BSDCan2017 - 0722d

BSDCan 2017
The Technical BSD Conference

Julie Percival
Day Talks #1 - 9 June - 2017-06-09
Room DMS 1140
Start time 14:45
Duration 01:00
ID 865
Event type Lecture
Track Plenary
Language used for presentation English

The IT Infrastructure community norms

The IT Infrastructure community is bound by a set of norms that are strongly rooted in academic culture. In this talk I will discuss the four major norms of scientific culture as elaborated by Robert Merton and how they influence current day IT Infrastructure culture. Understanding cultural norms consciously can allow individuals in the community to be able to communicate with people outside of the community, and allow people who want to enter the community a better idea of how to succeed and thrive. Presented material will be an in-depth discussion of the lightning talk I did at MeetBSD last November.

This talk is based on a book in production.

"Understanding the existing structure and rules of any given community is essential for entering, working in, working with, or enacting change within that particular culture. There is an astounding amount of interest in IT culture from many different vectors. Increasing numbers of people are looking to take advantage of the higher incomes offered to technical jobs, and certainly the demand for workers who can perform them competently is continuing to increase. Others in the industry are concerned with the low proportion of women and minorities entering and remaining in IT sector jobs. Management and C-suite workers want to know how to attract, retain, and organize their IT groups. But whether you are a woman looking to break into the lucrative and glamorous life of systems administration, a frustrated technical manager needing some guidance in the care and keeping of your current stable of nerds, or a BSD working group trying to explain your core values to the wider community, gaining a better understanding of the fundamental cultural norms of ITI culture will help you navigate that world much more successfully." ... "When Robert Merton examined how scientists behave in “The Normative Structure of Science,” he observed four normative behaviors that were central to that community: universalism, disinterestedness, organized skepticism, and communalism. Later research pairs these norms with counter-norms:  particularism, secrecy, organized dogmatism, and self-interest. "

During the talk I will discuss each of the norms, some counter-norms, as well as how the IT community has adapted it to uniquely suit its population. What I'm discussing gives people a way to communicate more effectively about certain topics (ie, those related to gender, prestige, pay, choice of OS, tab v. space).