It's difficult to judge whether the non-technical 'relationship manager' Jen, in Channel 4's comedy The IT Crowd, is more or less weird than the two geeky technicians she is hired to manage.
Yet, according to Roger Clements, a sales manager at outsourcing firm Capita Managed Services, not knowing your Java from a jam sandwich need not be a drawback for HR professionals whose brief includes IT.
Just like HR, IT is no longer just a backroom support function, but an essential part of the business, helping to drive competitive advantage. It's up to IT professionals to adopt non-techie language when justifying why the business should invest in the latest high-tech system.
"In an era when the guys in the basement are being pushed into strategic positions, and where IT's internal status is higher than ever, HR's role is to support the increased commercialism of technical staff, not engage them in nerdy talk," he says.
Language aside, managing IT staff may present other challenges, even for HR people who are confident around technology.
Predominantly male and often nomadic, the majority of systems support or database technicians work on a strictly contract-only basis. But despite this apparent flexibility, strict rota and shift systems are the norm in this 24/7 environment.
Like the fictional characters of Roy and Moss - the socially inept but largely harmless geeks who get very excited about wires in The IT Crowd - IT people, on the whole, are less motivated by money, titles or status than other functions, says Jeff Wellstead, global vice-president of HR at the MessageLabs IT security group.
"In my experience, they largely get their kicks from the intellectual challenge of playing around with the latest technology. The highlight of their working lives may simply be the opportunity to showcase their talent," he says.
"It would be fair to say that in some respects, technicians do appear to come from a different planet to the rest of us."
And while senior IT professionals are increasingly landing in the boardroom in the form of chief information officers (CIO), Wellstead believes when it comes to developing IT talent in an organisation, HR needs to know their limits. He says great technicians may lack emotional intelligence and may be unsuited to managing other people, partly because they find it difficult to talk about performance.
"Rather than losing a g