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Netgirl

by Saladin and Kaz


Willow was initially portrayed as a classic cyber-geek. Her emphasis on the hard sciences and math combined with her apparent lack of social skills in Season One, support such a view. However, as the seasons progressed and Willow became more comfortable with herself, her computer skills remained exceedingly useful in fighting the demons and other assorted baddies; but were only one aspect of her personality. Although she has relied more on magic in the past two seasons, her computer skills have not suffered, as evidenced by her ability to hack into the Initiative and decrypt files, and most recently reprogram the Buffybot. 
Willow's developing social skills have, over time, removed her from the archetypal geek she initially appeared to be. This growing evolution in her behaviour was helped by her friendship with the Scoobies, her relationship with Oz and her taking over the teaching of the Sunnydale High computer courses in tragic circumstances. The appointment of Willow as substitute computer teacher by Principal Snyder, while not initially welcomed by either Willow or most of her contemporaries, was a testament to her abilities. 

Willow's obvious emphasis in the hard sciences at high school has not been repeated at college level. In fact the most 'scientific' course we *know* of her attending has been Psychology, under the late and unlamented Professor Walsh. The other courses we are told by canon she has attended are French History (she's shown discussing Robespierre with Buffy) and Sociology (Season Six), though she has mentioned enrolling in Drama. However, she did prove she kept up with her hacking abilities in the first year of college when she hacked into the Initiative, a secret government facility. Also, toward the end of her sophomore year, she repaired the Buffybot, which she also reprogrammed during the summer and at the beginning Season Six. Though not all of the reprograms were successful (the pun program for instance, "That will put marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo!"), they do showcase her continued computer abilities. 

While Willow's hacking abilities have been greatly exaggerated in many fics, canon states that the most secure government facility she has hacked into has been the Initiative. While certainly the Initiative would have had some significant levels of security, its primary defense was its secrecy. The point is made, repeatedly, that Willow had to *enter* the Initiative physically because the computer system is isolated, making her job easier in technical terms, at the expense of greater physical danger. She also was able to get into Sunnydale's coroner's office records, and in fact, had it bookmarked on her computer for easier access. 

However, not all of Willow's computer experiences have been positive. She inherited teaching the computer classes after Jenny Calendar/Janna Kalderash was killed by Angelus. Also, she had a disappointing online romance with a boy named Malcolm, who turned out to be a demon named Moloch. 

Due to Willow's continued and heightened reliance on magic, whether her computer abilities will come into play in the future remains unseen.