What Does Dilbert Mean?

Dilbert is a term most commonly used in IT to talk about an individual with an aptitude for engineering or technology, a “geek” whose prowess with computers is a trade-off for less-than-stellar social skills. The term comes from the cartoon by Scott Adams of the same name.


Techopedia Explains Dilbert

The Dilbert comic strip first came on the scene in 1989, and an animated series was developed in 1999.

In addition to the Dilbert character, the cartoon strip has other characters representing stereotype elements of a technology workplace. The pointy-haired boss is an archetype for management technology, and the conflict between those who “make” technology outcomes and those who manage them. Throughout the comic strip, Dilbert represents a knowledgeable, capable and relatively reasonable figure, while the pointy-haired boss represents ineptitude, blithe inattention to detail and obtuseness.

Other characters like Alice and Wally round out the set, as representing different types of coworkers, for example, one who goldbricks and one who claims credit illegitimately.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.