IT T-Shirts: What They Say About the Inner Geek

by Modis on August 29, 2011

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There are many things geeks are better at than the average person, and we don’t just mean fixing computers! Having creative t-shirts is up there, with the ability to rattle off obscure trivia, speak Klingon, or write a shell script to replace annoying coworkers.

The following shirts are all intended to show off some part of the wearer’s personality, like Sheldon’s shirt, which is available on the interwebs. Part of shirt selection is very personal, while another part is about association. If you love a meme, then display it proudly for all to see! Let’s look at some famous shirt selections, and discuss what the shirt you’re wearing says about your inner geek.


Rather like AD&D gamers, techies tend to fall into camps based on their alignment. In this case, however, alignment refers to how much you like your job. These kinds of shirts tend to be light-hearted and come off gently.

Take a look at the shirt above: even in our extremely politically correct age, it’s impossible to be offended by the kind of humor depicted on it. This kind of shirt says you’re laid back, and your sense of humor wants to build something instead of tear somebody down.


Not to say destruction is a bad thing, per se. In some cases, “destruction” means “let’s code for 48 straight hours, and this time next year we’ll be on the cover of Forbes over what we’ll create.”

While a shirt depicting a bear wearing the three wolf shirt while he rides a shark that fires an automatic weapon definitely says, “I’m a code warrior,” it reaches a whole new level of hardcore when you see the nuclear explosion in the background.


On the other hand, there are some downright loyalist shirts that say you’ve got the heart of a paladin. Rather like a wedding ring says you’ll stick with your spouse no matter what hotness walks in the room, a shirt depicting a floppy disk says that even after all these years, you still value the history more than the updates.

There is a certain romance implied with this kind of old school loyalty. The kind of techie who still keeps a fondness for floppies is the kind of person who’ll stick with a startup until it either sells or folds—win or lose, ride or die, this is the kind of person you want on your team.


Another great shirt to wear in your cubicle farm is the kind that says ‘Come at me, bro.’ Any shirt that depicts both a saying that could easily come out of a mob guy’s mouth and a graphing calculator clearly says ‘tough nerd.’


Overall, a shirt that says something like this basically means the person wearing it is happy-go-lucky and ready to take on any challenge with a smile. Despite how statistically insignificant we all are, this person believes he or she can beat the odds.

This is the shirt you wear while you design the next big search engine, or see if you can design a genuine killer app, despite the enormous competition you’re facing. If David had been wearing a t-shirt when he faced Goliath with nothing but a sling full of rocks, this is the shirt he would’ve been wearing.


Some shirts say that this is a person who’d rather be doing something completely different. There was a great video detailing how some of the most productive times in a techie’s life are times when they’re allowed to pursue any random thing they want, and then report back on it.

Sadly, this is rarely how it works in the corporate world. Too often, you feel like you’re just another red shirt being lined up for the pink slip. While your loss may galvanize the “important” people into action, it still sucks for you. If you ever find yourself wearing a red shirt like this one to work, it’s a cry for help. You may actually be depressed about your job, your relationship, or some other place where you wish the transporter would malfunction if you wear this shirt.


Do you ever feel like your entire life is just running from one crisis to another, with barely enough time to catch your breath in between? Does it ever feel like most of these problems are so tiny and ridiculous that they aren’t even worth your time to take on? This is the shirt of a reluctant crisis manager—the Michael Corleone type, who does everything possible to get out, but who just keeps getting pulled back in.

This shirt wearer is either sarcastic and charming, or truly doesn’t want to be disturbed by people all day. Try sending an email the next time you have a question, in case it’s the latter!


If you’re a single coder lady, lookin’ for love, then this is your sentimental lover-dweeb. A guy sporting this shirt values his home, family, and work life. He even knows the binary location for ‘home.’ Catch him if you can! This guy is sure to impress parents and younger brother hackers, alike.


You can tell a lot about what a code monkey is feeling by how they dress. Their typical lack of fashion pizazz, coupled with a biting wit tends to make their t-shirts more expressive than the average person’s. And the message on a person’s shirt can speak volumes about how that person really sees the world.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

bytecode August 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

I’ve always been of the opinion that “There’s no place like” is wrong, “” is “localhost”, i.e. the CURRENT hosting location.

It *should* be “There’s no place like ~”

( ~ is short hand for a given users own home directory.)

Joe September 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Plus…that’s not the *binary* location for localhost.

The binary would be 01111111.00000000.00000000.00000001

Personally, I like the shirt that reads:

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those that understand binary, and those that don’t.

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