Source: channel4.com

The IT Crowd is one of my favourite sitcoms, but it did get me wondering about whether the real IT crowd (IT support services like Lan2Lan) get a bad rap from how they are portrayed in the programme.  For instance, my father is an IT manager for a UK engineering company, and he refuses to watch it because he feels that IT professionals are portrayed as completely in lacking social skills, irrespective of how hilarious that lack of social skills is!  In a similar vein, my brother doesn’t really enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory because of the fact that he understands some of the many bewildering scientific references in the show, which in turn makes him feel like ‘a bit of a geek’.

I thought it would be interesting to take each of the character’s supposed roles and responsibilities and compare them with that of their real-life counterparts.

Roy Trenneman (played by Chris O’Dowd)


Source: channel4.com

Roy is described as the smiling face of the IT Department.  However, his unwillingness to help clients any further than asking them if they have tried turning their computer off and on again, is unlikely to build strong working relationships with clients.

In the real world, IT support services staff must be agile and flexible in order to meet the unique needs of their clients.  This role would involve an extensive range of tasks, such as wireless security, data recovery, infrastructure, collaboration and mobility solutions; this demanding role would mean that Roy would no longer have the time to indulge in his love of comic books, fast food, computer games, and random arguments with Moss.

Maurice Moss (played by Richard Ayoade)


Source: channel4.com

Moss can only be described as a genius; he has continued to amaze us with his ground-breaking inventions, such as the ladder for moths that get stuck in the bath, the perfect flaming bra, or the riot mask for peeling tangerines.

In real life, Moss’s capabilities would probably make him ideally suited to an Application Development role.  This would include building bespoke applications for clients in order to help them to achieve their strategic objectives.  In today’s business environment, there is a growing demand for software and application development, which would probably mean a lot of big firms would be trying to head hunt Moss.  His uncanny ability to remember important phone numbers would also probably come in handy for remembering IP addresses and such.

Jen Barber (played by Katherine Parkinson)


Source: channel4.com

Jen was originally employed as the head of IT, despite knowing absolutely nothing about IT; she is even rendered completely clueless when asked what IT actually stands for!  Her extensive experience of computers simply refers to clicking & double clicking mice.  In one particular episode, Roy & Moss manage to convince Jen that the internet is a small black box with a flashing red light, and that it is kept for safekeeping by ‘The Elders of the Internet’.

In real life, Jen would have been exposed as a fraud within a couple of hours as head of IT.  This is because in an IT support services company, a head of IT is generally responsible for successfully developing a company’s internal IT strategy, as well as ensuring that IT services are successfully delivered to clients.  This role would require vast experience in areas such as wireless network solutions, systems integration, network security solutions and data recovery (something which Jen sadly lacks).

Richmond Avenal (played by Noel Fielding)


Source: channel4.com

Before he happened across the music of Cradle of Filth and underwent a dramatic transformation into a Goth, Richmond Avenal was the most promising employee of Reynholm Industries.  When it was discovered that he had embraced the dark side (affectionately referred to as ‘being a goblin’), Richmond was cast aside and condemned to spend the rest of his career in the server room.  However, the extent of Richmond’s server knowledge is remembering the sequence of the lights on what looks to be an archaic tower server!

However in the real world, if Richmond was a fully qualified server expert, his career prospects wouldn’t be quite as gloomy as they are portrayed in the show.  Richmond would probably be employed as a technical member of a hardware maintenance & support division for an IT support services firm.  This would more than likely involve helping to provide a comprehensive hardware & software support solution for customers.  For those amongst you still unsure of what exactly a server is, this Wikipedia article should clear things up.




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