Now back to the pavement, meeting ‘real’ people.  

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