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The Dirty Jobs of IT 162

Posted by Zonk
from the we-care-a-lot dept.
dantwood writes "In an Infoworld article, Dan Tynan writes about the '7 Dirtiest Jobs' in IT. Number three? Enterprise espionage engineer (black ops). 'Seeking slippery individuals comfortable with lying, cheating, stealing, breaking, and entering for penetration testing of enterprise networks. Requirements include familiarity with hacking, malware, and forgery; must be able to plausibly impersonate a pest control specialist or a fire marshal. Please submit rap sheet along with resume.'" Paging Mike Rowe, Mike Rowe to the IT desk.
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The Dirty Jobs of IT

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  • by TFer_Atvar (857303) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:07PM (#22708842) Homepage
    One-page link. [infoworld.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by waterwingz (68802)
      Sorry - the OP of this thread is not really that informative. On most websites that insist on stretching their articles out over many pages there is often a "Printer Friendly" link at the top. That usually gives you the whole article on one page with a minimum of ads and dancing baloney.
  • That link is certainly weird. While loading, a script tried to "read private data from any window". Is Infoworld hacked or something?
  • Uhm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:10PM (#22708880) Journal
    lying, cheating, stealing, breaking, and entering for penetration testing of enterprise networks

    Sounds like fun.

  • On TV? (Score:3, Funny)

    by psychicsword (1036852) * <The@@@psychicsword...com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:11PM (#22708890)
    When will this be on Dirty Jobs [discovery.com]
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      When will this be on Dirty Jobs
      Never, because only one of these jobs actually involved dirt in the sense that Mike Rowe deals with. The rest were just trials and tribulations of a typical IT person, and one or two about IT workers with questionable ethics.
  • Mike Rowe! (Score:2, Funny)

    by hansamurai (907719)
    Hey, last time Mike Rowe was on Slashdot he was getting sued by Microsoft!

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/19/133233&tid=109 [slashdot.org]

    Now that's a dirty job.
  • What about the guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:16PM (#22708936) Homepage Journal
    who publishes stories on IT web sites and only puts a tiny amount of information on each page but has tons of pages in a desperate attempt to increase ad revenue? I think that should be #1 on the list.
    • by countSudoku() (1047544) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:39PM (#22709244) Homepage
      Welcome to *world. Everytime you see a URL that ends with ...world.com you're in for a shite load of badly designed pages with a minimum of technical content strewn about a myriad of ugly web-widgets in an attempt to outwit adblock+. Good luck with that! No need to RTFA when that's the case, it's safe to assume anything from the summary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Inda (580031)
        gamecopyworld.com - that's got to be one of the best sites ever.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:53PM (#22709426) Homepage Journal
      Or, how about the guy who publishes user-submitted stories with varying amounts of information on geek websites, adds a misleading headline and sensationalizes the summary, including several misspelled words, and then sits back and waits for all the users to write things like "Fr1st Ps0t", "In Soviet Russia...", "I for one welcome..." and goatse.cx links, all in a desparate attempt to increase subscribers and ad revenue?

      I, for one, welcome our new dirty, spelling-challenged, sensationalizing user-submitted story-posting editor overlords!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No, because whoever wrote that isn't in IT, he's a journalist. Writing articles to maximize the number of ads is an important part of his job. If he thought that writing pages like that was a Bad Thing, he'd be in a different industry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by qzulla (600807)
      I just hit the print it link and read it all on one page.

      But yeah, those multiple page things annoy me too.

      qz
  • by NMajik (935461) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:17PM (#22708956)
    If "dirty" implies unpleasant to preform, I think anything that forces you interact with an end user should be higher on the list. If "dirty" implies morally wrong, only the espionage engineer seems to apply. But if "dirty" implies physically dirty, only 1 and 2 apply. This article seems to combine all the different definitions, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. I think intern would fit somewhere on the list event though it isn't a job, exactly. You get to experience whatever other people would like to avoid, so you get a nice spectrum of unpleasantry.
    • by mrbluze (1034940)

