What is information technology or IT? Definition and examples
IT or information technology refers to the development, maintenance, and use of computer software, systems, and networks. It includes their use for the processing and distribution of data. Data means information, facts, statistics, etc., gathered together for reference, storage, or analysis.
According to Information Technology Trends in 2019:
“Information technology refers to anything related to computing technology. The Internet, for example, comes under the umbrella term IT. So does computer hardware, software, and networking.”
Software includes all the computer programs – codes and instructions – within a computer. Computers do not work without software. Hardware, in this context, refers to the physical components of a computer system. The screen (monitor), mouse, and motherboard, for example, are hardware items.
Nature.com has the following definition of the term:
“Information technology is the design and implementation of computer networks for data processing and communication.”
“This includes designing the hardware for processing information and connecting separate components, and developing software that can efficiently and faultlessly analyze and distribute this data.”
Information technology vs. computer science
The terms information technology and computer science cover similar areas. Although their meanings overlap a lot, their focus is different.
We can say computer science or CS. CS focuses entirely on efficiently programming computers. Computer scientists use mathematical algorithms. They study theoretical algorithms and the practical problems that exist in implementing them through computer software and hardware.
Artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and programming are sub-fields of computer science. Software engineering is also part of computer science. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to software technologies that make computers think and behave like humans. Most robots have artificial intelligence in their software.
IT involves installing, organizing, and maintaining computer systems. It also involves designing and operating databases and networks.
Computer Science Degree Hub says the following regarding careers in IT and computer science:
“IT professionals typically work in a business environment installing internal networks and computer systems and perhaps programming.”
“Computer scientists work in a wider range of environments, ranging from businesses to universities to video game design companies.”
For those who want to combine business and IT skills, there’s increasing demand for positions in the management of information technology. According to Maryville University, you can use a degree in Management Information Systems to:
“Qualify for jobs in major tech companies, software publishers, government agencies, information security firms, consulting firms, financial and insurance services, information services, computer system design services, and private enterprises.”
If you want to become an IT professional, you should enjoy using software, installing computer systems, and maintaining databases and networks.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy software design and mathematics, computer science is more up your street.
Regarding the similarities of the two fields, Computer Science Degree Hub says:
“In general, the relationship between information technology and computer science is quite close and interdependent.”
Information technology a relatively new term
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term ‘information technology’ has been around since 1958. It first appeared in the Harvard Business Review. Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how their meanings have evolved.
In 1958, Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler wrote the following in a Harvard Business Review article:
“The new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology. It is composed of several related parts.
Video – Information Technology
Information Technology refers to the development, maintenance, and use of computer networks, software, hardware, and systems. We often use its abbreviated form – ‘IT.’