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What Is Information Technology?

A network engineer may be tasked with setting up a company's servers.
Today, information technology has a role in almost every industry, including agriculture.
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  • Written By: Laila Salaam
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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In the 1960s and 1970s, the term information technology (IT) was a little known phrase that was used by those who worked in places like banks and hospitals to describe the processes they used to store information. With the paradigm shift to computing technology and "paperless" workplaces, information technology has come to be a household phrase. It defines an industry that uses computers, networking, software programming, and other equipment and processes to store, process, retrieve, transmit, and protect information.

In the early days of computer development, there was no such thing as a college degree in IT. Software development and computer programming were best left to the computer scientists and mathematical engineers, due to their complicated nature. As time passed and technology advanced, such as with the advent of the personal computer in the 1980s and its everyday use in the home and the workplace, the world moved into the information age.

By the early 21st century, nearly every child in the Western world, and many in other parts of the world, knew how to use a personal computer. Businesses' information technology departments have gone from using storage tapes created by a single computer operator to interconnected networks of employee workstations that store information in a server farm, often somewhere away from the main business site. Communication has advanced, from physical postal mail, to telephone fax transmissions, to nearly instantaneous digital communication through electronic mail (email).

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Great technological advances have been made since the days when computers were huge pieces of equipment that were stored in big, air conditioned rooms, getting their information from punch cards. The information technology industry has turned out to be a huge employer of people worldwide, as the focus shifts in some nations from manufacturing to service industries. It is a field where the barrier to entry is generally much lower than that of manufacturing, for example. In the current business environment, being proficient in computers is often a necessity for those who want to compete in the workplace.

Jobs in information technology are widely varied, although many do require some level of higher education. Positions as diverse as software designer, network engineer, and database administrator are all usually considered IT jobs. Nearly any position that involves the intersection of computers and information may be considered part of this field.

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Discuss this Article

anon929477
Post 51

Information technology is the future of human and scientific knowledge. It is the apex of all knowledge.

anon320515
Post 47

What is the use of learning c, c++,java languages?

anon314445
Post 44

Information technology deals with industries that provides solutions that are used in managing data and solutions for getting things done through information technology and that comes from the industry. It is a continuous learning process, and innovation, with a lot of things to put in place.

nownantny
Post 43

Does (IT) have anything to do with CompTIA A+?

anon290069
Post 37

What are the three major types of information and communication technology?

anon279112
Post 36

What are the different ways that Information Technology can be employed by a company to achieve its strategic objectives and acquire competitive advantage over competitors?

souris84
Post 28

According to you, what is good and bad about information technology (IT) today? And what is happening in IT now?

anon241518
Post 27

I have completed a degree in graphics design. Where can I get a good job as a fresher in the IT field?

anon225330
Post 25

I have completed my computer hardware and networking courses. Where can I get a good job as a fresher in the IT field?

anon224976
Post 24

I have done my inter with commerce but I am interested in the computer field so what can I do? Someone advise me.

anon197062
Post 22

what is the connection of Information technology to our society?

anon187208
Post 21

what job can i get if i studied html ?

anon160896
Post 16

what job can i get if i studied I.T?

anon160251
Post 15

Another good definition for Information Technology is in the International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT) Glossary of IT terms and phrases. Their definition says that Information Technology is 3 things: 1) the solutions used to manage data, information and knowledge, 2) the Industry that provides solutions around those solutions, and 3) the organizations, within companies, that are made up of the IT professionals that come from that industry.

The IF4IT also has some strong IT learning resources.

I hope this helps.

anon98712
Post 7

IT is just like a bundle of all these things:

the water piping system; the electrical lining system; the bicycle; roads and highways; the library; the printing press; the telephone; the airplane; and many more. A career in IT is not a dead-end job; it's a continuous learning and innovating of a lot of things.

anon95976
Post 6

how can we define Information Technology in a village?

anon80022
Post 3

what job can i get if i studied Information Technology?

anon76133
Post 2

what can i get doing with structure programming language?

anon61400
Post 1

what actual work is done at it companies?

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