Information Technology


Computer Science; Network Design


Information technology (IT) is devoted to the creation and manipulation of information using computers and other types of devices. It also involves the installation and use of software, the sets of instructions computers follow in order to function. At one time, most computers were designed with a single purpose in mind, but over time, IT has transformed into a discipline that can be used in almost any context.



Information technology (IT) encompasses a wide range of activities, from pure theory to hands-on jobs. At one end of the spectrum are IT professionals who design software and create system-level network designs. These help organizations to maximize their efficiency in handling data and processing information. At the other end are positions in which physical hardware, from telecom equipment to devices such as routers and switches, are connected to one another to form networks. They are then tested to make sure that they are working correctly. This range includes many different types of employees. For example, there are computer technicians, system administrators, programmers at the system and application levels, chief technology officers, and chief information officers.

One way of studying the history of IT is to focus on the ways that information has been stored. IT's history can be divided into different eras based on what type of information storage was available. These eras include prehistoric, before information was written down, and early historical, when information started to be recorded on stone tablets. In the middle historical period, information was recorded on paper and stored in libraries and other archives. In the modern era, information has moved from physical storage to electronic storage. Over time, information storage has become less physical and more Abstract. IT now usually refers to the configuration of computer hardware in business networks. These allow for the manipulation and transfer of electronically stored information.

While the dot-com bubble, as it came to be known, passed quickly, IT remained a central part of life. Simple tasks that used to be done without sophisticated technology, such as banking, shopping, and even reading a book, now involve computers, mobile phones, tablets, or e-readers. This means that the average person must be more familiar with IT in the twenty-first century than in any previous era. Because of this, IT has become a topic of general interest. For example, an average person needs to know a bit about network configuration in order to set up a home system.


With IT, new information is constantly being created. Once it was possible for a single person to master all of society's knowledge. In the modern world, more data is produced every year than a person could assimilate in lifetime. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be more than five thousand gigabytes (GB) of data for each and every person on earth.

The availability of IT is the factor most responsible for the explosion in data production. Most cell phone plans measure customer data in how many GB per month may be used, for example. This is because of the many photos, videos, and social media status updates people create and share on the Internet every day. It is estimated that every two days, human beings create as much information as existed worldwide before 2003. The pace of this data explosion increases as time goes on.

—Scott Zimmer, JD

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