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What is Information Technology? – Definition, Types, and Examples

information technology

Although we now live in a technology-driven world, many people still restrict the term Information Technology to only getting help with their P.C. or smartphone.

This ideology is far from what Information Technology or I.T. is and what the roles of the professionals in this field are.

Information technology can be defined in so many ways being a broad and highly innovative field. According to Wikipedia, Information technology uses computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of electronic data.

Other media outlets define information technology as the development, maintenance, and use of computer software, systems, and networks.

Nevertheless, the most basic definition of I.T. in its entirety is that it is a technology that creates innovative solutions to problems. Based on this definition, the job of an I.T. personnel is to develop or apply these innovative solutions to real-world issues.

Since the need to access, manipulate, store or organize data is endless, information technology is relevant in all industries, business operations, and even our everyday life.

Examples of Information Technology

examples of information technology

Some of the examples of information technology used in everyday living are:

  • The internet
  • Mobile phones
  • Personal computers
  • Television systems
  • Radio equipment
  • Content management and performance software.

A Brief History of Information Technology or I.T.

While the term information technology was coined in 1958, I.T. has been in operation even farther than that, albeit in its crudest form. For centuries, different methods have been used to compute data. There was the abacus in 2400 BC, the analytic engine in the 1830s, and the world’s first general-purpose digital computer in 1951.

Over the years, information technology has evolved both as an industry and as a field of study, from developing the first sets of programming languages to the advent of social media, wireless communication, artificial intelligence, and big data, amongst many other innovative products.

Information technology continues to experience growth and is expected to advance even in the years to come.

What Are the Types of Information Technology?

As mentioned in the introduction, information technology is not synonymous with using P.C.s.

Instead, it is a broad term for using technology to store, transfer, compute and organize data.

Today, there are many types of information technology, with some being very new than others.

They include:

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the type of information technology focused on protecting computer networks, systems, programs, data assets, and so on from digital attacks. It involves the use of

Data encryption technology and particular network protocols protect users from cyber threats.

Cyberattacks are quite popular in today’s world. It is dangerous because it usually involves stealing, destroying, or manipulating sensitive data with the intention of extortion or blackmail, or ruining the victims.

Cyber security is applied in different industries today. They are used in business, e-commerce, healthcare, government, etc.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence or A.I. is the area of information technology that entails developing computer systems that can carry out tasks that require human technology.

From performing repetitive tasks to speech recognition, language translation, and decision making, the applications of A.I. are endless.

Two famous examples of A.I. today are Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.

Cloud Computing

As more advanced technologies are pioneered, data also increases, and local storage mediums like hard drives are no longer reliable.

Hence, the invention of cloud computing and storage.

This technology allows you to store, retrieve or compute data on a remote server known as the “cloud” via an internet connection. Some of the popular cloud storage services today are Google Cloud services, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Service (AWS).

In addition to the technology listed above, other types of information technology are analytics, robotics, machine learning, database management, the internet of things, and so on.

What Are the Career Opportunities in I.T.?

Information technology is a broad industry with many career opportunities and can accommodate people with various skill sets. Nevertheless, I.T. jobs are usually centered on the development, application, deployment, or support of information systems.

Below are some jobs in I.T. categorized into hardware-based jobs, software-based jobs, data, and analytics-based jobs, and cyber security-based jobs.

Some hardware-based I.T. jobs are:

  • Cloud architect
  • Computer engineer
  • Network engineer
  • Cloud engineer
  • Help desk technician
  • Network architect

Some software-based I.T. jobs are:

  • Development operations engineer.
  • Software engineer.
  • Full-stack developer.
  • Backend developer
  • Front end developer
  • Mobile developer
  • Game designer.

Some data and analytics-based I.T. jobs include:

  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Data engineer
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientists
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Logistic analyst
  • Marketing analyst
  • Business system analyst

Some cyber-security based jobs are:

  • Security Analyst.
  • Security Software Developer.
  • Security Architect.
  • Security Consultant.
  • Security Administrator.
  • Security Engineer
  • Cryptanalyst.

Additionally, the I.T. industry also has a variety of career opportunities in administrative, management, and marketing fields.

What are the responsibilities of an I.T. team?

Most establishments today have a department known as the I.T. department. The members of this department are tasked with ensuring that the company’s network, data, and computer systems and applications are in good shape.

The I.T. department comprises different teams who have been given specific responsibilities to ensure that the greater goal of the I.T. department is achieved. Some of these responsibilities are:

Administration

I.T. administrators are responsible for overseeing their computer systems, networks, and applications.

They are also to manage the other I.T. teams in the department.

The job of an I.T. administrator also includes performing troubleshooting, software license management, software upgrades, user training, and so on.

They are also required to observe if compliance requirements are being adhered to.

Support

The job of the I.T. support team is to repair, manage and maintain I.T. systems.

They are responsible for data backup and recovery, diagnosing and repairing faults within the computer system, and installing and configuring hardware and software.

Help desk staff is also a part of the support team as they are in charge of answering questions and giving directives for troubleshooting hardware and software.Overall, the support team is tasked with ensuring that every system, network, or application used in the company produces optimal performance.

Applications

Information technology is a massive part of our lives as many businesses rely on specific software to work effectively.

This software ranges from email servers to APIs. Whatever the case may be, it is the responsibility of the applications team to develop innovative systems like websites or mobile applications that will help the company in terms of sales, marketing, management, or production.

Due to the advent of agile or continuous software development paradigms, the role of the developers goes beyond the development of the software into operational tasks like deploying and monitoring the success of the application.

Information Systems vs. Information Technology

information technology

People have often used the term information system in place of information technology and vice versa.

However, these are two completely different, with only a few things in common.

An information system collects multiple tools and technology used for storing, retrieving, organizing, and computing data.

Based on this definition, information technology is a subset of I.S. The information system is regarded as the link between technology and its users.

Information Technology vs. Computer Science

Computer science and information technology are two fields that constantly overlap regarding tasks, career, and performance.

For this reason, many people believe that they are the same, albeit they are two different fields of study.

This field of study is mainly concerned with the real-world application of technology in various industries like business, finance, health, etc. Thus, people in I.T. perform their tasks with already existing technology and systems.

Computer science, on the other hand, focuses on the design and logic behind the technology being applied by I.T. personnel.

To pursue a career in computer science, one would need a solid mathematical background as this field of study will require you to use low-level codes and algorithms for problem-solving.

Information technology and computer science overlap in hardware and software engineering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Computer Technology vs. Computer Information Technology

These are two similar yet different fields under information technology.

Computer technology focuses on the study, development, and design of computer systems and software.

Computer information technology (CIT), on the other hand, is the study and use of computer systems, applications, networks, databases, and so on to solve real-world problems.

Combining these two fields of study gives you an overview of how information technology operates.

What is Business Information Technology?

This field of study focuses on applying information technology in businesses.

Business information technology (BIT) experts are responsible for developing innovative solutions to business and administrative issues.

Conclusion

It is undeniable that Information Technology is a broad field continually advancing.

To get started in this industry, you’ll have to develop strong technical skills no matter the area of I.T. you intend on joining.

You should also have problem-solving skills as there are more problems in the world needing innovative solutions.

Everyone who has had a successful career in I.T. has learned to take an in-depth and “outside the box” approach to solving problems.

I do hope you found this piece educative.

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Ovo is a highly specialized Computer and Networking Expert with experience in Windows, Cisco, Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, etc) and Networking engineering. Ovo is a creative, team player that loves sharing his experience with technology with readers to follow along. He has great attention to detail when discussing various technologies, tutorials and guides.