The word “technical” is no longer fit for purpose

At best, it’s vague and confusing.

  • Did you mean someone who knows a bubble sort from a tree sort?
  • Or someone who can tell you the best uses of event driven software architectures?
  • Or maybe someone who knows about the latest GPUs and what they can achieve?
  • Or someone who knows that privilege level 0 is a Big Deal?

You may think it’s obvious in context. It is sadly not.

At worst, the word technical is used to “other” people. These people are technical, these people are not. This can be used to make people with these skills seem less important, or in a different direction, used against underrepresented groups working in software and technology.

So my request to you, reader, is to do one thing.

Next time you reach for the word “technical” add what specific skills you are referring to in your current conversation, message, email, post or job ad. If you can, replace it completely with the substitution.

Hopefully we will banish this confusing and discriminatory term and invent newer, clearer ones that suit our technology filled jobs and lives.


Ashley Rolfmore

Rachel Adler

If you would also like to sign this manifesto, please email me with my first name at this domain and I will add your name. If you’d also like to share some more examples of technical things so we can share the sheer number of topics and skills the word “technical” is used for, feel free to share and I can put together a post celebrating the wide range of skills out there.