      If "dirty" implies morally wrong, only the espionage engineer seems to apply.
      What about "kiss-ass golden boy" or "underpaid so has to pimp self out to on-line video chat room using company's servers" or "sewer-control-system-maintainer". I think the black-ops job is far from dirty - sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to me and the people doing it are probably loving it.
  • Left out ecommerce (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossz (67331) <`ogre' `at' `geekbiker.net'> on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:18PM (#22708970) Homepage Journal
    For a time I was the primary (er, only) technical person for an eCommerce site. I learned one important lesson. Sales people have zero morals. They would lie to their own mother to make a sale. Hell, they would toss in sex with their baby sister to make a sale. I felt sleazy just keeping their servers running. I hope I never have to take that kind of job again.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:21PM (#22710344)
      Pretty early on in my career, I worked at a Multi Level Marketing [read: Pyramid Scheme] company.
      The company makes multi-millions, and I was personally in charge of the systems that calculates, tallies, and print out "reward" cheques every month. I had to be intimately familiar with all the details and clauses and sub-clauses and secret definitions of obvious words like "one week" or heck even what "50" means. I knew first hand that what our marketing people said was very different from what our sales people said, which is different from when people call our customer service, and which in turn is many miles away from how the system actually works.

      They never lie, because you get sued when you lie.

      But ever since, I have been convinced that it is dirtier to speak in half-truths and equivocations than out-right lies.

      [confession]
      I was young and dismissed my disgust at the company as my being too "picky" about jobs. I convined myself to tough it out. Eventually I found out the company was stealing from ME, and only then did I quit. So I already got what I deserved. [/confession]

      sorry about posting as AC, but I have a rather unique handle I've been using for quite a few years.
    • by barzok (26681)
      Don't ever work for an insurance/financial services company then. Which is basically the same as a commissioned sales force anyway. Those assholes would give up their firstborn and their wives for an extra $10K in commissions.
  • by sczimme (603413) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:20PM (#22708998)

    What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site [discovery.com] ??

    • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012.pota@to> on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:49PM (#22709374)
      What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site?

      Well, I looked at your link [discovery.com] and I see some ads and a big Flash thingy. (I'm using FlashBlock [mozdev.org] so I have to click to view Flash. Wonderful!) If I load the Flash, I see some fancily designed animated cruft with a bunch of buttons that may or may not lead to actual information. Much of text is at slightly random skewed angles, and there's no obvious place to find basic facts.

      When I look a the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org], on the other hand, I see no ads, no Flash, and some nicely formatted text, written to give quick answers, laid out in tidy sections, all using a standard format that I'm familiar with from a bunch of previous visits.

      Other than that, no reason.
      • by sczimme (603413)

        Well, I looked at your link and I see some ads and a big Flash thingy. (I'm using FlashBlock so I have to click to view Flash. Wonderful!) If I load the Flash, I see some fancily designed animated cruft with a bunch of buttons that may or may not lead to actual information. Much of text is at slightly random skewed angles, and there's no obvious place to find basic facts.

        I am deeply sorry you needed an additional click to see the content; you obviously didn't click any of the links or you would have got
        • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012.pota@to> on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:58PM (#22710124)
          So your grumbling boils down to a) Flash and b) your comparative lack of familiarity with the Discovery Channel sites.

          No, my point is that Wikipedia is easier to get information out of. That's because they understand that fancy design reduces utility [useit.com]. Further, their only reason for existence is to provide answers, whereas the Discovery Channel has different purposes, like promoting their show, reinforcing the fan base, and selling my attention to advertisers.

          And suggesting that it's somehow more efficient to become familiar with every primary-source site on the web rather than just one? You can't expect to be taken seriously with statements like that, can you?

          it is silly to use Wikipedia when there are better/more direct sources. Basic critical thinking skills will allow you to see that.

          Basic critical thinking skills? Yes, please use them before posting. It will save us all some time.

          More direct sources are very rarely better for a quick overview, which is why I have shelves of dictionaries, almanacs, concordances, indexes, encyclopedias, guides, maps, analyses, abstracts, and literature surveys. I also have plenty of primary sources, and go to them when needed. But the whole point of an encyclopedia, on-line or off-, is to make basic info more conveniently available than primary sources. Which is what 99% of people want as a starting point. If you don't, fine. Post your little link and move along.
    • What is the point of linking to the Dirty Jobs entry on Wikipedia? What's wrong with the actual Discovery Channel site ??

      I don't know. Maybe I'm not in the US and don't know WTF the Discovery Channel is all about? Or maybe it's that getting comprehensive information from an independent source is preferable to searching it out from a business trying to promote something?

      I'm a big fan of The Discovery Channel and especially Mike Rowe. But if I really wanted to know something about either, I would need to m
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by georgeav (965554)
      Wikipedia is lynx [wikipedia.org] friendly.
  • dirty job? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668)
    Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job. Sounds awfully simple to me. If anyone ever asked me to pull some illegal bullshit job like that I'd be like "Hmm, yeah can you repeat that and speak closer to my MP3 recorder?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job.

