Isn’t it time the IT industry’s evangelists learned to mind their language?

Nick Booth finds that our techies could learn a lot from our decent English speaking contemporaries across the channel

One of the reasons why Romania is becoming an important destination for IT companies is that the people there have a gift for languages. Many a German company has a call centre across the border without any of the customers even realizing they are making an international call.

French is taught in Romanian schools and there is no shortage of Italian and Spanish speakers. It’s this gift for communication that makes Bucharest a hot bed for support, according to Ionna Hreninciuc, commercial director for infrastructure as a service company Big Step.

Bucharest’s colleges and universities pump out a fertile supply of well spoken techies that keep companies like Microsoft, Intel, Alcatel and Amazon ahead of their respective games. Cap Gemni and Accenture have bases here too. It goes without saying that their grasp of English will be far superior to any English student’s knowledge of Romanian. In fact, many Bucharest students speak better English than what we do, innit?

Aside from its college educated IT graduates, there’s another raw source of talent. These are the mavericks, who have somehow learned both IT and English by assimilation from the internet and technical manuals. The man who hacked into NASA was one of these. “Some of the greatest IT people in Romania had no IT training,” says Hreninciuc.

Romania leads the world in hackers and crackers too, so there is an unexploited potential for creating IT gamekeepers with comprehensive, first hand security knowledge.

Bit Defender was started in this country, as was Brainient and Ubervu.

Big Step (which is a spin off of hosting company Hostway) now has a London office, so Hreninciuc spends most of her time over here now. Having learned to speak proper English, Lord knows what she makes of the babble that is used to communicate in the UK IT industry now.

The IT industry seems to be on a mission to subvert the English language by devising nonsensical words, like IT Agnostic.

Taken literally, the phrase ‘IT agnostic’ should describe a person who isn’t sure whether they believe in the existence of information technology. You’d expect such a cynic to be out of place in a computing company but you’d be wrong. There’s hundreds of them, mostly working in systems integration. Ironically, these ‘IT agnostics’ have very catholic tastes in technology and want to work with anything.

I’m not sure how they get on with the ‘IT evangelists’ who, ironically, don’t seem to have been empowered by the Holy Spirit at all. They don’t speak their gospel to all creation either, and seem to limit the scope of their audience. They only speak in tongues to IT managers, who are similarly affected. They need to read the manual, specifically Ephesians, Chapter 4, which issued very different advice to potential evangelists.

Then there’s the people who claim to use a ‘methodology’. An ‘ology’ is the study of something. So people who boast about their methodology are making claims about their study of methods. Not their actual method. So they’re not actually using the right words, or using them in the right order. I hope their syntax is a bit more accurate in their programming.

Most of us in the UK only speak one language, and it seems like we’re having trouble with that one. So maybe the Romanians can help us out. Our languages have the same derivation, but there’s known as a form of vulgar Latin. I’d take that over IT agnostic any day!

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