Information technology or IT is one of the most important things governing or at least guiding your life. So, what is exactly is information technology?

Let’s define the phrase as two separate words. First we have ‘information’. In its crudest form, it is data stored and usually available as in a human brain or a machine (e.g. a computer). The internet provides the largest amount information available to most of us, as a series of computers and storage systems.

Stored data is generally accessible to a wide audience, so it becomes information for our use. But, the most intelligent people may have a huge store of knowledge (data). Keeping it to themselves means it remains as ‘data’. Hence, it becomes useful information when it is available to the masses.

The second term ‘technology’ is often used wrongly or misunderstood. In fact the earliest definition of technology, or translation, comes via the ancient Greeks. Upgraded as we progressed it now represents ‘the systematic treatment of’.

Add both words together and we get the phrase of information technology (IT) being ‘the systematic treatment of data’. So, in modern times, how do we describe information technology? In simple terms, it is the inputting, storage, and retrieval of data using computers.

Using Information Technology

Infographic showing different parts of Information TechnologyThe vast amount of data stored worldwide is of little use unless it is accessible.

Besides the general population, those who need it most are select groups of people, such those involved in the sciences.

Computers can store any data that you can input, and in its many different forms. Among the most common is standard text and favourite photos.

The computer makes that data readily available to all who have access to it. With its program, the computer is well capable of ‘the systematic treatment of’ all data in its possession. These masses of accessible information are only made possible by the use of technology.

Popular Uses of Information Technology

The most popular information technology used daily by so many, is of course Google. Members of the public all have open source access to the wide range of data stored on Google servers.

We access this data by way of a simple search facility. This is where the retrieval aspect comes into its importance. Putting things into a filing cabinet for others to use is not efficient if the intended recipients cannot find it.

With Google, and other major search engines, typing in what you are looking for is a simple process. The efficient ‘retrieval engine’ gets to work and almost gives you what you are looking for – in an instant.

You might say that computers are the essential ‘elements’ in the progress of information technology!