I’m not very good with computers

The phrase “I’m not very good with computers” is one you frequently hear, sometimes from people who are embarrassed to have a problem with their computer, sometimes as a response to any technical question (Our helpdesk once had this response back to telling someone that their password was temporarily set to their surname).

That phrase, along with “I don’t know what this file does, so how do I delete it?” probably ranks in my top 5 list of frustrations with my job.

I understand that some people struggle with certain aspects of IT, I do. And sometimes it’s our fault (by “our” there, I mean the IT profession as a whole) when things are poorly designed or badly documented or just appear very intimidating to a novice user. But the days where you had to be a computer programmer or an electronics engineer to get anything done are long past, so if you ever find yourself saying “I’m not very good with computers” then give it a go and you might do better than you think – and if something goes wrong then it might not be your fault, sometimes computer systems and the people who design them are not very good with people.

But if you want to work in a modern work environment then give it a go you must. It’s fast getting to the stage where a worker who claims they can’t do email because “I’m not very good with computers” is on a par with someone who claims to be illiterate; I’m not going to belittle you for that problem but if you’re after a job in an office then I’m probably not going to hire you either.


  1. Good find. I’m beginning to think that there’s an XKCD for nearly every occasion. I mean is it even possible to have a discussion about SQL security these days without referencing little Bobby Tables?

    1. No, Rob, In fact, my understanding is that OWASP will send out their “Correction Squad” if you fail to include a witty inclusion of Bobby.

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