Information Technology (IT) is the field of work that involves the use of computers and information-distributing technologies to store, sort, organize, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate information or data. In recent years, the IT field has gained increasing popularity and demand. IT has become an umbrella term that refers to people working as Systems or Software Engineers, Web Developers, Computer Programmers, Technical Support Specialists, and Database Administrators, among others. Most IT professionals work with both hardware (the physical aspect of computers) and software (programs and operating systems).
IT professionals work in all kinds of companies. Their work field spans from specialized technological companies or agencies to retail stores and hotels. With the increasing use of technology in everyday business, the demand and necessity for specialized personnel that can handle this equipment is booming. While many companies actively seek to have an IT department or at least one IT specialist in their staff, it is quite common to see IT professionals being self-employed or working as freelancers.
IT professionals are usually responsible for the following:
- Creating and developing new software.
- Evaluating new and existing software systems.
- Improving existing software systems.
- Performing maintenance to existing systems.
- Fixing malfunctioning or damaged hardware or software.
- Replacing hardware pieces or equipment when necessary.
- Installing and configuring new technology.
- Writing and reading operational manuals and systems specifications.
- Researching and learning about new technologies and trends as they become available.
All professionals working in the IT field usually share the same characteristics, which include, but are not limited to:
- Having an extensive knowledge of computer hardware and systems.
- Having excellent problem-solving and analytical skills.
- Being an exceptional multitasker, displaying excellent time management skills and ability to work under pressure.
- Having good communication skills.
- Being highly detail-oriented.
- Having the ability to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Being highly responsible and capable of meeting goals and deadlines.
- Being able to work in a fast-paced and stressful environment, sometimes having to deal with demanding clients or employers.
- Being able to meet clients’ requirements.
It is quite safe to say that all jobs in the IT field require extensive knowledge of computer systems and technology as well as having a knack for the trade. Working in IT requires some very specific skills and qualifications. Candidates for any job in this area need to possess an analytical and logical approach to problem solving, they need to be detail-oriented as the tiniest mistake can completely ruin an entire system or project and, above all, they need to have a creative and innovative way of thinking.
Most job offers available in the field of IT require applicants to have experience working with computers and technology. The majority of companies hiring people for these positions require applicants to have a college or university degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Mathematics, or Electronics. Depending on the level of the job, a master’s degree could also be necessary.
IT is a branch that is constantly evolving. Technology moves forward at an amazing speed and new advancements and improvements are made every day. Every professional worth their salt in this field has to be in a constant state of self-improvement and learn about new technologies as soon as they become available. Moreover, many companies offer courses, training, and excellent opportunities to promote learning and to encourage these professionals to improve their working talents and increase their knowledge in the area.
With the accurate set of skills and the right idea, anyone can make it big in the IT field. Nevertheless, the most sought out qualification companies look for in new employees is experience. Most entry-level jobs in the IT field require aspirants to have at least one (1) year of practice in the area. This can be gained through completing courses, working on personal projects (as long as the results can be validated), internships, or through volunteering.
Given the nature of the type of work IT professionals undertake, there is a lot of time spent sitting in front of a desk and staring at a computer screen and occasional stressful working conditions that may affect employees. There are some possible health hazards associated with this line of work, such as back pain, sore eyes, and headaches. Physicians and health experts suggest that people working in this type of environments take regular breaks of ten minutes approximately from their work to stretch and rest their sight.