      And hope your next employer doesn't hear about what you did...
      • by mrbluze (1034940)

        And hope your next employer doesn't hear about what you did...
        Indeed, it would be have been better if they didn't take him away, but took him 'out'.
    • Re:dirty job? (Score:4, Informative)

      by blhack (921171) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:34PM (#22709186)

      Oh really, I think corporate spy would be a simple job. Find out what they want you to do, turn in your company/boss, flip them off as the FBI takes them away, collect the reward and get a new job. Sounds awfully simple to me. If anyone ever asked me to pull some illegal bullshit job like that I'd be like "Hmm, yeah can you repeat that and speak closer to my MP3 recorder?"
      They're talking about being a pen-tester.
      The company that you're breaking into hired your firm to test their security.
  • How about Consumer Espionage Engineer . That's what that **AA is into these days. They probably pay pretty good money for individuals with low enough morals to spy on their friends,... ;-)
  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by redeye01 (1254108) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:31PM (#22709136)
    Finally some recognition.
    Dirty IT job No. 7: Legacy systems archaeologist WANTED: INDIVIDUALS FAMILIAR WITH 3270
  • by sokoban (142301) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:35PM (#22709188) Homepage
    Hey, that #7 job doesn't sound bad at all. Legacy systems? I'll take that any day over most of those other jobs. It's probably not very outsourceable and is obscure enough that when you actually do a good job you'll be revered as a god by those who depend on your work.
    • In case you missed it, the one ranked 7th is the least worst of the jobs. So, yes, it makes perfect sense that the other 6 are worse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:35PM (#22709192)
    How about equipment in an 'institutional' environment? Replacing printers, terminals and interface hardware in areas where the dust lays almost an inch thick like dryer lint. One spark in the wrong place and FWOOOM. How about facilites where there are wiring problems? Never touch a metal doorframe and a metal computer case at the same time, cause you'll get a jolt (not cola). How about servicing a line printer with five guys with guns on one side and a score or more of arrestees peering at you behind an expanded steel screen with the place smelling like BO, spit and fingerprint ink?

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:40PM (#22709254) Homepage Journal
    I took a security course at Interop many years ago. The guy who taught the course worked on a "Tiger Team" that tested the security of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. They only base employee who knew in advance was the base commander.

    My teacher stayed in a nearby motel and hacked in over the telephone, but a military officer with expertise in security parachuted into the base at night - it's a big base, with lots of wide open space.

    He started breaking into computer rooms. Interestingly, he was detected but not caught. My teacher intercepted emails from the base staff warning that an intruder had been seen in the area.

    Eventually they went public, and submitted a report to the staff as to how they could improve security.

    They emphasized that this sort of thing is meant to help, and not to cost anyone their jobs.

  • Number 8 BSA guy
  • by freelunch (258011) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:45PM (#22709308)
    Slashdot Dupe Checker.
  • Is there a compelling reason to make us start at the end of the article? Other than possibly heading off a hundred "WHY ISN'T THIS ARTICLE ALL ON ONE PAGE?!" posts, I mean?
  • From TFA: "For tips on penetration testing, see "How to think like an online con artist"
    Like any /.'ers know anything about penetration. hehe
  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:08PM (#22709608) Journal
    1) Dreamweaver webmaster
    2) Keyboard cleaner (cheetos and pepsi and genetic splatter, oh my!)
    3) Floating point wrangler
    4) Monochrome wire detangler
    5) Witnessing <body bgcolor="#FFFF00">
    6) rpm dependency arbitrator
    7) "Cowboy Neal option" writer
  • by painandgreed (692585) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:10PM (#22709638)

    ...help desk zombie, but even lower on the totem pole, is the on-site reboot specialist...

    Having done both, I completely disagree. In fact, I have yet to meet a help desk zombie who hasn't dreamed of becoming an on-site reboot specialist. It doesn't take long for a help desk zombie to wish they could simply get the person on the other end of the phone to do what they tell them and nothing else, or even just understand what they have told them. Getting to be an on-site reboot specialist allows one to work directly on a machine without the person who has no idea playing a literal game of telephone with your instructions to mess things up. In addition, on-site rebooters usually get paid more for doing less and can get rid of angry customers at least for a time by telling them to go get coffee. The only real exception I've seen to this would be the Graveyard Support Vampire who have other priorities than more money or getting the job done ASAP to meet quota.

