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What is IT (Information Technology)?

Information technology, or IT, is the utilization of computers, networking, data storage and connected devices, along with the infrastructure and processes involved, to facilitate business or administrative solutions. IT professionals are required to have deep knowledge of how devices are connected, not only understanding best practices to ensure success across organizations, but also creating new and innovative solutions specific to a company's given infrastructure. 

What are four basic concepts of information technology?

Information technology is the use of any computer-based technology that discerns its value from data. Accordingly, there are several different technological areas that IT encompases. The four most basic and primary elements involving the use of all information technology include: information security, computer technical support, business software development and database and network management.

  • Information security involves all software and hardware implemented to protect the integrity of the organization’s data. Anti-malware protection, firewalls, encryption, authentication and physical security solutions all fall into this category.
  • Computer technical support includes the upkeep of devices within the enterprise environment, including device troubleshooting, repairs, replacements, individual device security, equipment upgrades and infrastructural maintenance.
  • Business software development includes the creation of software applications that allow the enterprise to fulfill business goals in an efficient manner. Though software development responsibilities may be delegated to the engineering department in many organizations, IT leaders will still be responsible for implementing the software within devices and infrastructure while ensuring the software meets business needs.
  • Database and network management includes the creation, implementation and maintenance of hardware and software by engineers and IT staff to enable connectivity between devices and the enterprise’s internal and external network. The ability to access and extract information from databases is also included within this category, as well as digital permission settings that allow only authorized users to access individual pieces of data within a database.
What exactly is an IT job?

There are several IT jobs available in the industry, including but not limited to IT technician, network engineer and database administrator.

There can be several degrees of overlap between the IT, data science and software engineering industries, with crossover typically being divided between engineering jobs, data analysis roles and networking support. However, most businesses will consider the primary responsibility of the IT department to be administering technological and networking solutions throughout the organization. 

How long does it take to complete IT training?

There are many different types of IT certifications available and each may take anywhere between three months to a year to complete.

There are a wide variety of certifications available to IT professionals of all skill levels, with each certification helping grow their skill sets and expand their career opportunities.

Foundational exams are intended for entry-level IT techs to learn the skills needed to begin their careers, such as the CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam, CompTIA Cloud Essentials exam and Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) exam. Preparation for these tests can take up to twelve weeks. 

On the other end of the spectrum, many exams will require six to twelve months to prepare for, but provide certifications that can prove qualifications for high-level IT roles. These exams tend to be more specialized and focus on specific technology from Microsoft, Cisco and AWS, among others. Some of these exams include the Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching exam, CCNP Security exam, CCIE Data Center exam and CCIE Wireless exam.

Earning additional certifications will help increase IT capabilities in the workplace and open doors to new career opportunities in the IT field.


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