Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been doing IT work for a number of years, professionally since 1996; recreationally since 1984.
I don’t consider my work to be difficult; in fact designing viable networks is not very difficult at all. I enjoy it for the most part. I would think that any reasonably intelligent person could learn what I do and be very good at it in a couple month’s time. The work described in this thread seems infinitely more difficult anything I’ve ever done for a wage. I imagine there are LOTS of positions that are grueling which don’t pay salaries even close to an advanced IT position. Why is that?
There are a few subsets of the IT industry: software development, network engineering, systems management, and database administration. My field, networking, pays, on average, higher than software development. This also strikes me as odd. Software developers are often not only very, very intelligent but they’re are creative as well. While my function is also both of these, I view programming as having a higher degree of both qualities.
Another piece of the mystery is that IT positions are almost always overhead; that is that are an expense for a company and rarely generate revenue.
My wife’s theory is that some people get easily overwhelmed by seeing things on a computer screen (especially when the black box with the white text (the command shell) introduces itself). Also when a person is presented a rather large schematic of a network, it too can be overwhelming. Enough so that the macro overview makes a micro viewpoint impossible. While she’s sweet, I am not sure I agree. There are a LOT of smart people out there.