The Technology Engineer Versus The Technology Evangelist

4 mins read

It’s always an interesting dynamic to observe the reaction by many engineering-focused individuals in a deeply technical community towards those who transcend out of the direct, functional, day-to-day application of their technical skills into that of an information architect or technology evangelist who designs platforms and solutions in response to business problems.

I’m not quite sure why there’s such a disconnect with the engineering techies and the technology evangelist still to this day, but it gets to the point of “eating their own”.


Not real sure actually, maybe professional jealousy?

That’s Illogical

Make no mistake, it’s quite a misnomer to assume that someone is incapable of diving back into source code or server logs simply because the technology evangelist gets to spend lots of time with business managers and decision-makers.

I have witnessed this to a certain degree within technology communities, seeing other colleagues evolve into a technology evangelist role – moving from hardcore techie to business solutions architect.

Many of those still deeply entrenched in the day-to-day administration and development on the platforms have expressed disdain or skepticism towards some of the other industry personalities who are now regarded as leading technology evangelist types.

I’m always interested in the engineering mindset of many techie folks – who can be completely disconnected from the value their skills bring in the overall food chain.

Meanwhile, the technology evangelist still appreciates the complete value of the engineer within context.

What Do The Philosophers Say?

Scientist and philosopher, Alfred Korzybski, established the concept that an abstraction or reaction to something is not the thing itself.

His famed phrase, “the map is not the territory”, encapsulates the idea that your own view of reality isn’t reality itself.

This idea was also illustrated by the famed, Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte in a number of paintings including his famous work entitled The Treachery of Images. The painting consists of a drawing of a pipe with the caption, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” – translated as “This is not a pipe”.

Also, this holds true as an underlying principle in the field of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). The individual does not have access to absolute knowledge of reality, but in fact only have a set of their own, personal beliefs built over time about the reality.

Without Experience, You Just Can’t Relate

An esoteric concept is one that cannot be conveyed without direct experience – meaning, one cannot truly understand through observation and language description the flavor of a pepperoni pizza. Only by eating the pizza and direct experience can one truly understand the pizza’s taste.

This would actually put the scorning engineer on the illogical side of the equation: the technology evangelist or information architect having once been the engineer – but the engineer having never been on the business side.

And we really can’t have illogical engineers running around now can we?

All computing still comes back to a basic, binary concept of 1’s and 0’s on a hard drive. In that sense, it’s sort of like riding a bicycle.

You never forget.


Michael Hiles

CEO 10XTS, INTJ, chaotic good, PDP/11 in '79 (THAT kid), info architect, Milton Friedman, data science, semantics, epistemology, coffee snob, OG hip hop

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