What is Information Technology?

At its most basic level, information technology involves the use of technology to solve problems. More specifically, the field of information technology(IT) applies to business technology and includes solving problems modern businesses face such as operational issues and managing complex telecommunications.

Explore the IT field and its opportunities as we discuss the following questions:

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Whether you know exactly where you're heading, or you're still planning your next steps, it all starts with a simple conversation. Let’s talk.


What Does Information Technology Include?

Information technology typically involves physical devices, networks and infrastructure that help create, process, store, secure and transfer all types of data. The hardware that information technology covers includes computers, servers, data storage solutions and other physical devices that make up computer networking. IT includes the setup and day-to-day running of this equipment as well as a good understanding of the policies governing their operation.

Generally, there are three primary responsibilities that professionals in the IT field may be held accountable for:

  1. Governance – The policies and procedures that make sure the systems being monitored are running effectively and aligning with business objectives.

  2. Operations – The daily work that an IT department handles, from tech support to network maintenance and everything in between.

  3. Infrastructure – The setup and maintenance of physical hardware that make up a business’s IT infrastructure like routers, servers, computers and phone systems.

What is the History of Information Technology?

The term “information technology” was coined in 1958, when authors Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler commented on an article published in the Harvard Business Review stating that a new technology had emerged that did not have an established name. They decided to call it Information Technology, or IT for short, to differentiate computing machines that could perform a variety of tasks from purpose-built machines that were more limited in their scope.

Leavitt and Whisler outlined three categories that they believed made up the field of IT:

  • Techniques for processing
  • The application of statistical and mathematical methods for decision-making
  • The simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs

While the term was first used in its modern sense in 1958, history tells us that there have been four distinct phases of IT development to date:

  1. Pre-Mechanical (3000 BC to 1450 AD) – Writing utensils and paper/tablets
  2. Mechanical (1450 to 1840) – Manual calculators known as abacuses or sliding rulers
  3. Electromechanical (1840 to 1940) – Early telecommunication technology such as the telegraph, the first telephones, radios and the first digital computer
  4. Electronic (1940 to present) – High-speed digital computers, commercial computers and today’s modern communications technology

While today’s world of information technology is as complex as it is diverse, it is a field as old as human history and one that carries increasing importance as we move toward a more digitized culture.

What are Examples of Jobs in Information Technology?

Anyone seeking to work in information technology may need to learn about a variety of IT-related topics. These include IT administration, compliance, cyber security, computer networking and basic computing skills.

Qualified individuals may have the potential to find an entry-level position in the information technology field such as:

  • IT Project Manager – This role’s objective is to successfully manage information technology projects while staying on time, on budget and within a predefined scope.
  • Junior Systems Administrator – A junior systems administrator’s role is to assist system administrators with providing support for end users.
  • Junior Network Security Analyst – A junior network security analyst’s role is to be an assistant to a senior-level security analyst, engineer, administrator or manager.
  • Entry-Level IT Security and Support Specialist – IT security and support specialists are responsible for monitoring and maintaining computer systems, making installations, configuring hardware and software and resolving technical issues.

What Does It Take to Enter the IT Field?

Many employers in the IT field require candidates to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Specialization in Information Technology , information science or a related field. Earning a certification in this field can demonstrate to employers your knowledge of the subject, and qualified IT professionals typically have several certifications as a result of their experience and training in the field.

It is important that IT professionals have experience with different types of systems, from project and customer management software to server operating systems and web platforms. IT professionals also may require expertise working with computer equipment like servers and network analyzers.

What is the First Step Toward a Career in IT?

Every journey begins with a single step. Here is how you can get started on your journey to becoming an IT professional:

  1. Research the different roles within IT to get an understanding of which might be a good fit for your current interests, skill set and career goals.
  2. Research the qualifications needed to be considered for the roles you’ve identified.
  3. Identify the programming languages most commonly used by professionals in your desired role.
  4. Explore programs that offer you the courses you need to gain industry experience. Some of the technology degree program options that DeVry University offers include an IT Essentials certificate program, an IT and Networking associate degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in IT and Networking.
  5. Whether you’re in school, freelancing to gain more experience, or both simultaneously, you’ll want to build out your portfolio by documenting the projects you work on and the experience you gain over time.
  6. Network with IT professionals to build relationships and gain valuable referrals for job opportunities. Consider attending industry events and conferences to meet people.

Many IT professionals work while taking education courses, which can be done conveniently if you are completing an online program such as the Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management with a Specialization in Information Technology from DeVry University.

Ready to Find Out More?

Find out how DeVry’s tech programs can equip you to pursue the IT field.