    • Just out of curiousity, what "other priorities" do you refer to when you talk of the Graveyard Support Vampire? :-)
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:25PM (#22709742) Homepage Journal
    It may be undesirable by most of the kids around here, but there is nothing bad about coding COBOL for a living:

    You are always in demand, unlike several other IT fields
    Pays well
    Stable work
    Stable code.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adambomb (118938)

      Stable code.
      trust me, all COBOL is not created equal.
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        While that is true, i was speaking more of the overall concept. There are always bad coders...
    • What sort of systems is the COBOL code you're writing for? Is it mainly maintenance work or is there new development? Everything still on mainframes? Is anything new happening with the language?

      It's been awhile since I wrote any COBOL (and I never wrote that much), but I still have a fondness for it. :)

  • It would have been an even better article had they chosen one definition of 'dirty' and stuck with it consistently.

    As far as Dirty IT job No. 2: Datacenter migration specialist [infoworld.com]goes... *yawn*. Move a bunch of boxes, cable 'em up and hit the on button. Big Deal. Come talk to me when you've moved an entire printing plant three blocks across three weeks - without interrupting production or missing a deadline.
  • Because I work in education I have to be both a legacy specialist AND help desk. But I honestly dont consider them that dirty personally. Maybe partly because I have a education background, so Im used to working with users, and maybe because I find a elegance in legacy code, but both are fun to me, and both make me almost 50 grand after only 2 years of full time work.
    • Damn... I'm only making 27k after 3 full years... but I have to agree with you 100%... legacy specialist, help desk, on-site reboot tech... etc. it's all part of the job
    • You still got //e's running Oregon Trail?

      A few years back there was a picture in the local paper of a first grader at a computer. It was a II+ !

  • More and more I'm finding that simple upgrade jobs are taking longer to do due to masses of dust and crap.
    Upgrading a 256mb to 1 gb takes maybe 5 mins. The last one took over an hour, It was so bad I took photos.
    The dust was so thick that I had to dismantle everything, vacuum, use artist brushes and compressed air, reassemble after oiling the fans! I even replaced the power supply as it was too stuffed with dust to be safe.
    By the time I finished, my workspace was filled with dust, crap everywhere.
    Next time
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Ah, yes, 'tis the old eighty gallon tank compressor that blows 120 psi. That's a must have in any computer shop. I had pulled apart a number of Telex controllers that had not been serviced since the mid 1990's. Blowing one of these clean outside may invite either attention from the fire department (the dust cloud looks like smoke) or the green police (DEP) asking questions.

      Any mentions of carousel type color laser printers? Any printer that moves toner cartridges on purpose will always be a mess inside. Met
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:47PM (#22709988) Homepage Journal
    ...but I've had 5 of these jobs in my career.

    No, I haven't had #1, but the wet end of a paper making machine is very close. It's amazing what will grow in warm pulp, if you leave it there a while. And how your shoes literally fall apart when you walk through the stuff they use to clean it off. Literally. In minutes. Leather is no match for DuStrip.

    Cat Herder is the worst of them. Being a rebootnik isn't quite as much fun as a third-party field tech, driving back and forto from the airport 3 miles away in a driving snowstorm to get *another* part to make that ^&*) Alpha server run again, so people can rent porn. Yeah. /.'s will get the incredible irony of that.

  • Shenanigans (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fryth (468689)
    It's a dirty job to be a penetration tester? Looks pretty cool to me. Awful to stand in a server room sandwiched between (horror!) a server rack and a wall? That's called working in a server room. And since when are support techs all patronizing idiots, and night-shifters all zombies. For the most part, at our company people treat our techs with respect. This is sensationalist BS... a lot of people would kill for any of these jobs.
  • by Rurik (113882) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:51PM (#22710044)
    The lab tech at the police officer that gets to deal with computer crimes. Yeah, once the police knock down the door to the house of someone collecting child porn, he's the guy that has to touch the keyboard...
  • Regarding the Undead of #6...

    Help Desk is a Customer Service position requiring a basic level of technical competence & teachability, NOT a tech position requiring only a basic level of people skills. This is especially true when the Help Desk person is dealing primarily with people with minimal to no technical skills.

    The job should go to someone who likes people-- and who may not want an IT career per se, but does enjoy tinkering around with the stuff a little and learning a little bit about it. It

    • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377 @ g m ail.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:43PM (#22710998) Homepage
      I was just chatting with someone about this the other day.

