March 16, 2012, 7:22 AM — While CIOs and IT managers have spent the last several years trying to talk and act more like the CEO and other members of the senior executive team, it seems their staff have been busy emulating the cast of HBO's Entourage.
In a recent article on Bloomberg BusinessWeek called "The rise of the brogrammer,"Douglas MacMillan profiled the growing number of application developers and other IT staff members who are eschewing the traditional hip-to-be-square form of personal branding we normally associate with technology professionals. These men -- and it's definitely a male thing --don't want to be thought of as geeks anymore. They claim to dress better, party hard and care about more traditionally manly things, like cars. (See the complete International Brohood of Standardization for more details.) The term is being bandied about in social media, as part of ongoing events and will soon, I have no doubt, become part of everyday conversation.
Much in the same way that "metrosexual" was thrown around until it became a sort of insult, the concept of a brogrammercontains some potential clues about the sociology of the current IT industry and what employers need to do to properly develop the talents of their IT teams. As the BusinessWeek article points out, brogrammers are much more likely to be found in smaller, startup firms than in large companies, at least right now. That's probably because it's the startup guys -- particularly the founders -- who have styled themselves as mavericks, using a mix of salesmanship and sex appeal to attract venture capitalists, users and, occasionally, groupies at events like TED and South by Southwest (SXSW), taking place this week in Austin. Meanwhile it's the programmers, coding away like the Dustin Moskowitz character in The Social Network while the rest of the Facebook crew rock on around him, who continue to be treated like nothing more than socially inept worker bees. Who can blame them for wanting some of the glamour and status?