In February 2001, after much frustration and language study I coined the term Cyberist, a qualified practitioner of information technology.
Technology runs the world and is broader than the fields of finance, law, and medicine combined. However, because our industry is unregulated we didn’t have a recognized name (until now) like accountant, lawyer, or doctor.
While professionals from other industries are often eccentric, lacking social skills, or boringly technical – just people working in technology were the only ones called geeks or nerds.
UPDATE: The Urban Dictionary is NOT an authoritative source and has recently published many false and erroneous references about cyberist being a hipster of Internet culture, cyber terrorist, or a cyber tourist.
Origin of Geek and Nerd
Way back in 1991, a computer science student attending the University of Minnesota named Robert Stephens began riding his bike to people’s houses to fix their computer problems. At first, he just did this between classes to help pay for his education.
As word spread and Stephens became known around the Twin Cities he began thinking of a concept and brand for his business. He noticed every time he went on a call the person who answered the door was always in a panicked, agitated state and soon realized part of his job was to calm them down.
Wanting to bring humility and humor to his brand, he decided the word “geek” coming into a home wasn’t intimidating—especially to female clients. He soon settled on Geek Squad, and in 1994 he quit school, and launched his own business.
The distinctive geek mobile with it’s black and white paint and circular sign attracted much attention, and soon Geek Squad began to flourish. His strict dress code of a short sleeved white dress shirt, black tie, white socks, black pants, and black shoes defined his vision of a geek. Because many of his new hires were former Best Buy employees, Stephens was soon hired by Best Buy to play a computer technician in some of their commercials.
Best Buy acquired Geek Squad in 2000, and by 2002, every one of their stores had a Geek Squad. Almost instantly, everyone in our industry was considered a geek by everyone not in our industry.
Next came Computer Nerds, Nerd Herd, and numerous other IT support firms, all playing off the idea of geek, but using the word nerd instead. Now if we weren’t a geek, then we had to be a nerd—and those two words became how the public viewed all IT personnel.
Just like any profession, there are different levels and specialties of cyberists like: programmer, technician, specialists, engineers, administrators, and consultants. Cyberists must be able to pass a drug test and background check and have demonstrated knowledge like degrees and certification.
Ideally cyberists are motivated to protect clients rather than sell hardware and software or bill by the hour. High-level cyberists have invented intellectual property in the form of trademarks and patents, as well as speaking at major events or on television.
You should only trust your reputation, business, or most important technology to someone who is a cyberist employed by a vetted IT support firm.
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