Information technology (IT) is the application of computers to make, process, analyze, store, retrieve, and transmit all forms of data and information. IT is generally used within the context of organizational business operations rather than on the basis of personal or gaming technology. Data centers, networks, workstations, desktop systems, servers and other hardware are the typical components of IT infrastructure. Major components within IT infrastructure include: computer hardware, software, communication equipment, and storage devices.
The demand for skilled information technology workers has increased tremendously in the recent past. Job opportunities in information technology are available in both the private and public sectors. Salaries vary according to a number of factors such as location, experience and scope of job responsibilities. The demand for computer network specialists and information technology professionals in the private sector is expected to grow faster than the overall average over the next few years. In the public sector the primary function of the IT managers is to provide network support to companies that require it, but some IT professionals may find employment as managers of information technology departments at hospitals, government agencies or large corporations.
Positions that can be found within the IT organization are very diverse. The most common IT position is in the area of network support. These positions often require knowledge of several computer programs including SQL, Networking, Linux/Unix, shell, and more. Generally IT professionals with a bachelor’s degree and experience in one or more of the computer science areas are considered for these types of positions. Generally for positions within information systems and computer science there is a requirement for a Bachelors degree in either Computer Science, Information Systems or Software Engineering.
Information technology professionals may also find employment as consultants. These positions require that individuals have a background in one or more of the computer science areas and knowledge of information systems. Consultant positions are on a contract basis and typically entail assisting an industry leader in the design of an information technology system, hardware and software solutions. This work will generally require traveling and the ability to work from any location. For positions such as this a great deal of traveling is necessary.
A growing field within IT is the development and use of information technology for education purposes. Many schools utilize computer networks and software to deliver courses. For example, the University of California – Davis uses multiple networks and servers to distribute lectures and tutorials across the campuses.
With employment opportunities seemingly limitless in information technology, many people are choosing to go on to educational courses at colleges or trade schools. However, this career path is not for everyone. In order to thrive in the information technology field you must be willing to work long hours, take few vacations, and must be highly organized and dedicated to your work. People who have these traits are often rewarded with positions of greater responsibility and higher salaries. Those who do not possess these traits are usually unhappy with their job and unable to succeed.