We’ve all probably heard the term “Information Technology,” or “IT,” whether from a commercial or from your workplace. But what exactly is information technology?
To put it simply, IT is the application of telecommunications equipment, like computers, to store, access, and share or otherwise manipulate data. The term is often used in a business context, though it is not restricted to such use and is relevant in many settings. This is simply due to the abundance of these technologies and the way we’ve assimilated them into everyday life.
The term itself is very broad. It can cover anything related to computing technologies, like hardware, software, the internet, networking, or even as a term to describe those who work in this field—we’ve all surely heard of an “IT guy,” or an “IT department.” IT jobs can include professions in computer programming or engineering, web development, tech support, or network administration.
Today, information technology is everywhere: even if you don't work in business, you use it nearly every day. Our personal computers, our landlines, our mobile phones, our flash drives—all of these are forms of information technology that we use and depend on daily.
In business settings, users depend on these technologies even more. E-mail and phones allow for the exchange of information and real-time communication with peers. Storage devices like flash or jump drives allow work projects to be moved, exchanged, or stored for later use. Personal computers, tablets, and smartphones work to facilitate all of this.
One of the more recent and also innovative examples of information technology is cloud technology/cloud computing. Though it isn’t technically “new,” (e-mail services have been using cloud technology for quite some time) the technology’s increased popularity has made it more well-known and widely used by both businesses and individuals. Through the use of the cloud, individuals or businesses can store their information on remote web servers that can be accessed from anywhere by other members of their team if given access.
Another example would be crowdsourcing. This process allows tasks to be delegated to groups of qualified individuals, usually over the internet, to then be completed by those individuals, again, usually over the internet. These jobs will usually include tasks like translation, editing, writing, research, or transcription.
Though crowdsourcing and Cloud computing might not be the first things to pop into your head after hearing the term “Information technology,” they both qualify because they enable the exchange and manipulation of data. Such ability is invaluable in today’s world, where the sharing of information has become as common as it is important.