How do you call the kind of people who either work in IT or spend a lot of time with this kind of stuff?
The only word I’ve found is Streber but it seems to have a negative connotation (like nerd).
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Unfortunately another area where little understood English terms have taken the cake.
Some hold there is an inherent difference between geek and nerd, to which geek/nerd website XKCD responded with this Venn diagram.
If you were looking for a genuinely German word you’d be out of luck I reckon, because all alternatives contain word parts that are not originally of Germanic heritage.
Possibilities I would consider:
Except for Computerfreak these are relatively neutral (i.e. not pejorative).
A good alternative for Spezi above would also be Guru (of the same meaning it carries in English), i.e. Computerguru, IT-Guru and … somewhat awkward sounding … EDV-Guru. Guru also came up in another answer as well as one comment to this answer. One remark there was that it carries a religious connotation. I agree, but in the form of Computerguru I’d see the aspect of a knowledgeable person and teacher to be predominant. But it’s arguably a subjective matter.
As for Streber. It doesn’t fit at all. However, I can see how you ended up with this word. The traits of a person that qualifies as a geek/nerd often coincide with those of a Streber. And I’d hold that Geek and Nerd when used in German can hold an equally pejorative meaning, depending on the context.
It is also a misconception to assume that technology geek = geek. In that sense one might consider the “eingedeutschte” Geek a false friend (as German English teachers call it), as the German use of the word is almost exclusively attached to people with special interests in technology. In English you can easily have science geeks etc. Not to mention “hybrid” forms in people of various interests.
A neutral term would be ITler or, more German, EDVler, which is very broad. If people spend a lot of time with computers, they’re often called Computerfreak – I, however, don’t know whether it is still current. I know it from C64 times, when it was something special to have a computer.
The word Streber is typically found in a school context and describes a person that is not very well loved and that spends a lot of time learning, with a primary goal of pleasing the teachers.
A Geek, Computerfreak, ITler, or sometimes Nerd is a person interested in the matter (or at least spending a lot of time with it, which typically correlates), but the word does not imply that the person is not much loved.
It does often imply that the speaker finds the person described as such a bit strange, though, especially when the words used are Geek or Nerd.
If the person holds a degree in computer science or a related field I would go with "Informatiker".
If you have a personal/close relation to the person you can go with "Nerd" which is usually not offensive just like "Geek" (However people might not know what a Geek is, since this word is not popular in Germany).
If you are in a professional enviroment I would go with the role/job description of that person. Say thinks like "Entwickler"(developer), "Admin"(administrator) and "Integrator" (system integrator).
If the person does not work in this field but does programming for fun you could use "Programmierer" or even "Hobbyprogrammierer" (to point out that he is doing it for fun/in his free time and not for a living)
If you want to describe someone without knowing his specialisation or don't want to point it out I would go with one of these:
(I would use them in that order. "Guru" has a somewhat religious meaning)
I would not suggest using "EDVler". Everyone who uses some office applications for work could be described as EDVler. ITler is a bit closer to what you are trying to say but just states that the person is somewhat related to "Informationstechnologie" in general and does not provide any information about his expertise or activities.
The common word for “geek” is „Geek”. An “IT guy” could be an „IT-Mensch“.
Progger wenn die Person wirklich programmiert. Kann eventuell norddeutsch sein.
I’d suggest „Technik Checker“ / „Computer Checker“ / „PC Checker“ to describe someone who spends a huge amount of their time “doing computer things”, or whose friends believe is good at technical things (electronic, not mechanical). This would mainly be used among male youths. It does not sound pejorative to me.
In Austria and Bavaria they say IT Mokel for a IT guy.
ITler: Umgangssprachlich für Personen, die in der IT Branche arbeiten. (Colloquial language: for the people who work in the IT sector.)
What about "Fachidiot"? Maybe a little pejorative?
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