      You're right, Help Desk is a horrible place to expect qualified techies to hang out. It's more of a litmus test than anything else. If you've got some level of skill, you advance out of the help desk and into something useful. If you suck...well...at least you're unlikely to be fired.

      Every place I've worked that had a decent sized IT department had two types of people; Help Desk / Operators that had been there 10+ years, and help desk staff that got promoted or moved on within six months.
      • by compro01 (777531)

        Every place I've worked that had a decent sized IT department had two types of people; Help Desk / Operators that had been there 10+ years, and help desk staff that got promoted or moved on within six months.

        at the ISP (Sasktel) help desk job i had last summer, the average lifespan of a consumer-side help desk tech was 12 months. from there they'd be sorted by their skills. some to level 2, some to testing, some to business support, some to 611, some become "hat racks" (someone with the skillsets for all of the above), some to field techs, some become central office techs, etc.

      • by hughk (248126)
        I knew a lady who got shifted out of being a secretary to 'manning' the help desk. She was hopeless and knew little but she was drop-dead gorgeous and had a voice like a porn-star (without the moaning and the heavy breathing). None of the customers objected to her lack of knowledge and she was always a welcome guest at the user events. Actually she always was always able to pass on the call to someone on the second level who could help.
  • The guy sent in to probe for the intel of the people who may very well lose their jobs in an oursourcing deal has a crappy job. Those people have zero motivation to help, are often scared and angry.
  • Chemical Plant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by enigmastrat (1254198) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:52PM (#22711412)
    My best experience with a dirty IT job was at a Chemical Plant turned Furniture Factory. I never before hoped the burning sensation in my hands was just fiberglass.
  • I should've read into the "of IT" more. Really, I was thinking someone had a dirtier job than I did repairing cables crawling through the mud under a building, working 40 hours a week in an office that flooded with every rain storm (the water carried beach sand, I was working at a resort), the cables the guys I replaced ran through a cesspool yard... if you're thinking nothing is worse than that, you're right. Sadly, this article raised my hopes that I didn't have it so bad... then crushed them.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @03:52AM (#22713062)
    The Dirty Jobs of IT

    Is that you, Steve?
    • by JosKarith (757063)
      Finally - I was beginning to despair of people here. It looked like I was actually going to get to the end of a discussion about dirty jobs without a Steve jobs reference. Thank you sir.
  • It sounds like written by a 15 year old.

    Of course COBOL is still around. There currently is virtually no other language beeing able to replace it because they lack BCD arithmetics for easy to predict precision.

    Also there is another one missing. "Developer for organically grown commercial computing enviroments". If you ever had to programm something serious under Windows, and then later tried another OS you will know what I mean. You have Interfaces which are borderline bizarre, partly undocumented, and only
  • Rap sheet??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @04:33AM (#22713234)
    anyone who was really good at this wouldn't have a rap sheet... as they wouldn't have been caught
  • by octogen (540500) <g.bobby@PARISgmx.at minus city> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @04:39AM (#22713260)
    Dirty IT job No. 7: Legacy systems archaeologist
    WANTED: INDIVIDUALS FAMILIAR WITH 3270, VAX/VMS, COBOL, AS/400, AND OTHER LEGACY SYSTEMS

    I have to disagree: It may not be the very best idea to try to connect AS/400 applications to webbrowsers, but an AS/400 is certainly NOT a legacy system. The system architecture of the AS/400 is actually much more modern than that of most other systems. Do you know any other system with a persistent single-level-storage, that continues working exactly where it stopped before the power was lost, after you boot it up again - I mean, it does not RESTART processes, it CONTINUES them. Or do you know another system, where you can plug in a completely different main processor, just recompile the OS kernel, and every application on the system will be AUTOMATICALLY ported to the new processor architecture upon first start - as if they were Java programs? Ever heard of the "technology independent machine interface" (TIMI)?
    Reimplementing your old applications on an AS/400 is much LESS of a risk than trying to migrate those applications to so-called modern systems like PC-servers, because an AS/400 is orders of magnitudes more secure (you DO know it has hardware-supported pointer protection, don't you?) and more realiable than a PC-server.
  • The IP lawyer seizes what is obvious and then grabs copyright on it. The marketing type will promise the world to the clients whilst forgetting to confer with developers as to whether it is at all possible. Also the marketing guys for overriding ship dates so that POS like Vista can get delivered to manufacturing months before it is ready for a real customer.
  • Vinge [wikipedia.org] thought that "Programmer-archaeologist" might be a growth career area [wikipedia.org].

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