Few professions have to deal with more ridiculous stereotypes than the IT profession.

You know, those dated snarks about pocket protectors. Their fluency in Klingon. Their penchant for living in their moms’ basements.

But for all the teasing and silliness, the truth is, without the IT professionals in their lives, most people would be in deep trouble.

“Just think of how many times someone in IT has saved your life,” says Barbara Ciaramitaro, PhD, CISSP, CSSLP, PMP, chair of the information technology undergraduate program at Capella University. “And for every time you’re aware they’ve come to your rescue, there are countless other times that you don’t even know about. These are very humble and deeply mission-oriented people who too often don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

Well, you can do something about that. This September 17 happens to be National IT Professionals Day. What better opportunity to tell the IT professionals in your life how much you value them and appreciate everything they do to keep you and your organization humming along? Not only on September 17do we thank IT professionals, but any other day too. The following are nine reasons to do just that:

  1. Miracle workers –IT professionals possess a Dumbledore-like ability to magically restore that file you’ve been working on for hours but somehow managed to delete accidently. Just when you thought all was lost, including your sanity, they manage to reincarnate your work.
  2. Guardians of your galaxy – IT professionals may not look the part, but they are the superheroes who keep information safe without them even knowing it. Ready to save the day, every day, IT professionals are constantly doing battle with hackers and cyber threats. They can’t let their guard down for moment. That says a lot.
  3. Curators extraordinaire – Just think of the dizzying number of new devices, software packages, apps, and every other flavor of technology imaginable that floods the market every year. Yet, somehow you get exactly the tech you need to do your job without sorting and sifting through any of it. That doesn’t just happen. IT professionals spend enormous amounts of time analyzing and curating the best technologies to get you what you need to do your job. That’s a thankless task. Thank them for it.
  4. Hardware saviors – Don’t pretend you’ve never done it: spilled coffee on your keyboard, fumbled your phone into the toilet, dropped your laptop onto an unforgiving concrete floor. Who saves the day? Your friendly IT professionals. They get you back up and running without making a fuss or blinking an eye (well, at least not in front of you). They’ve seen it all and do their best not to judge.  
  5. Patient listeners– Just imagine the rants and raves your tech support team has to tolerate on an average day. For every computer that crashes or software update that confounds users, they have to hear it. Even though the issue is often user error, they patiently listen to people vent when technology gets the best of them.
  6. Fortune tellers – With the ever-increasing pace of change in technology, IT professionals must always be looking ahead, predicting and planning for what’s next. Both the good and the bad. That takes a lot of research, critical thinking, and exploration. Sound exhausting? It is. Thank your IT professional for staying on top of it.
  7. Night owls – Who’s sitting in her cube at 2:37 a.m. ensuring the latest network security patch is installed correctly so that everyone else’s morning starts off without a hitch? That would be your dependable IT professional. Does she complain about it or tell you that you owe her one? Unlikely. It’s what IT professionals do, and they are committed to making sure their workplaces and co-workers are protected and able to function.
  8. Humble helpers – With very few exceptions, IT professionals are not the types who demand the limelight. They do their work, and do it well, without a constant need to be praised. They take credit only when credit is due. They are humble by nature, not attention-starved prima donnas. All the more reason to give them the recognition they deserve.
  9. Expert translators – Have you ever tried to plow through the technical manual of a new piece of technology? Incomprehensible, right? Not to an IT professional. They can and do translate that gobbledygook into words that actually make sense so that you have what you need to do your job.  

So on this September 17, and maybe on a few other random days throughout the year, take a moment to thank the IT professionals in your life. Just try to refrain from telling them to live long and prosper.

Explore a career in information technology with an online degree from Capella University, with numerous options available in two different learning formats.