Asperger's syndrome helps in IT


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Mar 10, 2024
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I got a friend whose husband has it. He is extremely meticulous, tidy, procedural, explicit, linguistically precise.
Yet sometimes - often - he gets things wrong due to his aspie/autism. Here is an example. She sends him a list of groceries to buy for dinner. He goes shopping and gets everything she wanted. Comes home.
She goes: Sorry, I forgot the include milk in the list, did you buy it? Did you know we needed it?
He goes: Yeah, I knew we needed the milk but you never mentioned it so I didn't buy it. I got exactly what you said to get. Wasn't that the very point of the list?

They follow rules, guidelines, are punctual but can't think 'outside the box', are somehow misaligned in the social skills realm, like have little or zero empathy, they don't "feel" people and situations and sometimes make fundamentally wrong decisions taking people at face value. I did, I know, in some very fundamental things like marriage. Made a very destructive choice taking words at face value. Correctly "reading" situations and people and their motivations is a skill. IT skills can take a person only so far. They are logical yet IT as a business is nothing logical about it. It's all about social skills and BS artists often rise to the top because of their brilliant communication / persuasion / people skills. I have seen it time and again. It' not what you do, it's how you make people "feel".

Yet the contradiction of the above is that aspie / autism people make brilliant IT people, coders, etc. because of their ability to focus, concentrate, their meticiouls attention to detail. In fact I think a mild disorder is a pre-requisite for a successful IT career, you can't write code for hours every day, year after year, look at all that gibberish and assembly code and C++ and other low-level languages and make sense of it without being a bit out of adjustment with the norm.

I did some development early in my career and realized I just don't qualify for it - not that I couldn't do it but I did not want to contort myself into the whole development autistic mindset so I moved into sysadmin. It's almost as bad but not really and you have some leverage to do whatnot. Lay ethernet cables, write scripts, connect storage, support users, attend meetings so there is a lot of leverage to do what you want, more or less. I support a lot of users and some of them are really smart. Smart as in they know Linux and UNIX and write separately compiled subroutines using C++ and Curses package and stuff. It's like saying to a guy "I know vi" and he responds "I wrote vi".
With time, some people embrace mediocrity as the most comfortable level - not that there is anything wrong with that. You are good enough, and that's that. Not these guys:

A perfect example of the aforementioned ability and the mindset is this, a normal person just can't do it.

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