A job like no other ...
... or when will people finally stop asking us to repair their computer?
To long to read and you're not in IT?
Please, don't ask people, which work in IT, to fix your computer!
You work in IT? Then you know sentences like: "Can you take a look at my computer?" or "Can you setup my printer real quick?". For us developers that's a really weird situation. We could (theoretically) solve their problem most of the time. But it's rarely our main line of business. But of course we still we do it. Because we just want to help. And we do the best job we can (under the circumstances). Unfortunately our knowledge rarely overlaps with the problems we should solve. (We would be lost without Google, too)
For us, it's the same as if you would ask a carpenter to do the electronic installation. Or like if you would ask an architect to fix the toilet. (Of course those comparisons are far fetched and provoking on purpose)
What people don't understand or simply know, is that working in IT is as general as being a handyman.
So why do we say "I'm in IT"?
The IT area is a pretty special area to work in. You need experts for every single component if you want to build a great product in the end. That's why there are only very few so called Full stack developers.
Most of the times, what we actually do, is way to complex and abstract to explain in a minute. Even if you're already narrow it down to, let's say developer, you're still going to have huge gaps between people working on client system, web systems or even more hardware centric things like micro controllers. Not to mention all organizational jobs like product managers, team leads and so on.
And it's not just a matter of complexity. Most developers (or any other kind of IT job really) have chosen their specific area on purpose. They value what they do and are proud of it. Being misunderstood as doing something similar is often worse then just "being in IT".
Is there something we can do about?
Yes, we can stop saying "I work in IT". Take the time to explain it to those people you care about. A stranger won't care, but they probably also won't ask you to fix their computer.
And also, send them here. It's not their fault, how could they possibly know better? But I guess, the most would like to, if they knew that there is a big difference.