An Overview of Information Technology and Its Effects on Society
Information technology is the application of computer hardware and software to make, process, manipulate, and share all forms of data and information. It is generally used in the context of organizational business operations rather than personal or entertainment technology. It covers a wide range of activities that enable the transfer and playback of digital content such as e-mails, multimedia messages, audio and video files, sound and images, and other data. A wide variety of devices and equipment are used in the implementation of information technology, including communications devices such as radios, televisions, and computers, personal computer software, personal computer hardware, and networking equipment such as routers, switches, and firewalls.
Information technology has had an impact on virtually every sector of our economy. Knowledge-based industries such as education, business, medicine, government, and healthcare rely heavily on information technology for their day-to-day operations. The rapid spread of information technology into the home and the workplace has also had a marked impact on labor markets. In addition to expanding the scope of the global economy, information technology has contributed to the decreasing gaps between economic development and employment. Technological change and accompanying changes in cultural expectations have contributed to increased levels of worker participation in decision making processes in both the private and public sectors.
One of the largest changes in the history of information technology has been the dramatic increase in the number of readily available and affordable hardware and software. The advent of desktop publishing software, desktop publishing services, the worldwide spread of the Internet, compact disc, optical disc, digital cameras, high-speed Internet, and video games has dramatically changed the manner in which human resource management is conducted. Today, human resource management software is used to assess and improve employee performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, develop new skills, and recommend remedial or transformational programs. Human resource management software can be a highly effective tool that allows organizations to reap maximum benefits from their human resources, resulting in improved organizational performance and employee satisfaction.
In the last two decades, another important impact of information technology has been the widespread use of computer hardware and software, which have greatly increased the speed and efficiency with which computers are used. Computer hardware and software, in combination with advancing networking technology and broadband Internet, have dramatically expanded the range and variety of products and services that can be provided by organizations. The term “computer technology” now encompasses a wide range of computer hardware, software, storage devices, operating systems, networking technologies, and wireless devices such as Wi-Fi. In recent years, the term “IT” has also encompassed computer networks, information technology infrastructure, and other related computer-based practices. This expanding definition has made IT professionals very excited because it indicates that there is a direct correlation between technological expansion and profitability.
There are two key factors that contribute to the increasing importance of IT. One is the steadily increasing demand for computers and the other is the steadily growing need for information science, the study of information technology, and related fields. Information science involves the systematic study of how people use and access the world’s most complex and diverse computer systems. Meanwhile, information technology infrastructure designs are the building blocks of the information society, which refers to the entire system that allows users to interact with computers and the rest of the world. It also includes computer systems that support communication technologies, such as email, instant messaging, and voice mail.
The rapidly increasing demand for information technology infrastructure and systems has resulted in an increase in the demand for skilled IT professionals. However, there are still many gaps between those who possess these skills and those who do not. These gaps are narrowing as more businesses seek ways to get more done using fewer computers. For example, some businesses are now making information technology managers responsible for managing both the company’s main computer systems as well as its data centers, known as data centers. In addition, some companies are making IT managers responsible for designing and maintaining their own network infrastructure.