Psychology of the Geek Squad

September 11, 2008 ( - Stereotypes abound for the often quiet and seemingly intellectually untouchable IT professionals, but a new survey reveals the reality of the motivations and preferences of nearly 3,000 IT professionals and executives from more than 100 countries.

Notably, ITtoolbox, the online community where professionals share IT knowledge and best practices, and PJA Advertising + Marketing found IT professionals and executives are breaking out of their shell as social media consumption continues to outpace editorial and vendor content consumption among survey participants, increasing from 3.26 hours/week to 3.7 hours/week from November 2007 to July 2008.

In addition, global consumption of social media and user-generated content has remained consistent, with the use of blogs, discussion groups, and wikis leading the growth in consumption and participation, according to an ITtoolbox press release.

IT professionals are confident in their work. Respondents said they have the most confidence in their job and profession (both received an average 8 on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 representing “completely confident”), while confidence in their company is next (7.3), and confidence in the economy ranks last (5.25).

At work, IT professionals are a lot like the rest of us. More than half (51%) said their biggest headache comes from company politics getting in the way of good decisionmaking. Nearly 40% said that putting out fires rather than setting strategy causes the most headaches, and 37% said they get frustrated because technology doesn’t work as promised.

When things go well at work, the IT professionals surveyed said they prefer financial rewards (85%), validation or praise from superiors (58%) or colleagues (36%), greater selectivity in future projects (41%), and/or additional time off (27%), according to the press release.

Arguably, some results of the ITtoolbox/PJA Social Media Index survey confirm the IT professional as geek stereotype.

Asked how they ended up with a career in IT, respondents said they had an aptitude for technology as a child (54%), they "just found themselves" in the field (40%), they majored in technology in college (33%), friends or parents encouraged them (14%), and/or it felt like a safe choice (12%).

Apart from work the History Channel was selected by respondents as their favorite television network. (If this defines geek, count me in.) Watching movies (45%), listening to music (38%), and reading books (36%) were among the respondents' favorite out-of-office activities.

For more information from the survey, visit .