What is Information Technology?

If you’re considering a career in one of the many branches of computer science, it’s likely that you’ll deal with information technology on a daily basis. Understanding what it is and how it’s applied in a diverse number of ways can help to both enhance your success and diversify your quest within the field. In the subsequent sections, we’ll explore what precisely this term means, and how it’s put to use in a variety of ways within the realm of computer science—indeed, daily life.

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The River is Wide

Charles Babbage, a famed scientist and creator of an early, complex computer, noted, “At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every new tool, human labour becomes abridged.” While he lived long before computers assumed such an important role in our lives, the seed of his observation is accurate nonetheless. Computers have decreased the effective workload and time cost in many areas of endeavor through the increasing eloquence of their software. But it has not done so spontaneously or without a great deal of personal investment from scientists whose focus lay in enriching the field of computing.

Loosely speaking, Information Technology is defined as the use of computers, networking and storage devices, as well as infrastructure and processing devices to exchange and secure information in its various electronic forms. But we should make a distinction between devices programmed for entertainment or personally-oriented computing processes and networks and those computers that may be programmed to perform a number of complex tasks required for business, research, scientific endeavor, or the pursuit of social inquiry via statistical collation.

The Means Divided from the Mechanism

While hardware design and micro-computing sophistication has greatly increased the ways in which IT can be explored and evoked, computers aren’t the end of the road. When a computer scientist or IT specialist completes a specific, advanced course of study, there are several ways they can move into the field. There’s a great deal of demand for the development and maintenance of major database servers, which involves constant work with programming languages such as SQL or “sequel.”

Another application includes managing the influx of data into and through servers and communication hubs, each of which employs its own programs written in the dominant computer languages of today or yesterday. The direction in which such massive, multiple company or client operations are increasingly trending is into the virtual realm. With ever more individuals working remotely, and communicating with partners and clients in distant locations, the need for competent IT professionals to help facilitate and maintain the servers through which this vast river of data flows daily is more vital than ever. IT management and formation now takes us into the realm of the Cloud Servers, which are quite well-grounded, in fact. These hubs direct and manage enormous quantities of data—storing and redistributing information upon user request, largely removing the burden of a data cache from the personal computer.

IT is an immense field, and a succinct definition will always be an oversimplification of its complex nature. However, that isn’t a negative quality. Because we are, as a culture, moving increasingly to virtual and server based remote-access of our data storage, we have a defined need for professionals who can navigate the complexities and subtleties of the dominant computer languages, understand the functions and features of servers, and can either build or maintain these essential aspects of our computing culture, making the most efficient uses of information technology application and theory.